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September 30, 2005

Drivers Education with Nordstern at Brainerd

Finished novice day today. Nodstern organized the day. When we saw the schedule on arrival I didn't think I'd enjoy the braking and slalom but was pleasantly surprised when we started. It was a lot of fun.

We did the usual classroom sessions and the morning was a couple of slow sessions with threshold braking exercises and slalom runs with cones. The slalom was great fun. You can really throw the car around and the trick with the C4 is don't lift, keep on the gas. If you lift, you rotate. So, I'd start pretty fast and then increase my speed continuously through the cones. I was trying to spin the car but unless you lift when it's getting out there then the car is absolutely amazing. PSM didn't even come on. Course, the trick is timing the rate you increase speed and how long the course is but it was fun and I got some cheers and killed a couple of cones. I wouldn't have minded more slalom work to tell the truth, it's a lot of fun.

The afternoon was more classroom sessions and then 4 x 30 minute lap sessions with the instructor. I was blowing a lot of the corners and getting the odd one right every now and then. I was turning in way too early and when I turned in nice and late, I wasn't turning in sharply enough and the missed the apex anyway. It's going to take a long time to get 'good' at this. Brainerd can be a scary circuit, turn 1 is nuts and the right guy (i.e. Gary Curtis from DonnyBrook) can go in at 155 and exit at 165 but not this Irish man. I got it up to around 140 (why not faster? I messed up the turn before the straight) just before turn 1 but then braked to enter it at around 115 and exit at 108/109 which is plenty fast for me given the consequences of screwing up, i.e. go airborne and exit the park!

Turn 2 needs a lot of respect and I gave it plenty. I went around 95-100 through that and again, you can't screw it up as there's nowhere to go. John on his 3rd school here so he's at 145 on turn 1 and about 110 on turn 2  but I can't make myself do that yet, it's way above where I'm comfortable. Overall, it's a fun track and the C4 is a pretty safe car handling wise to go around. I'd make the point, this track is as dangerous as YOU want to make it. Slow down and try moving up in 5mph increments on corners to find your comfort point and then stay there until you can do 5 more but it's going to take a lot of laps.

The EBC RedStuff Ceramic pads work great on the track but as usual, on the way home they turn to crap when they have cooled after the day. My explorer brakes better than my 996 after a track day until I shock em again and wear them a little. They seem to stay crap on the road for a while until you wear them a little when they improve again. This is a real problem with the pads now so if you use em then be VERY careful when driving around after tracking them. A lot of dust today but thats expected.

Overall, enjoyed today, stayed within my limits, only managed to get the back out on a turn once but caught it. Car is awesome.

If you haven't done a drivers ed day then you're missing out. It's a very enjoyable way to learn to drive in a safe environment.

September 30, 2005 | Permalink

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