The R3 Rockingham experience gives drivers the opportunity to experience a simulation of what would happen if a car got caught in a skid or drifted off the road in wet or slippery conditions. All in a completely controlled environment with highly trained and knowledgeable instructors, so you feel completely safe and at ease!
Originally founded in 2013 by Managing Director Steve Lewis, the R3 Road Risk Reduction scheme is becoming an increasingly more popular among young drivers and old. Situated in the heart of the Rockingham Motor Speedway circuit, near Corby, is the first of its kind in the UK, delivering a unique hands-on package for anyone looking to improve their skills and driver safety.
“Every driver having completed our course, leaves as an ambassador for safer, more enjoyable driving and the R3 training method. We honestly believe we can’t force a driver to drive better but if they discover for themselves exactly why they should revise their driving attitude and techniques, they convince themselves it is for the best. The R3 team get such a buzz from seeing this change in behaviour during the course”. – Steve Lewis R3 Managing Director
Getting Into Gear
We took our Marmalade covered cars for our young drivers to use on the day. R3 recommend using your own car as you are more familiar with the handling and controls. Initially the instructors will get you warmed up for the trickier tasks that are to come. Starting with emergency stops on dry tarmac. Most of them mastered this first time round, as everyone should know how to emergency stop. If they don’t – they shouldn’t have passed their driving test 😉
Switching on the Water Works
The second part of the challenge requires you accelerate up to an area with extremely wet tiles, where you have to weave in and out of the cones whilst trying to keep the car straight. It sounds easy, but when these sort of conditions have been built to make you slip around all over the place, it actually requires a lot of patience and control!
Thrown off course
Once our drivers had mastered those 2 steps and became more comfortable with the idea of the car losing its grip at any point, they decided to launch the next level which was the intimidating (yet exhilarating) Kick-Plate challenge! This would again, require the drive to accelerate at a speed of 25-30 mph and then out of nowhere the ground would literally kick out your back wheels, causing you to drift to one side! If you didn’t get the technique right – you would literally do a full 360!
As this was the hardest of the 3 tasks, it certainly took a little longer for everyone to come to terms with how to control your steering and the footwork that is involved in keeping the car steady. This is where most people’s general knowledge of what to do in the event of a skid is proved completely wrong!…but we don’t want to spoil it for you should you wish to try these challenges 😉 Why not discover it for yourself!?
What our young drivers had to say about the R3 Rockingham experience
“I thought the skid pan experience was great. Nobody knows how well they can handle their car in a slide until they actually experience it, so it was a great way to test my skills and improve them. It also gave me a bit of a confidence boost for going back on the roads as I was able to catch the slide well by the end. I also think it should be a compulsory part of the driving test as it could genuinely save someone’s life, be it the driver in the skid or another driver also on the road.” – Will Tyson
“I thoroughly enjoyed the skid pan challenge – as scary as it was – as it gave invaluable insight and practice into what to do if you were ever in that situation. Heaven forbid anything like that were to happen in real life, the experience might just be something that could save my life!” – Jim Knight
Something every driver should experience
R3 offer various training packages all at a reasonable price including skid avoidance, novice driver courses and off-road training. Modules range from £59-£180 and you can opt for 2 and a half hour sessions up to half a day!
Overall the R3 challenge at Rockingham Motor Speedway is certainly something that we think any driver would highly benefit from, and just by learning that little bit of knowledge, you could potentially save your own life and your passengers if you came faced with the real deal!