Advanced Driving Test in your MX-5

If you are thinking of taking an Advanced Driving course and ultimately an advanced test, your MX-5 is the ideal car in which to do it! I own two cars, the other being a Ford Focus ST and I undertook all my observed sessions in that. But in the week prior to my test in Lincolnshire, my ST had developed a huge crack in the windscreen. So out came Dolly, our stunning mk2.5 1.8 Icon in Sunlight Silver. I checked her fluid levels, washed , polished and waxed her up and made her test ready. After going over a cockpit drill several times, I was happy, and met up with my examiner at East Bridgeford Garden Centre. He was tall and barely fit in Dolly with the roof up. I offered to drop the roof but the examiner Ross, said he was happy with it up. We set off and my commentary began from the start. Half way through the test approx 45 minutes in, Ross said would I mind if he went into “support mode”. I raised a non understanding eye brow, and he offered to push me through some Masters driving techniques and I literally felt Dollys eyes light up. We were bombing round B roads, safely nibbling the corner off any bends where the road was completely clear and safe to do so, using only the gear box but braking where necessary, to set up the car ready for the next bend, and applying the gas in the bend to balance the car. Fantastic.
After reversing into a parking space back at the garden centre, his words were “Well, that’s a solid FIRST, Ian”. I am still buzzing two weeks later!
I’m now attending a meeting next Saturday with a view to becoming an observer.
£179 gets you 6 - 8 sessions with an IAM Roadsmart observer and the price includes your test.
It’s such a worthwhile course to take. If you want to stretch your driving skills or just relish a challenge, you will learn so much and realise just how basic your first driving test was.
And a pass can also have a positive impact on your insurance premium!
Don’t listen to the videos with Jeremy Clarkson giving IAM members a hard time, you can still drive spiritedly within the law!
I’ll be putting in for my Masters programme in due course.


The other week I was actually talking/discussing about this with a mate that has already started the course and I was thinking about doing it as well.

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I was more surprised you own an ST and an MX5… I thought they were mutually exclusive cars to own :joy:

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I can’t recommend it enough. It turns you into a much more aware driver, anticipating things, assessing hazards and what you’re going to do about them. But most importantly, you learn IPSGA - the system of driving. Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration. Only braking and changing gear in a straight line and not overlapping braking and changing gear. Takes some getting used to! But you never see an F1 driver changing gear IN a bend. It keeps the car far more stable. And you are expected to provide spoken thought or commentary. You will be guided on this.
I can recommend a guy called Reg Local on Youtube. He’s an ex police advanced instructor and has loads of videos on advanced driving. Brilliant. Or watch PetrolPed on Youtube. Really good!

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A great result, many congratulations and a great choice of car to do it in!

I’m in the other club with RoSPA and have done some of my re-tests in my old Mk1. I’ll likely use my current Mk3.5 in future tests. One of the differences in RoSPA is that you go through a re-test every 3 years to help keep your skills up.

I also went through the IAM course around 2009.


My previous car was a 1.8 Nevada mk2.5, but the rust monster gobbled it up. So in came the ST. much more power but a different animal. My wife then said she missed the MX, so I scoured the ads and found a cracking low miler Icon 1.8 for a great price. Dolly has since come 2nd in the standard 2.5 at Sywell last year at the National day. She’s a stunning car. Having sills and arches this year, not that they’re bad but I’m picky and I want them doing. Chassis rails done last year. A wheel refurb and shes sorted.


Thank you so much!

I’m doing a similar thing with IAM, every three years retest. It means becoming a Fellow of the charity.


Yes, excellent videos. I’ve met him a couple of times and he came to speak at our RoSPA group AGM the other year. He’s called John in ‘real life’, but that’s another story…

John??? Ok! Hahaha

Brilliant. Great to hear they’ve eventually come around to the re-test way of thinking :wink:

Also have a think about volunteering with your local advanced driving group to train as a coach/mentor/tutor (depending on the IAM parlance). By the sounds of it, you might well be a natural fit. It’s a brilliant thing to do and in my experience, that REALLY keeps your skills up.


I’m there next Saturday for a trainee observer meeting. :wink:


Just dug this out. Match made in heaven! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Nice! That NA looks very tidy!

Cleaned up pretty well for a 145k miler!

A '93 S-Special, sold last year to make way for a NC2 PRHT that I wouldn’t feel bad about using all year round :slight_smile:

I can assure you they do change gear in bends.

Maybe not tight ones…lol


From NB 2.5 Icon Owner [Undergoing Renovate & Restore]

Thanks for This Info as Advanced Driving Couse on my ‘Bucket List’

I took my advanced driving test with IAM in 2008 , 2.5 hrs long for test :hot_face::hot_face:
I got the highest score by that examiner in 4 yrs and he asked me on the spot if I’d consider being an observer/ tester .
Unfortunately I wouldn’t call myself a people person and declined the offer….
( maybe should have taken the challenge :man_shrugging::man_shrugging:)

It’s a great thing to do and would highly recommend :white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark::white_check_mark:

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Yes it’s good to hear your examiner/observer score you highly. On my last observed session, my observer said that was first time he had ever given anyone all ones across the board. He tried to pick fault but admitted he couldn’t. Which was nice. Haha

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