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Automotive

Back to school: Bertil Roos 5-day road-racing week

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We’re headed out to sunny, tropical New Jersey next week to participate in the Bertil Roos three-day road-racing school AND the two-day advanced school at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville. We hope you’ll ride along with us because we’ll be updating daily all week.

The two programs — which are the same as the school’s five-day “get your SCCA license” blowout — both use a 150-hp, open-wheel, Ford-powered Formula 2000 race car that scoots to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 130 mph. A four-speed, nonsynchronized Hewland gearbox sends power to the Cooper Tires rubber.

The three-day school starts with the basics of racing, all spelled out in the research material you get before you go, including where to look, when to brake and how to shift the H-pattern four-speed. It goes on to look at corner exit, high-speed cornering and passing before explaining the track layout.

We’ll also get a chance at Bertil’s patented slide car, which has a modified rear axle that lets the rear wheels steer outward, duplicating the effects of a slide. This helps with car control, calculating drifts and rotation.

The second class starts with a deeper section on passing procedure, which is probably the most difficult and expensive move in racing. Other activities include drafting, practicing race starts, qualifying strategies and racing tactics.

The final day looks like a real race day with practice, qualifying, practice starts and two eight-lap races. This is key: To get your SCCA racing license, you need to have some races under your belt. Renting a race car to drive is expensive (we checked), but this takes all the legwork out of it. When the five-day school is completed without incident, Bertil completely fulfills the requirements for that license. Classroom sessions are interspersed on all five days.

By now you might be wondering who or what Bertil Roos is, as we were, so here goes: Bertil Roos was a Swedish racing driver who raced in almost all of the Formula series, including Super Vee, 2, Atlantic and One for a short time. In 1975, Roos created the school near Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, and now it operates at racetracks in New Jersey, Palm Beach International in Florida, Dominion Raceway in Virginia and Roebling Road in Georgia. The five-day course ($5,895) saves you a few bucks from doing the two- and three-day classes separately.

We’re excited, and you should be, too — come back next week for the day-by-day journal. We’re going to find some racing shoes.


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