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Old 11-03-2004
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Re: Indoor Kart World Championship 2005

After my 3-day last year I investigated other schools and race series. I found the racingschools.com web site and was surprised to find a remarkably negative write up about Skip Barber that didn't come anywhere near my experience of the school. I called racingschools.com and found that they were also very negative on the phone. After a few questions I realized that their lack of support for the Skip Barber program was connected to the fact that Skip Barber wouldn't agree to pay for representation by racingschools.com.

When I saw Carlos' post yesterday I went back onto the racingschools.com web site again and looked up the Skip Barber Racing School. This is what I found as copied directly from their site yesterday:

Begin Quote:

"If you are serious about learning how to road race or if you're looking to fulfill a life long desire to drive Formula or GT race cars on famous circuits nationwide, you'll want to read this information. It will help you identify the schools best suited to meet your particular objectives. Remember, not all schools are the same. The most expensive programs are not necessarily the best so read on and call us if you have any questions.

You've probably heard of the Skip Barber Racing School programs. They've been around since the early 70s but ran into some financial problems in 2001and filed for bankruptcy in early 2002 leaving many customers, employees and vendors with unpaid claims. The name, operations and assets were purchased out of foreclosure in December 2001 by a group of former customers who hope to bring the school back to its former status as a leading provider of road racing programs. For now, the status quo remains.

What you need to know before choosing Skip Barber for a school program:

- They enroll as many as 28 students in a single three day school program. That's more than twice as many students as some other schools.
- You'll always have to share a racecar with one or more student.
- More students may equal less track time.
- No passing is allowed during the entire length of the curriculum.
- No full, uninterrupted laps on the track until the final day.
- No data acquisition is used at anytime during the initial three days.
- Their three day school price can be as much as 50% higher than other schools. Peak time programs at Laguna Seca or Lime Rock Park cost as much as $3,595!

Now compare that to the average three-day school price of other reputable operators at around $2,675 with some great schools offering their three day programs as low as $2,345. That's a huge difference and a higher price won't get you more track time or better race cars or better instruction no matter what the claims. As an independent racing school program sales agent, we believe that the best programs enroll no more than 14-20 students, use data acquisition in every race car, don't make you share a car with other students and allow passing and full track laps as early as the morning of the second day.

The best Formula, three-day school programs are currently being offered by the Bertil Roos Racing School in the East ($2,695), Autosport Basi in Montreal, Canada (around $2,175 US), the Derek Daly Academy in Las Vegas ($3,500), the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School ($2,695) near San Francisco or KRC Racing Schools ($2,995) northeast of Los Angeles.

Important Tip: Always ask about racecar damage liability limits. Some schools hold you responsible for as much as $5000 in crash damage while others (like Bertil Roos) have NO crash damage liability during their Three Day school program."

End Quote:

I then called their contact number (yesterday) and Carlos answered. I asked him why I didn't see the Skip Barber School in their preferred listing and he gave a negative opinion on cost, lack of data acquisition and no wings on the school cars. He then asked me where I was calling from and when I said NYC, he recommended the Bertil Roos racing school and race series.
When I asked if he had raced, he did acknowledge that he used to race in the Barber series. He then added "If your really interested in racing then the Skip Barber Race series is much better than the Bertil Roos series because Bertil Roos may have only 5 cars in a race and the competition isn't very good. If you want to go racing, then Skip Barber is the best. (Bertil Roos might not have appreciated Carlos honesty at that moment but I did) When asked, he also acknowledged that Skip Barber had no rep agreement with racingschools.com while Bertil Roos and more than 70 other schools did.

Here is a partial bio from their site about the CEO of the company:

Robert Prevost, Founder, President and CEO of IME Corp. is a veteran race car driver who has driven many different types of race cars over the years including Karts, GT Sportscars, Stockcars and modern day Formula One cars. He spent nearly a decade with the Skip Barber Racing School as their Director of Corporate Sales successfully developing the model for Motorsports based corporate entertainment programs, that has been embraced today by just about every racing school in AmericaÖ

End of bio:

So, Robert was a long time Skip Barber employee and Carlos ran in the Skippy race series, and both now bury the Skip Barber Racing School in negative innuendo at every opportunity (except when Carlos was pressed about the race series) because Skip Barber LLC won't let them undercut the full time service reps who support their families by exclusively selling Skip Barber services.

Carlos sells the services of (by his own claim) over 70 different racing schools at their list price and gets an agreed upon kickback (or more kindly, commission) from each seat he sells. It is probably a fair assumption that many of those other schools arenít big enough to maintain a full time sales staff, so for them, racingschools.com is a cost affective alternative.

But given the option, would you rather have your racing school represented by someone selling school seats on commission from more than 70 different schools, or by someone devoted and educated in the nuance of only your own program?

What seems grossly unethical to me is how racingschools.com presents itself to an unknowing pubic as an impartial information provider, when it clearly has a financially motivated self-serving agenda that is intentionally hidden. Their detailed reviews only give positive information to the schools they make money from. While under the guise of full disclosure, they dump negative innuendo-laden warnings on schools they don't represent. And they do it without ever making the financial connection and its influence on their reporting clear to the public. (Check out the negative piece on their site about the Richard Petty School that also won't give them a rep agreement)

Iím not suggesting that any of the schools they are representing arenít good service providers and I don't begrudge anybody selling a service for an honest fee and providing information to support people in making an educated decision. I do object to grossly biased reporting based on who is lining your pockets, without coming anywhere near telling the truth about it.

So Carlos and Robert, itís nothing personal because I don't know either one of you, but from everything I gather, some of your current practices would be an illustrative and educational negative model in any business school ethics course.

But thatís just my opinion.

Pat Daly

Last edited by dalyduo; 11-03-2004 at 07:55 PM.
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