The other day Jaguar invited an elite group of motoring enthusiasts to sample the high-octane thrills at its R Performance Academy at the Monticello Motor Club in upstate New York.

DRIVEN’s own 007, dashing designer Duncan Quinn, was there to put his foot down. Here’s his report from the field:

It was raining cats and dogs.  Pissing it down.

But some might say that’s the best time to really learn how to handle yourself in cars with 400-odd torque and over 500 horsepower.

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That would be the XFR and the XKR, Jaguar’s hottest saloon and coupe respectively.

And thus began some track time with the Jaguar R Performance Academy at Monticello.

Apparently there is a golden ticket to this school for each lucky purchaser of an “R”.

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As one of the quite exceptional instructors said in so many words, you’d have to be an idiot not to use it.

If you want to learn to ski faster get an Olympic downhill racer to teach you; drink like a legend, enlist the ghost of Georgie Best; and if we’re talking powerslides Mr. Clarkson will probably do.

But a motley crew of skilled ex-racecar drivers talking string theory and other such catchy stuff will do no end of good for reversing all those bad habits of robot-driving the freeways at 55 mph whilst under the watchful eye of Johnny state trooper.

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An Andretti, a former F1 and Indy Car genius, and a smorgasbord of accents among the instructors would keep your head reeling even if the power sliding sideways “hot laps”didn’t.

I always did enjoy watching the back end come round through the side window anyway.

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Love it?  Not half.

Don’t delay.  Get out and buy one today.

If only for the training.