Braselton, GA -- The Saab Aero Academy is expanding for the 2006 model year to complement Saab's growing product range. Enrollment in the performance driving school now comes standard with the purchase or lease of a 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan, Convertible or the new SportCombi, equipped with the award-winning 250 hp 2.8 V6 Turbo engine. Owners of 2005 model year or newer Saab 9-5 Aeros also qualify.
The intensive two-day course is held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia and combines driver education with the thrill of piloting high performance vehicles. It consists of 80 percent advanced handling exercises on specially constructed training tracks and 20 percent classroom time. Aero Academy instructors are professional race drivers.
"The Saab Aero Academy is not an extra and it's not an option," says Saab USA General Manager Jay Spenchian. "It's as much a part of the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 as their turbocharged engines and is something no other automaker offers. It allows our customers to improve their driving skills and practice accident avoidance techniques while pushing the cars to their limits on a safe, closed course. Bottom line, if you love to drive and want to sharpen your skills, it's a must."
Aero Academy enrollees experience a skid pad where they learn how to control a car with proper steering, throttle and brake responses; 'threshold' braking, which teaches how to apply brakes, improve reaction time and avoid brake lockup; a lane change exercise which is designed to improve reflexes and car control skills; a slalom course which tests timing, throttle and steering skills - all while avoiding the orange cones; and an autocross, a scaled down race track that tests cornering, braking, acceleration and skid control while using 100 percent of the cars' potential.
Saab Aero Academy instructors are active in open wheel formula racing, sports car racing, endurance racing and oval track racing. Instructor to student ratio is 1:4. Over 1,400 Saab owners have participated in the Aero Academy since it was founded in 1999 under the name "Viggen Flight Academy."
Customers enroll in the Saab Aero Academy by having their dealer submit their information to Saab Cars USA. Upon receiving a Saab Aero Academy certificate, the owner calls an 800 number to register for a particular session. The two-day program is free. Enrollees must pay for their own transportation to Road Atlanta, hotel accommodations and meals.
Saab USA is in the midst of the most aggressive new product development offensive in its 58-year history as an automaker. The 9-7X, Saab's first SUV, was introduced in June 2005, the five-door 9-3 SportCombi, which rounds out the 9-3 range, went on sale in November and a refreshed 9-5 sedan and SportCombi, the flagships of the Saab lineup, will be in dealerships by the start of 2006.
In addition to the new cars, an all-new 250-horsepower 2.8L V6 Turbo engine is now standard equipment in all 9-3 Aero models. This engine has just recently been named among the industry's 10 best engines of 2006 by the editors at Ward's Communications.