UPDATE: I received a heads-up from Saab007 at SaabCentral about his recent visit to the Aero Academy. He’s posted a review of proceedings as well as the all important photos from the event. Click here to check it all out.
I’ve written a little about the Aero Academy before.
This morning I received a copy of the AA’s ‘curriculum’ from Brian M, who’ll be attending the Academy in the next week or so. This will give you an exact idea as to kind of schedule you’ll keep if you’re fortunate enough to be purchasing a new Saab and heading out to Road Atlanta for a little fun.
08.30 – 09.00 – Registration and continental breakfast
09.00 – 10.00 – Classroom session: vehicle dynamics
10.00 – 12.00 – Skidpan session, braking exercise and baseline autocross
12.00 – 12.30 – Feed the masses
12.30 – 13.00 – Classroom session: lane change and figure 8
13.00 – 15.00 – Square pad, lane change and figure 8 exercises
19.00 – Wine tasting tour, Chateau Elan. Bring the ladies (or the fellas)
20.00 – Dinner in the Champs Elysee Room, Chateau Elan
07.00 – Commence usual hangover routine
08.30 – 09.00 – Breakfast
09.00 – 10.00 – Classroom session: safety exercises
10.00 – 12.00 – Slalom, wet skid pad, intro to autocross: instructor ride
12.00 – 12.30 – Feed the masses
12.30 – 13.00 – Classroom session: driving line
13.00 – 14.30 – Autocross course, wet and dry
14.30 – 15.00 – Autocross competition
15.00 – 15.15 – The Academy Awards!
OK, I added the hangover bit. And the fellas bit.
I’d say the dinner venue could change from time to time, but otherwise the program shoud be pretty consistent. From my previous post on the Aero Academy, here’s a quick overview of all the exercises. Saab USA’s site has some video available too.
Push your Saab to the limits in this safe and controlled environment. The skid pad simulates rain, snow and ice conditions, as well as situations where the driver has exceeded the limits of the vehicle. Learn how to control understeer (front) and oversteer (rear) skids with proper steering, throttle, and brake responses.
This challenging exercise teaches students how to initially apply the brake and improve reaction time. Avoid brake lockup. Practice using 100% of the vehicle’s straight-line stopping ability. Master stopping your Aero in the shortest distance possible.
The trail braking exercise consists of straight-line threshold braking and then turning while maintaining brake pressure. This involves eye, hand, and foot coordination in order to maintain control and to stay within the limits of the vehicle.
This exercise is designed to help improve your reflexes and car-control skills. Learn to manage the weight transfer of the vehicle and balanced threshold braking. Practice accident avoidance by maneuvering your Aero to the correct lane indicated by the accident simulator.
Drive the correct line. Manage your weight transfer. Fine tune your timing and throttle adjustments. Apply the right amount of steering. And, of course, leave all those orange cones standing.
Finesse Driving Course
How good are your braking, cornering, and acceleration skills? Here, the object is to do it all while keeping a ball in a bowl attached to the roof of your Aero. As you’ll see, it takes a smooth driving technique to conquer the Finesse Driving Course.
Now you’re ready for the grand finale. The autocross is a scaled-down racetrack that gives you the opportunity to combine all your new skills-cornering, use of proper line, braking and acceleration, and skid control-into one smooth exercise that uses 100% of the car’s potential.