The Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V are two of the best performance bargains on the planet, and the deal’s about to get even better. Cadillac is ramping up its V-Performance Academy, but unlike anytime before, now it’s free.
Well, by “free,” I mean it’s baked into the price of a 2017 Cadillac V-Series car, whereas before, Cadillac’s performance driving academy cost a couple grand extra.
Cadillac told Jalopnik that if you’re the first owner or lessee of a 2017 V-Series model, you get two days of rear wheel-drive hoonage at Spring Mountain resort near Las Vegas. All you have to do is cover the flight, and Cadillac will babysit you from there. They’ll grab you from the airport and take you to the resort, nourish you for a couple days, lodge you in Condos near the track, and hand you keys to a loaner car for when you’re not actively destroying tires.
The driving curriculum includes paddock training, which involves exercises like turning while braking, emergency lane change, slalom, and a wet figure eight.
But the majority of the learning takes place on the Cadillac Training Circuit, a course picked out by Cadillac that features some of Spring Mountain’s “sweeping corners, quick esses, [and] off-camber turns.” Much of the time on this circuit will involve lead-follow exercises, where the students (one or two per instructor) follow the instructor to learn his or her technique.
Cadillac also says there’s some classroom time involved, where the Spring Mountain instructors—trained by Cadillac’s “high dynamic” engineers (whatever the hell that means)—make sure drivers understand theory before deciding to romp the gas pedal and send 640 fire-breathing horsepower down to the tarmac.
Students will be able to track an ATS-V coupe or sedan or a CTS-V Sedan, though for the paddock training, standard run-of-the-mill ATSs will also be available. Perhaps most importantly: there will be manual ATS-Vs, confirming that there is some sort of god.
If you don’t feel like buying a Cadillac V-Series, but you want to get in on some of the fun, you can still participate in Cadillac’s two-day V-Series Performance Academy at Spring Mountain or their single-day V-Performance Labs (which takes place at various tracks across America), but it will cost you some coin. Cadillac hasn’t set pricing for those two yet, but they figure it will be around three grand for the two-day session and about $1,000 for the single-day.
Cadillac says a big part of the course is teaching drivers the various modes of Performance Traction Management, a traction control system that includes a “track-only” mode that—Cadillac claims— can actually make seasoned drivers quicker around a track when compared to laps with traction control fully off.
All the data from students’ laps—including braking input, throttle input, steering angle, lateral and longitudinal acceleration and even video of the lap— is saved on Cadillac’s Performance Data Recorder, and given to students on an SD card.
This all sounds like a fun time, except for one thing: Cadillac told me that, in order to save tires, there will be no dry drifting exercise. In other words: if you want to let your inner redneck shine by making some gigantic, Ozone-depleting, asphyxiation-inducing plumes of smoke rise above the pits of Spring Mountain, you may have to resort to bribery. Or just do it on the streets outside the track.
If you’re a lucky V owner, you can sign up for the school here.