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What’s Happening in September at Simraceway

September means Labor Day and heading back to school, but it also means more time at Simraceway for track experiences, skill-building, racing, and lots more.

Here’s what we have on the agenda after Labor day:

Spend a Day Behind The Wheel of a KTM X-Bow

According to Road & Track’s Sam Smith — who drove a KTM X-Bow for a week last February under the guidance of Simraceway’s instructors — “The whole thing is just a gem.” The KTM X-Bow is one of the world’s lightest, fastest, most nimble track cars. 

X-Bow Cup USA at Simraceway Performance Driving-Center Sonoma Raceway

The KTM X-Bow Experience has inspired a lot of five-star reviews on TripAdvisor like this one from an enthusiastic dad. If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to go around a two-and-a-half-mile road course in a sports car, the KTM X-Bow will answer your questions and more.

You’ll experience an ultra-light, nimble race vehicle for an unforgettable day.

Learn More, Lap More, Race More in Kart Racing School

There’s a reason karters say that Simraceway’s Kart Track is “Best in the West.” Simraceway’s karts are the fastest karts in the state on the longest track in the west. 

Simraceway’s karting begins with the Race Karting Experience, a half-day program that will show you the ropes of karting and racing. Move up to the Kart Racing School Stage 1 and 2. Kart Racing School Stage 1 is a full-day program that will give you more fundamentals of go kart racing. Move to Stage 2, which will build your skills and speed around the track in ROK-powered Sprint Karts. 

Go Kart Racing at Simraceway

Once you complete both stages of the Kart Racing School, you’ll be eligible for your Kart Racing License. Drivers age 13 and older are eligible for karting programs. Karting is incredibly fun and it’s a fantastic intro to the world of racing. 

Open Kart and Moto Practice and T1 Karting Days in September

Take Simraceway’s National Pro karting track in reverse or conventionally on select weekday and weekend days in September. Turn 1 club members can take advantage of T1 Club Karting days reserved for T1 club members. 

Rent an Lo206 or a ROK-Tony Kart starting at $40 for a 15-minute session. Simraceway’s Performance Karting Center offers complimentary standard safety gear. Plan ahead: ROK-Tony Karts have to be reserved at least 48 hours ahead of your open practice or track day.

Advance Your Driving Knowledge, Learn New Techniques at Simraceway

The KTM X-Bow Racing School Stages 1 and 2 have open dates in September. After completing the KTM X-Bow Racing School, you’ll be eligible to compete in Simraceway’s KTM X-Bow Racing Series.

KTM X-Bow Racing School

The Performance Driving Program continues in September with Stages 1 and 2 of the Performance Driving School and the Car Control Clinic. Bring your own car: in each stage, you’ll have opportunities to drive world-famous Sonoma Raceway’s track and receive in-class instruction and car control exercises, including on Simraceway’s skidpad. 

We make it as easy as possible for you to take part in any of our events at Simraceway. Whether you’re looking into karting for the first time or seeking to move up in racing skill, check out the September schedule at Simraceway. We want to see you at the track!

New Promo Film with UltraArm SF

Simraceway is excited to announce a brand new promo film that we shot with the talented UltraArmSF crew. 

Essentially, we wanted to create a visual experience to capture the adrenaline and excitement of racing on a world-class track in the heart of California. 

“It was a collaborative process,” says Sean Rivers, partner at UltraArmSF. 

“For Simraceway, we used a new remote arm (Motocrane Ultra) camera car rig for their campaign. We had DP Ethan Indorf, AC Jeph Folkins and Kevin Jones with SkyHopperAerials to help out on the production. And Layer Media brought the expertise with the post-production, sound design, color and further developed the creative, and finalizing the spot.”

The main objective was to create something short, snappy, and thrilling to encourage people to spend time on the race track. 

Check out the video below to experience Simraceway for yourself!


With an impressive film background, Sean Rivers, Robert Barcelona and Patrick Roth have since launched their own commercial and film remote arm car company. And with that new venture comes the use of UltraArmSF to capture difficult shots and moments with an artistic flair. 

“We started this company with other experienced production veterans with a love for the creative process. We specialize in dynamic camera movement, and UltraArmSF is a joint venture between myself, Robert Barcelona and Patrick Roth.”

Rivers explains it as “a remote crane on top of the car,” which was originally called a Russian Arm by the inventors of the technology in the 1990s. However, Rivers and his team have become the first and only remote arm car in northern California.

In the video, you can see the UltraArmSF at work, providing superb clarity for high-speed footage, full 360 turn capability, and the ability to film really low to the ground or high in the air. 

