So let me preface this with the disclaimer that Rally Ready Driving School is a TRR vendor, and that I want to get them as many signups as possible for Raptor Ready Driving school at Rogue Racing TRR16.
That being said, I really think everyone should take a loose surface driving class.
Rally Ready is owned by Dave Carapetyan, a veteran Rally driver and Pike's Peak winner, Dave has some of the best car control skills I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot of guys with amazing car control). His facility is outside of Austin TX, and the guy is living my dream. He literally has an off-road track in his front yard. Dave invited me out to participate in his half day Rally class, the idea being that I could do the Rally class, then figure out how we can translate the class to Raptors.
To be completely honest, I didn't expect to get much out of the class. I've logged thousands of off-road miles in my Raptor and race trucks, I feel fairly confident in my driving ability, and I have excellent knowledge of how vehicles handle on loose surfaces. I am happy to say that I was completely wrong. I got so much out of the class.
We started out with straight line left foot braking. No biggie, I do that all of the time, what I did learn was how to control the pedal to make it a much smoother transition. This is a big deal in trucks with lots of travel, as it helps keep them from getting completely out of control.
Next was the skid pad, basically doing donuts in a circle. Car was pinned in second gear, you hold the wheel steady to make the circle and use your left foot braking to control the car. This doesn't exactly work in a RWD raptor, but it's still a good lesson about using something other than the steering wheel to make a car do what you want it to.
Things started getting really fun on the high speed slalom, we worked our way through a set of cones trying to get the car pitched sideways and back the other direction as smoothly as possible. By this point, I was really starting to gain some confidence that I didn't know I was lacking, and even though this was in a Subaru not a Raptor, it was cool to learn how to transfer weight around and make a car do what you want without any understeer.
Lastly we took a few laps on Rally Ready's full track, putting all the lessons to good use. This was a ton of fun, and I felt completely different driving than I did 4 hours before. I can't even begin to explain how much that half day did for me. I am a completely different driver going out of the class. Sure I knew how everything worked beforehand, but actually practicing these concepts really changed everything for me.
Once the class was over we tried to do all of the lessons in my Raptor, replacing brake modulation with throttle modulation. Surprisingly the Raptor was able to do all of the lessons just using a little brake and lots of throttle. I immediately felt so much more confident in my driving ability. I had some flash backs to a few under-steer moments I've had in the past and know I wouldn't have done them if I had taken this class beforehand.
Rally Ready is finishing up the Raptor Ready curriculum now based on what we learned last weekend, and I really believe that it's the best $400 you could possibly spend on your Raptor. Skip that extra set of lights. Hold off on that dovetail bumper. Do yourself a favor and take a driving class. Be it a specific one like Raptor Ready, or one of the other loose surface schools. Go do it. You won't be disappointed.
More info on Raptor Ready can be found here.
Raptor Ready Driving School – Rally Ready Driving School