With a helmet on and my seat belt tight across my chest, I clenched the door handle of a Z06 Chevrolet Corvette as I flew down the auto cross track in the FedEx Field parking lot in Washington, DC. I sat in the passenger’s seat while driving professional and instructor, Bill Cooper, whipped us around the track.
We flew to the end of the course and then skidded from one side to the other, peeling wheels the entire time. In any other car, this scene could only mean one thing – a bad accident causing fear to nip at you. But that wasn’t the case here. I was part of Corvette Z06 Time Attack at Rev It Up, the largest performance driving school and national racing competition, sponsored by Chevrolet, in its fourth season.
Rev It Up traveled the country for a three month time frame, June through August, visiting: San Francisco, CA, Orlando, FL, Orange County, CA, Houston, TX, Washington, DC, and Englishtown, NJ, just outside of New York. Their purpose is to help people enhance their driving skills and market Chevrolet products, while offering great prizes.
One winner from each city with the highest score was awarded two days of driving instruction for two at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. It got even better for the person with the highest score in all six cities combined though – they drove off into the sunset in a new 430-horsepower 2008 Chevrolet Corvette.
The minimal $25 entrance fee for Rev-It Up was worth it. And although the thrill ride I took with with Cooper was an additional $10, it was more exciting than any roller coaster ride an amusement park could offer. I could have repeated it all day. I didn’t, however, because there were so many other attractions to par take in.
Starting in Performance Driving 101, an educational session that all participants must take, Nick and I learned things to watch for on and off the course, how to sit properly, and even how to grip the steering wheel. We were given warnings on what would be acceptable and what would get us “grounded” during the event and then were told to go “Rev It Up.” They provide the cars, the cones, the instructors, and all necessary equipment. Pounding on someone else’s cars and tires for the entire day? Can’t beat that.
Unlimited laps in Corvettes, several test drives on the Chevy Performance Course in eight different Chevrolet vehicles, food, music, laps down drag strips, test races in Chevrolet Cobalts, and drooling over the new Camaro concept car at the Chevy Pavilion, were all part of our fun-filled day. For an additional fee, we could have went spent some time doing laps in go-karts, but we choose to drive the real cars instead.
After practicing on several courses, my husband showed up at the competition track during his two scheduled times (you have to be there on time or you don’t get a chance to make it up since there are so many people competing.) Unfortunately, we didn’t win the Corvette, but Nick did rather well. What can you say? There was some pretty stiff competition. Some of these guys have won the vehicle a few years in a row.
Now that’s a little tough to beat! Watching the competitors race around the track, some knocking over cones, was fun in itself. Caroline Wright, the first woman to win a Grand Am Cup Series and former broadcaster, provided interesting commentary, revealing what driver’s to keep our eyes on. Larger than life screens revealed each competitor’s score almost immediately after they raced. Driver’s scores were penalized if they knocked over any cones.
What was really great about Rev It Up besides its uniqueness, was the fact that all of the staff and the instructors were professionals with years of experience. In addition to Bill Cooper and Caroline Wright, here are a few of the talented individuals that lent their expertise to the event:
Andrew Jackson Alsup
C. Chris Mitchum
Garret M. Napier
What else do you need to know if you plan on going next year during the 2008 season?
Admission is free to spectators
Don’t miss your competition time because you will not be able to make it up.
Wear a lot of sunscreen! It gets hot and there are very few indoor activities to hide from the sun.
You must be 18 years or older to compete.
You need a valid driver’s license to participate.
Refunds will not be given to those who show up without a valid driver’s license.
You can sign up at the event, but preregistration is recommended.
The event …