UXBRIDGE: Ian Law, president and chief instructor at ILR Car Control School, wishes drivers would learn proper vision techniques and how to process what is seen.
“What we do naturally with our eyes, when driving, is the wrong thing. We need to be trained in the techniques of how to use our eyes properly, to be safer on the road. We need to put ourselves in a position where we minimize threats.”
The idea of training drivers came to Ian when he was busy winning the Canadian Auto Slalom Championships, from 1986 to 1989.
“We were trying to make the sport grow. We wanted guys to try it. They’d come out with their fancy cars and get the doors blown off by guys with [driving] technique, and wouldn’t come back,” he said.
Ian began teaching those slalom techniques, which involve racing around pylons in a parking lot, and as drivers benefited from the competition course, they began asking if their families could take the course. In 1989, a non-competitive course was added.
The 1982 Volvo GLT, used in the slalom series, is still owned by Mr. Law. It has 826,000 km on the odometer. Ian will begin his tenth season racing a 250 horsepower 1992 Acura Integra, fitted with a roll cage, a six-point harness, and safety equipment. Sporting full competition brakes and suspension by NEO Motorsports, the Mount Albert-based car will start the CASC GT Championship series in May, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Law looks forward to the GT series, which he has won in a previous season. “Beating the more expensive cars, coming in as a low budget team, is very satisfying,” he said.
Ian, who plays the bagpipes, met Mark Swan, a snare drummer at the time, while both played for the Uxbridge Legion Pipes and Drums. Despite ongoing friendly rivalries between pipers and drummers, the two had cars in common and Mark started providing support at the track. Next thing he knew, Mark’s neighbour, Steve Ottolini, was asked to bring his wrench-turning skills to the team. Ian can be heard practising his bagpipes at racetracks across southern Ontario in the summer, much to the delight of his competitors. Development driver Matthew Peralto, of Markham, rounds out the crew.
As a race car driver, Ian invites anyone, who wants to learn how to drive competitively, to take a performance course: “Bring any vehicle, as long as it’s safe. You can learn techniques in anything from a Hyundai Elantra to a Porsche 911.”
“Driving too fast is a very common issue,” he said. “Motorists don’t understand vehicle dynamics, don’t understand how little time they are saving by racing around. Do the math!”
When asked what he’d like drivers to change, he answered promptly, “Stop thinking they know it all, when it comes to driving. Too many believe everyone else should improve. They should change their attitudes and realize they are part of the problem.”
ILR Car Control School also offers a winter driving school in Minden. “It’s all about helping motorists know how to control their vehicle in extreme, limited-traction situations, and maintain or regain control of it on ice and snow,” said Ian, who is also an ice racing champion.
Law thinks people are over-confident in the ability of their cars. “All-wheel drive (AWD) is a performance feature, not a safety feature. The only thing AWD does is aid in acceleration. It doesn’t slow you down or help you steer.”
Formerly a professional scuba diver, filming underwater programs all around the world, Ian transitioned to designing roads for the City of Toronto, which he did until 2012, when he turned his focus to automotive instruction, full time.
Now with 22 instructors, many with racetrack experience, offering several courses, Ian is passionate about safety, teaching Ministry of Transport personnel. ILR has developed a Pro-Active driving technique, based on understanding how drivers process information. “Never let other motorists force you into doing something. Don’t let them dictate what you should do,” advises Ian.
“Our course is a college-level course. What you get at other schools is equal to high school,” said Ian, adding that taking the course will help reduce insurance costs “if you don’t have six stars yet.”
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