Every shot in the new ad was filmed with UltraArmSF, and you can explore some cool behind the scenes footage with the crew to get an idea of what the total experience was like. 

For more information about UltraArmSF, click here. You can also explore Simraceway for other racing insights and opportunities to get involved.

What’s Happening in August at Simraceway

August means more amazing track experiences at Simraceway.

If you’re interested in learning more about KTM experiences, performance driving, or driving education and go-karting, there’s plenty to look forward to on Simraceway’s August schedule. 

The KTM X-Bow Cup USA series and Simraceway Series Formula Car Cup continue in August, but we quickly sold out of teen safe driver training classes, so we’ve added the following dates:

Sunday, August 25th, from 9 am to 4 pm, at $695

Here are some other events and programs to explore:

August Spotlight: Check Out Simraceway’s Performance Driving Program and Control Clinic

Can you drive your own car on the track at Sonoma Raceway? Yes! Simraceway’s Performance Driving Program can take you and your car through three stages of practice, training, education, and on-track experience. 

If you have a car that’s fifteen years or newer with tires and brakes in good condition, you might be eligible for the Performance Driving program. Check with our staff at [email protected] to find out if your car is eligible. If it is, be sure to check your owner’s manual and insurance policy and follow guidelines to be ready for your Performance Driving session. Look for sessions throughout August, but don’t take too long — some sessions are already full!

Explore open dates for…

Performance Driving Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3

Learn the Limits And Master Your Car: Car Control Clinic

Using the skidpad and autocross course, Simraceway’s Car Control Clinic shows you how to control your car under extreme conditions. You’ll learn how to correct oversteer, balance your car while drifting, make mid-corner adjustments, and properly rotate your car. Here, you’ll learn how to handle your car safely at or even slightly over its limits. Requirements are like the Performance Driving Program — check with our staff in advance to learn if your vehicle meets the Car Control Clinic’s specifications.

Car Control Clinic dates are currently sold out.

Before School Starts: Take Your Teen for Safe Driving Education at Simraceway

Simraceway’s Teen Safe Driving Course is one of the most highly-rated experiences on TripAdvisor and for good reason. The full-day course covers all the practical skills teens need to drive safely, including emergency braking, accident avoidance, proper steering techniques, and skid recovery. Teens age 15 1/2 and older with their permit or driver’s license will practice using fleet vehicles alongside Simraceway’s instructors. The Teen Safe Driving Course is eligible for part of the 60 hours of required pre-license driving time.

New session added on August 25th, from 9 am to 4 pm.

SCCA Racing School Options At Simraceway in August

If you’ve been thinking of getting your Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) license and going club racing, Simraceway’s Racing School continues in August. Held in KTM X-Bow cars, the 3-day program is available to drivers aged 14 and above. You do not need a driver’s license for this on-track experience and training. Can you bring fans, friends, and family? Sure can — and you might even rent a GoPro to record your performance.

These are a few more highlights in August at Simraceway. The KTM X-Bow Cup and Formula Car Cup continue with their August dates of practice and racing. The Kart Racing School also offers several August dates. T1 Club Members: You have some open days coming up in August, and Karting enthusiasts will see dates for Turn 1 Club Karting. Check out Simraceway’s August schedule now and take advantage of these great experiences at the track.

Simraceway & Aurora Technologies on Bloomberg

Bloomberg recently dropped by to see how we train autonomous vehicle (AV) operators at Simraceway. 

While you may not be sharing the road with a production-ready autonomous vehicle quite yet, the technology is developing quickly and is well underway to making a profound impact on our future mobility.   That being said, everyone knows driving is a complicated activity and that our roadways can be dangerous. It takes clear, quick thinking, good judgment, and most of all, lots of practice. The truth is, even with those things, the best drivers can still have accidents.

Aurora Technologies aims to change that, and Simraceway is proud to serve them as their training partner. 

How Aurora Tech Shifts the Auto Industry into a New Gear

At Simraceway, we train the trainers whether they’re human or machine, and Aurora Technologies is a leading light in the space. 

Founded in 2017 by a group of engineers from Google, Tesla, and Uber, Aurora Technologies teaches computers how to drive using software that learns from the behavior of human drivers. The result is quite spectacular.

It turns out that teaching a computer and a person to drive both require one essential thing: a good instructor. Aurora’s AV operators are the driving teachers for self-driving cars. They are the ones who test out their computer system in the chaos of real streets and traffic.

