Driver's education isn't a major priority in the United States these days, but Skip Barber Racing School and Hagerty want to change that.
The professional driving school and the classic car insurer announced a partnership on Wednesday that focuses on teaching driving skills, and even how to drive a car with a manual transmission.
The Hagerty Driving Academy, as the program is called, will consist of 40 events staged around the country for anyone aged 15 and older. Lessons will include driving a manual transmission, how to handle emergency braking and lane-change situations, and how to correct a skid. Participants will also practice sliding and recovering from a slide, and they'll get some performance driving lessons on an autocross course. Some of the lessons will involve wheel time with a group of classic cars, too.
Hagerty CEO, McKeel Hagerty, said hardly anyone teaches new drivers how to drive a car with a manual and he believes it's an excellent skill for drivers to have. Even if drivers don't stick with a manual transmission their entire lives, it does make one rethink maneuvers and requires more attention.
Hagerty's involvement is part of its campaign to preserve driving and share the experience that driving can be fun with younger generations. The goal is to preserve the community of gearheads with the advent of self-driving cars and autonomous driving systems.
The first Hagerty Driving Academy is set for April 3 at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. The cost for most events is $995, though four events will be free for Hagerty Driving Club members and all members get a 20 percent discount at the other events. You can visit this link or a calendar of the events and times near you.
As for Skip Barber Racing School, yes, the school is still operational. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2017. In December that year, DeMonte Motorsports acquired Skip Barber Racing School.