Skip Barber Racing School is the Ivy League for performance driving
In the times when the concept of sponsorship was completely non-existent and when costs of running a racing season were often much higher than the gains, the sport was reserved for factory teams who always had the best drivers, genius businessmen, and engineers who lived off selling the cars and rich enthusiasts who often bought them.
Three SCCA titles in a row
Skip Barber’s finances stood in the way of his promising career – he started racing in 1958 while studying at Harvard, buying his first racing car from the money he made. It was an Austin Healey Sprite, and racing in those days was far from glamorous: sleeping in motel rooms and driving the car to the track.
However, winning was all that mattered and Skip Barber had tasted a lot of it, famously beating Jim Clark in an identical car at the Canadian Motorsport Track. Although he won three SCCA national championships in a row, from 1969 to 1971, and two consecutive Formula Ford National Championships, even trying in Formula One in 1971 and 1972, Barber just couldn’t keep up with high costs and ended his racing career in the seventies.
Skip Barber was a great racer and an even better entrepreneur
Whereas most people would return to their normal lives, Skip Barber had something else on his mind. From his experience, he knew that just like any sport, racing could be a very coachable discipline. So with just two borrowed Lola Formula Ford cars and four students, he started the Skip Barber School of High-Performance Driving in 1975. The school was renamed to Skip Barber Racing School in 1976, along with the creation of Skip Barber Race Series, a championship contest of his school’s graduates.
Skip Barber exploited his talents in the best possible way
As a racing school pioneer, experienced teacher and talented entrepreneur, Skip Barber had huge success operating his school, and in the early eighties he bought Lime Rock Park with several of his school graduates. Today, Skip Barber is still the owner and operator of his favorite track which he upgraded and made eligible for all the major American racing series. In addition to Lime Rock, Skip Barber Racing School operates on several other famous American tracks: Sebring, Road Atlanta, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and Road America.
Video : Skip Barber Formula making laps around Road Atlanta
Skip Barber Racing School produced many A-list racers
The greatness of one school is mirrored in its alumni and by looking at just a small portion of the list, one can tell that Skip Barber Racing School is among the best in the whole world. His graduates are NASCAR legend and four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya, Connor de Phillippi, Chip Ganassi, Michael Andretti, and many other famous and highly rated drivers from NASCAR, Champ Car, IndyCar, Formula 1 and other racing series. Skip Barber Racing School also educated two of the most accomplished actor-racers, Paul Newman and Patrick Dempsey, as well as Jerry Seinfeld, a certified automotive enthusiast.
Perfect blend of theory and practice
Skip Barber Racing School students drive and compete in Mazda-sourced open wheel cars and Miatas. During those events, all entrants receive feedback from their instructors, which helps them to develop their skills even further. Their signature product is the Three Day Racing School, which combines classroom and in-car lessons, a perfect blend of theory and practice of high-speed driving.
Just like on the track, Skip Barber Racing school is a story of achieving success by doing just the right thing at just the right moment. For his huge contribution to the world of racing, we just have to thank Skip Barber for not turning his back, but sharing all his knowledge with younger generations. Skip Barber’s legacy is undeniable and is reflected in saving Lime Rock Park and providing the world with some of the today’s best racers.