Driver training - skid pan - Vin {P}
I recently passed the big four-oh, and Wifey very nicely bought me a morning on the skid pan at Castle Coombe. I think it was about 70 quid (it's 100 odd if you buy one of those 'Red Letter Day' packages you see around - she booked direct).

Well, what a revelation. Twenty years of driving experience and I learned more in a morning than in any one of those years. And, I laughed so much I thought my head might fall off.

For years I have been reacting to front wheel skids in a front wheel drive car by very carefully and deliberately doing exactly the wrong thing. Apparently, what I was doing is what everyone does, and is the reason why skids in front wheel drive cars are called "killer skids" by those in the training world.

Format of the morning? Swan around in a rear-wheel drive car (BWM 3 series) and a front-wheel drive (Rover 216), four to a car. Spin a lot, laugh a lot. Then a talk about what the correct reactions should be, followed by another swan round and a faster (30mph?) braking test. This involves trying not to hit a cone when braking hard in a straight line. Then finally a timed test in both FWD and RWD car.

Highlight of the day? Up against a group of twenty year old know-it-all kids, I managed the best time in the final timed test. Why? Because I just did what the instructors had told us to do, rather than what felt faster.

So, if you're looking for a good day out that's great fun and that could save your life one day, I can heartily recommend it - any skid pan should be OK, I'm not specifically recommending Castle Coombe, though their instructors were excellent.

V

Driver training - skid pan - Chris75
For years I have been reacting to front wheel skids in
a front wheel drive car by very carefully and deliberately doing
exactly the wrong thing. Apparently, what I was doing is
what everyone does, and is the reason why skids in front
wheel drive cars are called "killer skids" by those in the
training world.


Can you share with us the correct way to deal with a front wheel skid?

Personally I would probaby just lift off the brakes.

Chris
Driver training - skid pan - martint123
Possibly not brake induced?? - maybe understeering on a bend??
Me, I'd probaby press down harder on the throttle to try to drag it round. (in the safety of a skid pan of course ;-)

Driver training - skid pan - Aprilia
Some years ago I did a lot of driving at a well-known proving ground in the middle of England (sure one or two in here will know it!). I did all the high-speed driving stuff, skid pan, ride-and-handling circuit etc etc. The only snag is that on 'real world' UK roads there is so little time and space to correct any errors. You really can't put much of the skid pan routine into action.
I admit it is good fun though, especially on the 'split-mu' friction surface (one side grips, the other doesn't). If you hit the brake on a non-ABS car the car spins like a top - you end up pasted against the B-post. Switch the ABS on and the car just pulls up straight - very convincing demo of ABS!!
Driver training - skid pan - Vin {P}
Possibly not brake induced?? - maybe understeering on a bend??
Me, I'd probaby press down harder on the throttle to try
to drag it round. (in the safety of a skid
pan of course ;-)

Hmm. That's *exactly* what I used to do. It really feels like the right thing to do. It works if there's some grip left, but if you're really sliding, nothing happens at all; you just slide straight on into whatever's in your path. BTW, for the doubters, I never believed it myself until I tried it.

The correct solution is drop the clutch (foot off power in auto), steer into the skid till you have some semblance of grip, then turn back the way you wanted to go, then back into the skid if you lose grip again, then back where you wanted to go, etc, etc. You thruppeny bit the corner (or for those younger BackRoomers, fifty pence piece) but you get round it. It feels utterly wrong when you're doing it.

As for the comment about lack of time to implement when on the road, I would say that I agree, however any chance is better than no chance. The training MIGHT kick in, and I MIGHT avoid the tree/other car.

V
Driver training - skid pan - borasport20
I've done a couple of these (as I never tire of mentioning) at a now closed bus depot

I'd agree that you'd have to be good to remember and apply the control techniques on the limited space of a public road, but as Vin says, any chance is better than no chance, and surely one of the main benefits is the awareness of how difficult it is to control the skid and thus you're more likely to avoid one in the first place.

If I could still get on a skid pan for £25 for a half day, I'd do one every winter.


I have to grow old - but I don't have to grow up
Driver training - skid pan - Vin {P}
A quick trawl brought up:

www.solgiam.demon.co.uk/skidpan.html

£45 for non-IAM members at Goodwood (no idea if this is local to you). Bit more than your budget of £25, but not extortionate.

V
Driver training - skid pan - borasport20
Thanks for the link Vin - their prices are reasonable (my £25 was about 8 years ago now), but i'm at the wrong end of the country.

The ones i've attended in the past were IAM ones, run at the Gtr Manchester Bus depot, which is now shut. Very interesting it was too. Space was limited, with a 'track' in the shape of an arc, so you spent the first half of the session driving a right hand bend, and when you'd got the hang of it, the second half of the session driving a left hand bend with nothing more than a rather solid set of railway arches to bounce off if you lost it. What it was like to drive in a bus, lord only knows !!


Matt - the secret is to drive straight from the skid pan to the nearest car wash - don't ever let the stuff dry (p.s. - it is actually a special skid pan oil ! - anybody using used engine oil would have the council, environment agency, water companies on there back in no time at all, which would be fair enough)


I have to grow old - but I don't have to grow up
Driver training - skid pan - terryb
Vin

I did exactly the same course at Castle Coombe a number of years ago. IIRC it was also a fortieth pressy from my mother-in-law. I agree it is enormous fun (despite my reservations at the beginning) and I thoroughly enjoyed it, picking up some hopefully life-saving tips on the way. SWMBO and M-i-L came along to spectate and had a ball too.

Do they still do the competition at the end? I nearly won it but made a right horlicks of the handbrake turn into the garage at the end - SWMBO said it was obvious who was the automatic driver trying to race in a manual!

Terry
Driver training - skid pan - matt35 {P}
Vin,
I just thought to add for anyone planning to do the skid pan - they often put used engine oil on the track....so no point in turning up with a polished car.
It took me three washes to get the **** off.
Matt35.
 

Value my car