It’s a bright sunny day in January when we arrive at Silverstone to accompany some young drivers on their first step to becoming a racer – the ARDS test.
The one day course at Silverstone is held on the Stowe Circuit. We arrive at 8.00 am and following a brief introduction to our Chief Instructor Rob Barff, forms are completed and the young drivers are signed in at the Driver Experience Centre.
Before you book your ARDS test you must purchase the MSA Go Racing Pack, which includes the ARDS Test Application Form and the course specific material. You must bring the completed application form with you for the test.
Today’s candidates include Josh Skelton, aged 16 – a karter who is looking to progress to single seater racing. Bailey Bateman age 15, also a karter who will be competing in the Junior Saloon Car Championship this year plus TJ Rodriguez age 14, who is a novice and will also be competing in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2017.
Next the drivers are seated in a briefing room and Rob explains the test format. There are two parts, a written test and a practical assessment. He confirms there will be no timing but drivers are expected to achieve a fast cruise pace during their practical assessment. The written test comprises of multiple choice questions based on the ARDS DVD included in the Go Racing Pack.
Rob continues with a short lecture on the racing line, cornering techniques, including weight distribution and the importance of preparation and vision. He also offers some valuable tips, for example, always ensure you do a track walk before you race even if you know the circuit as surfaces and kerbs can change from one meeting to the next.
Now follows the practical tuition, each driver receives one to one coaching in turn from an ARDS Instructor on the Stowe Circuit for two 25 minute sessions each. The drivers enjoy the use of Silverstone’s Clio Renaultsports for this and the general consensus is they are great fun to drive.
The drivers are given practical instruction from the in car instructors on the following:
- Gear changing
- Down-changing technique
- Vision – ability to look sufficiently ahead and identify marshals signals
- Racing Line
- Heel and toe
Following a half hour lunch break it’s test time. The drivers watch the ARDS DVD then complete the written test in exam conditions.
Finally its back on track for a final practice session followed by the practical test, which is 2 laps of the circuit when the instructor in car observes only, does not give any coaching and completes a comprehensive mark sheet.
All today’s drivers passed both tests and are now proud holders of an ARDS Race Licence – congratulations racers, lets go racing!
Author: Clerk of the Course
The Clerk of Junior Torque. Administrator, Editor and Dictator!