Operators switch between driving the car and letting it drive itself. The computer uses an array of senses to see the street and make a map of traffic signals, lanes, cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. Using this information, it can navigate through various complex maneuvers.

If anything goes wrong, the system turns off and the operator regains control. The data is then collected and sent to a team of engineers who work on improving the program.

Simraceway Trains Autonomous Vehicle operators with AVOL 1 Certification

Because operators teach by example and must always be ready in the event of a system error, their needs to be an expert behind the wheel. Operators are hired based on their driving abilities as well as undergoing a complete 6-week training course. That’s where Simraceway comes in.

Good driving isn’t only about using your turn signal and braking smoothly. It’s about knowing how to handle the car when something out of the ordinary happens. For self-driving cars to improve road safety, they need to know how to act in an emergency.

The AVOL 1 certification from Simraceway gives each vehicle operator the technical driving skills they need to be good safety stewards in the transition to the future. The course includes advanced driving techniques such as high-speed emergency braking, high-speed accident avoidance, and skid recovery. It also focuses on the specific needs of AV operators and the particular awareness needed to work with self-driving cars.

Before any cars will be driving alone, they will be under the strict supervision of a human operator. Having proficient drivers is the key to reliable self-driving cars. Simraceway understands this importance and since 2009, we’ve trained more autonomous vehicle operators than anyone in the world.

Safety is the Future

Driving is a huge responsibility and the repercussions can be life or death. Before self-driving cars can make our roads safer, they need to be thoroughly taught and tested by human experts. With Aurora Technologies at Simraceway, the movement is gaining speed. 

What’s Happening in July at Simraceway

The sun is shining on track all month long during July at Simraceway. When you’re not watching fireworks or barbecuing, you’ll find exciting driving experiences and racing throughout July at the track.

The spotlight this month is on Go Karts with the chance to practice on the Reverse Pro National Course on selected Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Turn 1 Club Karting is available on Tuesdays. Don’t miss the ROK Arrive and Drive Kart Racing Series on Saturday, July 13.

Go Kart Racing, Kart Rentals, Practice Days at Simraceway in July

Simraceway’s Karts run on California’s premier and longest Go Kart track. If you know an enthusiastic driver age 13 and older who’d like to try the excitement of Go-Karting at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour, they can sign up for the Kart Race School or try open practice on the Reverse Pro National Track. The fourth race in Simraceway’s 2019 Karting Arrive and Drive Series – which welcomes all experience levels, including first-time racers – is Saturday, July 13. 

Turn 1 Club members can schedule Karting time on Tuesdays throughout the month. If you want to schedule Karting time at the track, be sure to check the calendar: dates are filling fast and the Kart Track will be closed from July 25 through 28 for NHRA. You can rent an LO206 or ROK Powered Tony Kart, but be aware that the ROK Karts have to be reserved at least two days (48 hours) ahead of time.

July: A Great Time to Check Out Simraceway’s Performance Driving Program Series 

If you’ve wondered what it would be like to drive your own car in a track environment, Simraceway’s Performance Driving Program series offers a full day High-Performance Driving Experience (HPDE). The program takes place on Sonoma Raceway’s 2.52-mile track. All three stages of Simraceway’s Performance Driving Program are offered in July.

Stage 1 of the Performance Driving Program combines classroom instruction and in-car exercises along with car-control drills. After you complete instruction, you’ll practice on the autocross track before completing the day driving on Sonoma Raceway’s full track.

If you’ve completed Stage 1 or have comparable experience from another program, you are eligible to move on to Stage 2 of the Performance Driving Program. Stage 2 starts out with an autocross competition, then moves on to four 30-minute track laps on Sonoma Raceway. You’ll end the day going solo in open lap sessions, and then return to the classroom for targeted, supportive feedback from Simraceway’s expert instructors.

Stage 2 graduates and other experienced drivers can move on to Stage 3 runs all 5 of its sessions on the main track with instruction by radio from corners. This stage is designed to maximize your understanding of your car and capabilities as a driver. 

KTM X-Bow Experience And Other July Events at Simraceway

You can drive the incredible KTM X-Bow Competition R in July at Simraceway. This half-day experience offers the opportunity to drive the high-tech track car around Sonoma Raceway’s challenging course. 

As always, T1 Club members can take advantage of T1 driving days on select Tuesdays and Fridays during July. Prospective SCCA racers can sign up for the 3-day SCCA License School in the KTM X-Bow — but don’t delay — the F3 3-Day SCCA Race School is already full.

