Simpson motorsport

Longest Day Driving School – June 8 – 10, 2018

When – Friday, June 8 — Sunday, June 10, 2018

Where – Raceway Park of the Midlands, Pacific Junction, IA

Join for this year’s exciting Longest Day driving school. The Longest Day Driving School is one of our longest standing High Performance Driving Events with an excellent safety record and an experienced corps of experienced volunteer Instructors. You’ll learn a lot about car control, you’ll find yourself much more comfortable at speed than you thought possible – and you’ll have a lot of fun!

You’ll be paired up with an in-car instructor for the weekend, plus you’ll have a number of classroom sessions to learn more about the dynamics of high-performance driving and techniques. BMW CCA driving schools are among the best values and experiences for the money.

We will have an exciting opportunity for our LDDS participants this year. Des Moines Valley Region SCCA will be hosting a Time Trials event at RPM during our driving school weekend.

SCCA Time Trials (TT) are timed competitive events where the drivers vie for the fastest individual lap time in their class. Time Trials is not wheel-to-wheel racing. For those who like the thought of being compared to others to see who can turn the fastest lap and want to add the pressure of competition to their track experience without the distraction or investment of racing wheel-to-wheel – SCCA Time Trials might be what you’re looking for. Cars are divided into classes by power/weight ratio and equipment to level the playing field. Drivers must comply with passing rules in these events.

This event will be open to all makes and models (including convertibles – see the event rules via the link below for specifics about vehicles). Drivers participating in the driving school are welcome to participate in the Time Trials on a day when they are not driving in LDDS. If you’re interested in the DMVR Time Trials, you’ll need to register for LDDS as one-day student, and register separately with DMVR as a one-day driver in Time Trials. Please visit http://msreg.com/DMVR-JuneTT for information and registration.

We’re expecting a huge turnout for all the usual “Longest Day” fun and entertainment. This is your chance to attend one of the best driving schools available in the country. We strive for and have developed a very effective program to teach novice and experienced drivers the finer points of car control, all at a great facility. We have gathered the best enthusiast instructors from around the Midwest to help you have the time of your life!

So, whether you are an experienced driver or just want to significantly improve your basic on-road driving skills, whether you have a fully track-modified BMW M3, another brand of sports car, or a normal everyday economy car, we welcome all driving enthusiasts. The Longest Day Driving School is the place to be this July. Open to all licensed drivers 18 years of age or older of all skill levels, and we love novice students.

The host hotel is Country Inn and Suites of Council Bluffs, located at 17 Arena, Council Bluffs, IA 51501 Phone: 712-322-8282. We have a “BMW Club” block of rooms reserved at a price of $109/night, plus tax. The block is in effect until May 30, 2018, after which the hotel may change its rates.

Cost for the event is as follows:

  • Taste of the Track – $49
  • Three Day Advanced Student Registration – $399
  • Two Day (Sat-Sun) Student Registration – $339
  • First Timers (Sat-Sun) Student Registration – $289
  • One Day Student Registration – $229
  • Time Trials + One Day of Driving School(Also need to register with DMVR SCCA) – $149
  • Friday Solo + Sat/Sun Time Trials (Also need to register with DMVR SCCA) – $99
  • Friday Solo + 1 day DE + 1 day Time Trials (Also need to register with DMVR SCCA) – $199
  • Three Day (Fri-Sun) Instructor Registration – $99
  • Instructor Registration + Time Trials (You’ll also need to register with DMVR for the Time Trials event. Iowa Chapter BMW CCA will issue you a refund for your Time Trials cost.) – $99

Come on out and have some fun! Registration is available online at MotorsportReg. Please visit – 2018 LDDS


Hot Lap Around Raceway Park of the Midlands (RPM)


Longest Day Driving School 2012 Video 2


A Tale of Two (Driving) Seasons

It was the highest of water, it was the lowest of water…. Okay, enough damage to Dickens. But as in the famous novel, the contrasts between events were stark and momentous.

Last year, our Longest Day Driving School was held in the shadow of impending doom. The Missouri River was rising at an unheard-of pace, setting new records for flood height and water flow. Our event barely managed to happen. Only a few days beforehand, we were meeting with the Corps of Engineers and FEMA to see if we should even hold the school. The weather while we were there was actually pleasant, but that weekend was the last one that MidAmerica Motorplex would operate for about three months. Just days after we wrapped up, the local roads went under water, and then the track property and finally the track itself also were covered by rising groundwater over the next few weeks.

In contrast, 2012’s event was after a very dry fall and a warm winter, which was followed by a dry spring as well. No damage occurred to the track at all from either flood or freezing. The MAM staff has been busy all spring on repairing the buildings, replanting the infield, and generally putting things back as good as they were a year earlier. Last October’s moonscape appearance when the track re-opened has been replaced by nice green grass – and soybean plants in the infield! (We’re still in Iowa, after all). Our crowd was royally roasted in 90-plus degree temps and high winds, but we avoided the predicted Sunday thunderstorms and all sessions except for the very last ones were completely dry.

