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August 15, 2005

First Drivers Education Event completed

What a blast! Finished my first drivers ed, and managed to stay on the track despite the first days rain. Yep, the curse continues. Went to Brainerd and it rained us out. When we got to the track on Friday evening, it was ok but on Saturday it was raining till 2pm ish. The days were organised in to 20 minutes sessions for everyone in the morning and the same in the afternoon except the non-novices got 30 minute runs.

There were 5 run groups from novices to instructors at the top. The first day was session/class/session/class and in a way, it was good that it was raining because it kept the speed way down. My instructor Chuck Frichot was great and his best advice is what I keep hearing from everyone, keep it slow, concentrate on the line and you'll get quicker eventually, it just takes track time. He's on the money. My best line laps were when I was taking it easy. I figure it'll be a while before I can do consistent laps from a line point of view.

It's very easy to get lost on the track. I had a brain fart on turn 4 every lap on my third session with Sean Cahill. I'd come out on to it and just go blank until turn 5 when my brain started working again. John was saying the same thing. Maybe corner numbers on flags or something would be helpful for novices or drivers new to the track as a way to remind them. This was less of a problem on later sessions though.

The track is nice, I like it. The turns are complex, in that there are few true corners, most are multi-corner increasing or decreasing apex corners but I felt very safe on the track, there is nothing to hit. If you do go off in the rain then the car sinks in mud so the trick is don't go off. It's hard to clean the car afterwards.

The event it-self felt very, very safe. The rules are sensible, no passing, only pass when indicated by the slower driver, one car per indication, slow down to let the other car pass. Keep your distance when behind a slower car. When everyone plays by the rules then it works really well. The PCA guys were cool and did a great job.

Chuck brought me out in his car, a race prepped 600bhp 993 turbo so that was fun. The track was still wet when we went out so it was getting out of shape in places but I wasn't worried in the car. It had a full race setup safety wise, I had my R3, it was as safe as we could make it and there is nothing to hit on the track except mud. I just sat back and enjoyed it while watching the line he was taking. It's much easier to study the line as a passenger that when driving, less to think about.

The R3 wasn't a problem at all. I was the only student with one but there you go. It didn't hinder me at all during the sessions and I was glad of it. Best 1000 bucks I've spent. I didn't use my gloves or my head sock. I didn't really sweat in the car at all although John was dripping in the Ferrari when he finished the last session.

The car was absolutely awesome. Handled very neutral, braked very well, did everything well. No need for upgrades at the moment for sure besides an obvious upgrade, me. I'm the weakest link and I will be for a long while. I didn't have trouble staying in my seats etc so upgrading to buckets has been put on the backburner. I'm also delaying upgrading the suspension etc, I'm not Porsche limited here. It's all me. So, I may head with John to a racing school like Skip Barber rather than spend another buck on the car.

Tiptronic is awesome on the track. I used it in manual mode and clicked down when under heavy braking and it delays the shift till it's safe and then it just does it with no interruption in traction. It shifts up automatically. I had a problem with the shift up as it is shifting a little to close to the rev limiter. So, sometimes the limiter would kick in as it shifted and I'd get a CEL at that point. After this happened a few times, the CEL stayed on. This screwed up my last session as it was hard to focus in a car with a CEL when you have to drive it 350 miles home that night. So, my last session was crap.

I brought the car to a factory mechanic who was there and he said it was the throttle position sensor which was out of alignment. So, I'm not so worried. I'll get it fixed. The CEL is out this morning.

One mad thing is my brakes. On the track they were awesome. Very good. But, last night and this morning they feel worn out. I'm wondering if it's just in my head. I mean, after using them on the track when they are very hot, they are awesome. When they are cold, they don't have the same bite. I guess I can't expect them to perform the same way as they do on the track on the road. I'll check the pads this week for wear.

The tires (Michelin Pilot Sports/2) worked very well, tons of grip for my level of driving and on my best session they got a little greasy towards the end but still very predicable and the car handles the same, it just drifted a little more.

The other thing is there were much less expensive cars there kicking ass. A dude in run group 2 in a mini cooper S was flying till he cooked his brakes. He was catching a C06 on the corners. There was also a guy in a Honda Civic with a claimed 1900lb weight and 132bhp at the wheels. He was leaving John in the Ferrari for dead on the straight and was very fast. Thats a cheap car for some major fun and just goes to show that a fun/dollar is not in Porsches favor. A cheap light car with a small motor but prepped for a track is a ton of fun and a lot less expensive to start in and fix when you whack it.

Overall, it was awesome. The Great Plains PCA did a great job and I really liked the track as a first track. I'll try to do it as often as they hold it next year. I'll do Brainerd in September with Nordstern but will probably be taking it easy on the long straights and instead just focus on the infield corners. A lot of concrete in BIR...

August 15, 2005 | Permalink


It's nice

Posted by: fish_hfd | Jun 30, 2007 9:00:22 AM

hi. nice blog.

Posted by: robert | Jul 5, 2007 3:23:55 PM

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