Alternate Title: Get Into High-Performance Driving and Karting Experiences at Simraceway in July

Meta Description: Go Kart Racing, Go Kart School, Karting Practice, Performance Driving Experience, KTM X-Bow Experience at Simraceway July 2019

Simraceway wins 5th consecutive TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence – Retains #1 position.

For the fifth straight year, Simraceway won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Simraceway continues as TripAdvisor’s #1 recommended activity in Sonoma, ahead of 95 other activities in what is already a world-renowned travel destination.

“Our range of driving experiences and training programs is world class, and highly acclaimed,” said Simraceway’s Director of Driver Concierge, Shawn Jackson.

TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence is given to businesses that have a perfect 5.0 score. 

Simraceway continues as TripAdvisor’s #1 recommended activity in Sonoma, ahead of 95 other activities in what is already a world-renowned travel destination.

Cross the finish line in your own KTM X-Bow Experience.

“The Certificate of Excellence … has celebrated businesses that have consistently received positive ratings from travellers and diners on the world’s largest travel platform,” said Neela Pal, Vice President of Brand, TripAdvisor.

With hundreds of five-star reviews, Simraceway’s driving programs and experiences have not only satisfied, they have inspired TripAdvisor customers to document their experiences with them on track.

“Joined my son for a day at the track. … We had a great day and learned a ton. It was clear my son was capable of driving much faster than me” said dwest48 of Salinas, California, via TripAdvisor. “The KTM X-bow is so much more a race car. Just a blast.”

“TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence is given to businesses that have a perfect 5.0 score “

Whether driving our the KTM X-Bow sportscars, our Formula 3 cars or your own car on the race track, Simraceway goes the extra mile to ensure drivers have everything they need for a 1st class experience.

“The instructors are top notch, and everyone at Simraceway is focused and professional … the facilities are as immaculate as a Penske engine room,” acclaimed Geoffmcnew after his three-day racing school.

Simraceway even has programs for young drivers, such as youth karting and Teen Safe Driver programs.

“TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence is given to businesses that have a perfect 5.0 score, emphasizing Simraceway’s commitment to customer service and product integrity,” said Shawn Jackson, Director of Driver Concierge

Simraceway is also eligible for TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame for its three years as a Certificate of Excellence earner and for its #1 attraction placement in Sonoma.

There are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime (or more) experiences at Simraceway, including access to our professional motorsports teams Ligier Lmp3 race cars.

Zoom around the track in Stage 1, 2, or 3 of our racing school, the latter of which awards drivers with a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing license.

Formula 4 vehicles at Simraceway.
Drivers pit their skills against one another in Formula 4 race cars.

Experienced club racers should test the Ligier LMP 3 prototype Le Mans race car. Simraceway also runs three arrive and drive competitive spec racing series:  

“This recognition allows us to publicly recognize businesses that are actively taking into account customer feedback to help travellers confidently experience the most highly reviewed places to eat, stay, and explore,” Pal concluded.

Paul Whiting: Simraceway Student to Instructor/Pro Racer

Born under the hot sun of Las Vegas, Paul Whiting started his driving career in karts and sports cars in his late teens. Even though racing was a childhood dream for him, driving competitively began as a hobby and passion. Throughout his early 20’s, Paul progressed from track days to club racing and shifter kart racing. In 2012 Paul completed all three levels of Simraceway’s Formula 3 School of Racing programs as well as competing in the Simraceway F3 race series. He showed great promise and this training gave him the skills and motivation to concentrate solely on his motorsports dream.


After a few busy years of hopping from track to track, Paul worked his way into private driver coaching and in 2015 was asked to “come home” and join Simraceway Performance Driving Center’s all-star cast of professional racers as one of its instructors for Formula 3, Audi & performance driving classes. As well as his duties as an instructor, Paul also races in the ultra-competitive Pirelli World Challenge series driving a Honda in the TCA category, currently holding 6th place in the driver’s championship. We wish him all the best and please feel free to say hi to this personable young racer if you see him at the track or at our school.


Be sure to visit his website and stay up to date with the latest news:

Exclusive interview with Pietro Fittipaldi

Pietro Fittipaldi is one of the brightest talents in formula car racing, and is about to embark on the 3.5 V8 series (formerly Renault 3.5). He is the grandson of the great Emerson Fittipaldi, and nephew of Christian & Max Papis.


The following is a short interview after we spent the day with him at the Simraceway Performance Driving Center in preparation of his return to Europe. He helped us with some benchmark times for the current crop of young drivers who will be coming through the driver development program this year.