The participants had a great experience, as our chapter consistently provides at Longest Day. Comments from one first-timer: “I had an absolute blast this past weekend at this event….my expectations were totally exceeded. [T]he quality of the instruction and the approachability of everyone in the group really made this a sport I could absolutely see myself getting into. I will definitely be back next year”.

As always, the event takes a lot of help from many people. Chief Instructor Scott Smed worked many late hours ahead of the event to find sufficient qualified instructors and to make the student assignments that are key to the effectiveness of the school. Jeff Daly helped with pre-event planning, Brian Smith and Dana Schrader provided the classroom instruction, Candy Gerber organized the Friday reception, and Rick and Kathy Talbot reprised their stellar work on the grid again this year. The Saturday night feast at the track prepared by Don and Stacy Van Lengen was a highlight as always. We also had a new face leading the Saturday night track walk/ride after dinner – Dana did the honors in showing nuances of the track contours that just aren’t visible when driving at speed. Several other members helped with pre-event or on-site grunt work. And last but definitely not least, our key sponsor BMW of Des Moines provided our event mementos plus additional support in several ways. When you’re in the store for either sales or parts/service, please express appreciation for all they do for our chapter.

We had concerns about the viability of this year’s event, as a competing driving school was held by four neighboring chapters together – on top of our perennial place in the schedule and only 150 miles away. But Iowa Chapter made yet another difficult event happen, and with great success. We had as many participants in our school as the other one did, with only our one chapter as the host. That’s a testimony to the strength of what we offer our students and instructors for a weekend experience – and participants came from eight states for LDDS!

It is a far, far better thing that we do, than we have ever done….


Chapter Driving School – Just Do It!

It’s that time of year again – time to think about signing up for Iowa Chapter’s “Longest Day Driving School”. Been there before? Then you know what a great experience it is. Never done one? You’ve just GOT to try it! Rarely is something that is so good for you also so much fun. We are not talking about a glass of fish oil, or diet potato chips here, folks! We are talking about a fun way to become a safer driver – a way to learn about the abilities of your car and yourself.

You’ve been in the club. Maybe you’ve attended some of the banquets, picnics, tours, or tech sessions. You’ve met some of the other great people in the club. Isn’t it time to try the ultimate club experience?

Some time in your life you have already had a little fun with a car. Maybe you stepped on the gas while on an Interstate on-ramp. Well, you will get plenty of chances to accelerate here. The thing about driving school is: the shoulders are safe, there is no loose gravel, the pavement is smooth, there is no oncoming traffic, the lane is wide, there are no poles or trees or pedestrians or deer, and you set the speed limit (low or high). All this with your personal instructor coaching you at your specific ability level.

What is it like? Well, first you need to study the information packet before arriving in western Iowa. You need a motel reservation. You need your forms filled out and your car inspection done. You will need a helmet. If you come in on Friday night, you will enjoy a light dinner and beverages (courtesy of the club) at the hotel – a chance to meet your instructor and to have a laid-back chat with fellow participants. You will leave your room and arrive early Saturday morning at the track. Your car will be looked over again, this time to make sure you didn’t leave something loose in it to surprise you later. You will receive several sessions of classroom instruction during the two days geared specifically to novices like yourself. (Other students at different levels have their own sessions.) The Iowa Chapter always gets good classroom instructors. I still remember my first one, Dave Johnson of Cedar Rapids, and how good a job he did.

Then it comes time for the real fun – track time. You will meet your individual instructor and get acquainted. The Iowa Chapter is known for their excellent in-car instructors as well. My first one, ten years ago, was Jim Simpson of Iowa City. We continue to be friends to this day. I had him drive the track once while I observed from the passenger seat. At the time, I thought it was a wild ride. Now I realize just how controlled it was. Believe me, I had no idea what the capabilities of a car really were, especially a BMW! (There will be other makes there too.)

When you get behind the wheel on the track, you will start out slow, like the rest of your novice group. You will gain skill, confidence, knowledge, and speed. You will learn the track. You will learn where and how track passing is allowed. You will learn the flag system. (Study that packet!) You will have tons of fun. And, you will be exhausted. Twenty-five minutes or so of 100% concentration each driving session is taxing, unless you routinely land airplanes for a living. After resting, the schedule will continue through many more cycles throughout that day and the next. Each level of drivers has their own schedule rotating through classroom, inspecting, driving, and resting. You may also ride along with an instructor in their car. You will spend time talking with other students. You are guaranteed to be amazed and to have fun. And at the end of track time on Saturday evening, the club will once again have the incomparable Don Van Lengen putting on a barbecue at the track for all hands. Then you get to come back on Sunday for more classes and track sessions – and now it will really start to feel natural.

If you are like I was at my first school, you will progress from: “this is nuts,” to “this is fun,” to “hey, I am getting better,” to “is it over already – when can I come again?” You will see that all the rules, procedures, and instruction are pointing toward one thing – safety. Safety at the school. Safety in your own driving back at home. Safety in how to meet problems caused by others. And when you think of it, can you put a price on that knowledge? How much time and money is your safety (and that of others) worth? Especially when you can acquire all that knowledge and have great fun doing it? So what are you waiting for? The “Longest Day Driving School” – just do it!

2011 Longest Day Driving School Information

LDDS Page


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