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We grid up in tight formation, rolling toward the starter’s stand at the start/finish line. The green flag drops. I get a good jump in second gear, and manage to beat my fellow pupils to the tricky, downhill left-right called Montreal. I sneak a glance in my mirror, the cars bunched up like rush-hour traffic, and I’m relieved that I don’t have to tussle in such close quarters. As ever, it’s easy to see why racers are tempted to lead from the start—despite the risks—for the opportunity to drive away clear (at least for a short while) as the pack sorts itself out.

I’m still in the class’s front row after a few more starts, with two instructors leading us past the pits, so I drop back to let other students try their hand from a better position. The green flag waves, and we charge downhill again. This time, when the pack jams up, I’m in the thick of it, so I cheat a bit right to ensure enough room for us to go through two wide. Ah, but my caution proves a little too...well, cautious: A pair of tiny Miatas, seeing the opportunity to finally mix it up with the powerful Bimmers, dive into the crevice like little “Mad Max” Verstappens. Suddenly, we’re three wide through a tight double corner, and the wet curbs are off limits. It’s probably not the Miata drivers’ best move, in terms of McAleer’s advice to exercise early patience. But it works, and now I’m forced to duke it out with a pair of Miatas. 

From that point, I vow, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy.

For the next start, I charge deeper, brake later, stick the BMW’s nose into the corner, and howl flat-out toward the next turn, first among the students. I glue myself to the bumper of Monticello’s own High Plains Drifter, the rally-racing instructor Chris Duplessis, who’s pacing us in a Porsche Cayman. A few turns in, I actually pass McAleer’s M2 (I’m certain he lets me) and together we pull a lead on the group.

Back in the pits, the endorphins are flowing as we peel off our helmets and pry ourselves from the cars. We’re on a pure speed high, and my classmates give voice to exactly what I’ve been thinking.

“I was really surprised how they threw us into the thick of it,” says Mark Brubaker, of Short Hills, N.J, a former motorcycle racer who feels he’s getting a bit old for two-wheel hijinks. “They really had faith in us, and that in turn gives you confidence,” he says. Brubaker was taking the class with his wife Savanha, herself a former Caterpillar mechanic; the couple’s fun car is a Porsche 911 GT3.

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Source : http://www.thedrive.com/accelerator/15911/monticello-motor-clubs-bmw-m2-racing-school-is-the-ivy-league-of-driver-training

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