About

The Phil Wicks Driving Academy serves one vision – to help our students be better drivers. We’re not a racing school. But we are much more than a performance driving school. Performance driving is an integral part of our curriculum due to the nature of small cars, especially Fiat and MINI’s legendary performance envelope. But our principal purpose is to help our students be better drivers – on the street and, as it is the best and safest place to learn the basics of performance driving, on the track.

More than 50% of the students who attend the Phil Wicks Driving Academy have never been to a driving academy of any sort. They have never driven on a racetrack. But they have most likely recently purchased a Fiat, MINI Cooper, or MINI Cooper S and found that the superb handling of the car unlike any other they have ever experienced.

The Phil Wicks Driving Academy was designed with you in mind.

Phil and his staff will help each student, at his/her own pace, gain a better understanding of the tremendous handling capability of the Fiats and MINIs, or any make and model of car. Most of us don’t drive Ferraris, Porsches or other world-class performance cars. At the Phil Wicks MINI Driving Academy we’ll teach you how to “handle the handling” so to speak, bringing your driving skill to a level better suited to your car’s capability. In the process, we’ll help make every driver a better driver, a safer driver and one who enjoys his/her car to the MAX every day.

Once you experience your car in this controlled and safe environment, you’ll want to come back hopefully, again and again. Not only to gain additional skill to meet the increased levels of driving performance, but also share in the camaraderie of the experience with other car owners.

Additional Services Available

You may choose to keep your car unmodified. Or you may choose to upgrade your car to improve handling via optional swaybars, suspension units, springs and shocks, brakes, or engine upgrades for more power. The Phil Wicks Driving Academy will consult with you and recommend modifications to meet your goals. And, if necessary, adjust your upgrades to obtain optimum performance. All of these upgrades can be performed at the Phil Wicks Driving Academy facility in Columbia, South Carolina.

Consultation and Upgrades for Classic Small Bore Cars

Whether your classic car is an unmodified street car, or track and race prepared, Phil Wicks will personally consult with you to help you obtain your optimum performance goals. Small bore classic car owners have the unique opportunity to seek advice from one of the world’s foremost authorities on Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Mini Cooper, MG, Austin-Healy, Lotus, etc. Indeed, Phil has probably done more track miles in classic and modern cars — especially Mini/MINI Cooper — than anyone else.



Résumé

PHILIP A. WICKS




Date of Birth: February 9, 1940 – London, England

  • 1947 — Rode pillion with father on Norton 500
  • 1954 — Owned first bike: Francis Barnett with Villier 197cc engine
  • 1955 – Started building own race bikes: mostly Triumph-based. Started riding race practice days at Brands Hatch,Kent,England. Received help and encouragement from John Surtees.
  • 1957 – Track bike BSA Gold Star B34 500cc
  • 1958 – Track bike 1953 Ex-works Isle of Man TT Racer Matchless G45, 500cc
  • 1960 – Started racing cars: Austin-Healy Sprites
  • 1962 – Started racing in Europe Lightweight Sebring Sprite – Radbourne Racing Works driver
  • 1962 – Works sponsored Austin Mini Cooper for Radbourne Racing
  • 1963 –Started driving as development engineer for Taurus Performance Tuning, a race and road car preparation company specializing in race prep on clients’ cars as well as entering full BMC supported Mini Cooper “S: 1071 cc, for Britain National Championship and 999cc “s” for European Touring Car Championship. Taurus also prepared and maintained various cars for British TV shows including the first ever made Mini Cooper “S” ‘HOP 731’ for the Danger Man TV series which Wicks was asked to drive occasionally.
  • 1964 – Development engineer and works driver for Fiat Abarth – Radbourne Racing – driving saloon and GT cars in British and European races.
  • 1966 – Built and developed first ever lightweight 850 Cooper “s”. This car won every race it started and established several lap records. This was the prototype “instant” Mini racer sold to clients to compete in Openj Class Group 3 Saloon Car Championship.
  • 1960 – 1975 – Various co-drives in long distance classics; Stunt driving in British TV Films; Coordinating and instructing stunt drivers in various movies
  • 1967 – Employed by Lamborghini UK as test driver and engineer in Italy for Lamborghini at factory in Bologna. Upon returning to England, organized ride and drive track days utilizing Formula 1 and other successful drivers of that era to demonstrate Lamborghini cars.
  • 1970 – Sponsored and occasionally drove “Spiders Nightclub” Ford Escort saloon car with Brabham Formula 2 Grand Prix car chasis and Cosworth BDA engine. This was the fastest saloon car in England, winning every race entered.
  • 1970 – 1980 – Successfully raced off-shore power boats in Europe
  • 1976 – Outright winner of Putney (England) toCalais(France) off-shore race
  • 1979 – Moved to Florida; imported European classic cars specializing in Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Mini, and Fiat Abarth; had restoration shop, and Rolls Royce Classic Limousine service
  • 1983 – Present – Specific racecar instructor at various racetracks in United States with BMW, Porsche, Audi, SCCA; Guest speaker at various clubs (including Sebring and Daytona)
  • 1996 – 1998 – Team manager for Yamaha Grand Prix 250 cc race team, won national title
  • 2002 – Present – Owner Phil Wicks Safe Driving Academy and Phil Wicks Ultimate MINI Driving Academy, instructing over 10,000 students since inception

56 years riding experience

56 years racing bikes and cars


Tracks

England: Brands Hatch, Lyden Hill, Silverstone, Snetterton,MalloryPark,AultonPark, Aintree, Goodwood, Castle Coombe

Europe: Le Mans, Nurburgring, Spa (Belgium), Clemond Feront, Muggelo,Monza, Zandvort,Monaco, Zolder, Karlskoga

South Africa: Kylami Ranch (Johannesburg)

USA: Sebring, Daytona, Palm Beach International Raceway, Homestead, Roebling Road, Putnam Park, Blackhawk Farms, Gateway International Raceway, Nashville Superspeedway, Carolina Motorsports Park, Beaver Run (PA), Autobahn Country Club (Joliet IL), Topeka Motorsports Park, Talladega Gran Prix, Brainerd (MN), Barber Motorsports Park (AL), Willow Springs (CA), Buttonwillow (CA), Streets of Willow (CA), Alameda Country Sheriff’s Training Facility (CA), Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, Laguna Seca, Summit Point (WV)



Bikes on Racetracks: Developing and testing, track days, and instruction

Triumph, Norton, BSA Matchless, BMW, Yamaha, Honda (Current track bikes are Honda RC51 Joey Dunlop TT Isle of Man replica and Kawasaki 250 KX Motorcross)



Cars on Racetracks: Building, development, and competition

Austin Healey, MG, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Abarth, Lotus, Ferrari, Mercedes, AC Cobra, Ford Mustang, Ford Falcon, Ford GT 40, TVR, Diva, Marcos



Co-drivers: John Anstead, William Kelly, Roy Salvadori, Alain Decadenet



Road and track tested Lamborghini with Sir Stirling Moss, Juan Manual Fangio, Graham Hill.

Phil Wicks - Motorsports Specialist
314-330-6449
racerwicks@aol.com