He is a very smart and mature driver for his age, and also very very fast, he ended up breaking the F3 lap record at Sonoma Raceway by over a second! Make sure you follow his season, he is sure to make an impression in his rookie year. Enjoy.

Photographer: Jay Watson






Storied West Coast Track Offers Exciting New Challenge

for Simraceway Competitors and Students


SONOMA, CA—(January 14th, 2015)—The Simraceway Performance Driving Center ( today announced it has reached agreement with The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (“SCRAMP”) to extend the activities of its racing school, associated driving programs, and racing series to the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.


Starting this month, Simraceway’s racing school activities, including its industry-leading fleet of Lola Formula 3 cars, will offer track days from the legendary Monterey-based circuit as well as its current home, Sonoma Raceway.


“We are pleased that Simraceway has chosen Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for their programs,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “We strive to feature only the best options for drivers of all skill levels to experience our facility.”


The 11-turn, 2.238-mile track, known throughout the world for its challenging “Corkscrew” section, will also play host to the final four rounds of the Jim Russell F3 Winter Series, the off-season iteration of Simraceway’s pioneering Formula 3 Championship, in January and February.


Race Director Randy Buck, previously in charge of Skip Barber Racing School’s West Coast operations, which included Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, said of the addition:


“The opportunity to drive a modern-day Formula 3 car at such a great track as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is something that every driver dreams of. The chance to drive such famous corners as the Corkscrew was enough to gain a full-field commitment within just three days of the Series schedule announcement.”


Joining the Simraceway Performance Driving Center on its journey south will be its neighbor at Sonoma Raceway, the Audi sportscar experience, whose presence in Central California will allow a whole new audience of motoring enthusiasts to enjoy its range of performance cars, including the RS5, S5, S4, TTS, and R8.


Jonathan Haswell, CEO of Simraceway, said of the Simraceway Performance Driving Center’s expansion:


“The opportunity to extend our operations to a track of the caliber of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was one we grabbed with both hands. This expansion will provide much needed additional track day inventory for our school, which saw record participation levels in 2014. We look forward to joining the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge, and Indy Lights Series on this prestigious circuit in 2015.”


About Simraceway


With a portfolio that includes both an industry-leading driving school and a respected racing simulation, Simraceway offers unrivalled real-world and virtual automotive experiences and instruction. Headquartered at Sonoma Raceway in California, the Simraceway Performance Driving Center (formerly the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School) employs a fleet of over 110 vehicles and a team of world-class instructors. Its diverse range of programs occupy over 300 days of track time each year, while its unique offering of adrenaline-fueled excitement and unparalleled hospitality have earned it a five-star rating on Trip Advisor. Simraceway’s free-to-play Online Racing World boasts live, multiplayer racing, simulation-grade driving physics developed by world-champion drivers, an unparalleled collection of car and track licenses, and cutting-edge proprietary technology, including its “Skillquant” skill-matching software and “SRW-S1” racing controller.


About Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca


Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was established in 1957. The world-renowned raceway has been operated since its inception by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501(c)4 corporation. Each race season, SCRAMP donates its net proceeds to the volunteer groups that help organize the races.


Contact Information


Paul Charsley


[email protected]

Radio Le Mans and Simraceway Present the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans

We’re especially excited about this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, not only because it marks the 80th anniversary of the famous endurance race, but also because we’ll be doing our bit to get racing fans closer to the action thanks to Simraceway’s sponsorship of Radio Le Mans’ live coverage.

Radio Le Mans, featuring John Hindhaugh–the voice of sports car racing–is the official English language broadcaster at the Circuit de la Sarthe and some 90,000 fans are expected to tune into 91.2 FM during the action, relying on John and the team to keep them fully up-to-speed with events both on and off the track.

For those not fortunate enough to attend the race, meanwhile, the station’s coverage is also available online at and can be heard live in the US on Sirius and XM Satellite Radio.

As an official partner, Simraceway will also be broadcasting the coverage on its Livestream channel, so make sure to tune in to hear the best of the action.


Download Your Simraceway 24 Hours of Le Mans Spotter Guide Now!

Here at Simraceway we’ve been busy assembling the top talent in motorsport–and that goes well beyond our pro drivers.

Our Creative Director, Andy Blackmore, is well known in racing circles for both his iconic livery designs and his popular Spotter Guides which have proved an essential and colourful companion to races and series worldwide.

Produced in association with competing teams, his guides are a must-have amongst the motorsport community and are even used by commentary teams to help them call the action.

So, with Le Mans almost upon us, we’re proud to bring you the Simraceway 24 Hours of Le Mans Spotter Guide 2012.