The Skip Barber Racing School brought its road show to the biggest party this weekend, when it rolled into the SAP U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The booth set-up is its largest, most elaborate effort to date and will showcase the...
The Skip Barber Racing School brought its road show to the biggest party this weekend, when it rolled into the SAP U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The booth set-up is its largest, most elaborate effort to date and will showcase the education and entertainment experiences available through its programs.
In the elite company of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ferrari and SAP, the race's title sponsor, sits the 40' x 20' banner-clad tent of the Skip Barber organization, providing a personal face to the quarter-million people expected to roam the F1 Village. The upgraded tour, which features show cars, oversized banners and placard photos of its vehicles, is part of a concerted effort to capture a diverse group of global race enthusiasts that have chosen to spend their weekend in the motor sports capital of America.
Five full-time staffers are manning the booth to field questions and advise on programs with the ultimate objective of increasing volume sales, all amid a backdrop of sheet metal and carbon fiber. Among the tires one can kick, are the 2.0 liter Formula Dodge Racing School car, the Formula Dodge R/T 2000 Race Series vehicle, the Barber Dodge Pro Series racer, and the eye-candy red Dodge Viper of the Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School. New to the Skip Barber family is the Winston Cup car that, as part of the newly formed "Racing Experience," offers NASCAR afficionados an opportunity to speed on super ovals.
Ben Menninges, Assistant Manager of Driver Services, has fielded several unique inquiries on site and noticed a keen interest from the International set making the rounds.
"There have been several Europeans that didn't realize that we had so many different cars, schools and programs," says Menninges. He continues, "Many have requested information on the Race and Pro Series and left with the guides that provide details and specifications. Several others stopped because they had never seen a Cup Car up close."
Menninges notes that traffic on the first day is already high.
"There are more people here today in the morning [on a non-race day] than there were at our last display on a race day," he said. "We expect traffic this weekend to surpass our last four booth efforts combined."
After the initial set-up, it didn't take long to recognize the depth of knowledge among the F1 set. Many displayed long memories.
Menninges recounts, "A German collector came in and requested a picture of Skip Barber when HE raced in Formula 1."
- Andrew Torres