Drivers Club training

We join Jota Sport's Drivers Club training course for a day at the Brands Hatch GP circuit

There are plenty of driver training companies out there willing to teach you the basics of performance driving on road and track. But what if your aspirations lie beyond that? The Drivers Club – a new venture run by Jota Sport – is for those who want to train themselves up for maximum attack track driving or, perhaps more uniquely, motorsport.

It’s for the latter reason I’ve found myself at the Brands Hatch GP circuit on a rather busy RMA trackday, strapped into a Renaultsport Mégane R26.R with Formula 2 driver Ollie Hancock at the helm.

He’s my teacher for the next few hours, as I sample The Drivers Club’s training first hand in a day that squashes several weeks’ worth of training into a day. Ollie drives a few sighting laps before I take over and show him how much talent I currently possess.

The answer’s a resounding ‘not much’. My circuit CV currently extends to a handful of laps of Bedford’s West Circuit, for photography reasons only and not at speed. Brands Hatch in an R26.R on an advanced level trackday brimming with Porsche 911s is quite some baptism of fire. I struggle on my first stint out, trying to balance Ollie’s instructions with remembering my lines on each corner, while simultaneously not taking the side off someone’s Stuttgart-badged pride of joy.

It’s a relief to come in and de-helmet, at which point me and Ollie have a good natter and work out how to improve on my next stint. I’m immediately more at ease as we head out again, working out where the Mégane’s turbo can be exploited and where not, so that I know where I’ll be keeping pace with the others or holding them up.

By my third and final session in the R26.R, just before lunch, I’m able to relax and take in Ollie’s co-driving, finding myself frustrated when I miss a line or scrub off more speed than I need to before a turn. It’s addictive stuff.

Relaxation is over once lunch has gone, though, as the Renault has been tucked away for the day, in its place a Radical SR3. Now things get tricky.

As someone fairly new to track driving, never mind packed trackdays, stepping into a Radical is daunting. Needless to say, it’s immediately unlike any other roadgoing sports car, and after Ollie whizzes round Brands at an impressive speed to show me the ropes, I clamber into the driver’s seat and head out.

One slow and steady lap getting to grips with the car later, I pass the start/finish straight and go for it. A few seconds later I’ve spun at Druids, and equally embarrassingly, stalled the car. It’s a simple case of user error with the sequential gearbox, but a massive confidence knock all the same.

I crawl the Radical back to the pits so that the knobbled starter motor can be replaced, head hung low. A second (and final stint) an hour later and I’m back to taking things steady, perhaps too steady; I’m in probably the fastest car at Brands all day but holding up far lesser stuff at most corners, incredibly conscious of the havoc another impromptu spin would wreak. Ollie’s not overly impressed by my pussyfooting, but it’s clear that I need many stints in the Mégane before stepping up to something as specialist as the SR3.

That’s not really a negative point on The Drivers Club and its training, though. The big selling point is that their tuition is completely bespoke, and suited directly to your needs and aims. Those may be as simple as learning how to get the best out of your M3 on a trackday, but could extend to working your way up to a seat in Le Mans.

My taster day showed I have much to learn on the track, predominantly revolving around confidence in myself and growing the balls to push a car to near its limits. In the Radical I was nowhere near them. But with my own training plan (and lots of time and cash, too) who knows what’d be possible…

Find out more about The Drivers Club right here

Most Popular

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring – rear profile
Porsche 911 GT3

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK

The Touring pack has returned, combining the 992 GT3’s set-up with more understated looks
15 Jun 2021
BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance
BMW M5 CS – front cornering
BMW M5 saloon

BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance

Nonsensical on paper, but sublime in practice. Never has a modern supersaloon been more tactile or more engaging
14 Jun 2021
The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive
evo archive – LaFerrari truck extraction – stop!
Ferrari

The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive

How do you get a £1million hypercar out of the back of a delivery truck? Very, very, slowly…
15 Jun 2021
Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come
Mercedes-AMG GT53 MY22 – front tracking
Mercedes

Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come

GT43 and GT53 4-Doors receive a refresh while we await the arrival of the V8 hybrid GT73
14 Jun 2021
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition – slide
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act

Immense performance from about the coolest modern muscle car out there. It’s expensive, but there’s nothing else quite like it
12 Jun 2021
MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn
MAT Stratos – front tracking
Lancia

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn

It’s been a long time coming, but this Ferrari F430-based reimagining of the Lancia Stratos is finally here
11 Jun 2021
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?
Audi RS3 manufacturer spy 1
Audi RS3

2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?

Audi Sport is putting the final touches on its new RS3 hot hatch and saloon
10 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers

The long-awaited Tesla Model S Plaid has finally come to fruition, with first US examples hitting the road
11 Jun 2021
Next generation BMW 7-series spied – flagship saloon to once again set the tone for future models
Next generation BMW 7-series spied – front quarter
BMW 7 Series

Next generation BMW 7-series spied – flagship saloon to once again set the tone for future models

All-new saloon to feature IC and EV powertrains, but once again it’ll also lead the way aesthetically
16 Jun 2021
GTO Engineering Squalo interior sketches revealed – new-build Ferrari 250 GTO hommage draws closer
GTO Engineering interior
Ferrari

GTO Engineering Squalo interior sketches revealed – new-build Ferrari 250 GTO hommage draws closer

New details, including the interior, have been revealed about the GTO Engineering Squalo
15 Jun 2021
Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder
Posaidon Mercedes-AMG E63
Mercedes E63 AMG

Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder

Three new Posaidon power upgrades are now available for Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S, bringing hypercar numbers to the four door supersaloon
9 Jun 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 11 June 21
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
11 Jun 2021
Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?

The boot struts have gone saggy and the hatch slams onto my head three times a week, but the Clio Trophy is hard to resist
8 Jun 2021
Forza Horizon 5 confirmed for November 2021 – open-world driving game heads to Mexico
Forza Horizon 5
videogames

Forza Horizon 5 confirmed for November 2021 – open-world driving game heads to Mexico

The open-world Forza Horizon series has become a go-to for car fans, and its fifth installment is just around the corner
15 Jun 2021