Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dub Deliverance and Friday at the Track

This was originally just going to be a status update, then I realized it was getting REALLY long and had some good information to share with a wider audience.

Exhausting weekend.  Friday I had students in two of the three run groups and during Dub Deliverance I was instructing in nine of the on-track sessions.  I will start with Dub Deliverance and then double back to Friday at the Track.

Dub Deliverance is a great event run by TrackDaze and sponsored by VWAPR and NGP Racing.  This is a great event for anyone who wants a cheap track day because thanks to the sponsorship it is only $55 for participants.  Such a good deal that I was originally going to enjoy my time as a participant, but they needed more instructors and I have this flaw that makes me volunteer to help.  Somewhat sorry I did because I was run ragged on Saturday.

First I was in-car instructing a VW Employee around track in a MkVII Golf TSI (1.8T engine) that had some R bits and pieces on it (most notably, brakes).  I really like the styling of the new golf, although if that car had been a manual it would have made it more suitable for the track (The auto won't let you stay in the power band as easily).  Adding the APR 1.8T software probably would have made that even better, although it is not officially released for the MkVII yet, but I don't think the MkVII Golf (as opposed to the GTI) is in dealership lots yet.  The traction control REALLY didn't like the carousel constantly clamping the brakes as we went around it.

After that session I got a break (Because I wasn't back in time to hop in a Blue group car anyway) but then come green, I was in a MkV R32.  First ever time on track for that guy (and it turns out he was three spots down from us in the paddock).  Even though there weren't assigned instructors, I worked with him in ever run he did that day because I prefer the consistency.  (He skipped one session to let his friend use the car since his friend couldn't get his car ready for the track)  In the second and third blue group sessions I went out with Nate from NGP and helped him with the line on a couple parts of the course. I also instructed one of the cars in the second VW Employee session (Same driver, this time a MkVII GTI).

The MkVII GTI had nice power and was a manual.  The only problem with that car was it had completely stock GTI brakes and the driver who took it out the first session REALLY worked them so they started to fade about half way through the session and we had to pull it in.  The same problem happened with my green students R32, his brakes were still stock and his last run of the day he had to pull off early due to fade.  The very last session of the day for green/blue combined I ended up riding with a different student (despite REALLY wanting a break and wanting to start packing up) but he was a more passive driver (who still needed constant direction around the track, but at least he wasn't trying to drive into the hairpins 20 mph too fast or anything.  After that I was so wiped out I skipped my last track session and just loaded up the car.

Chrissy was also driving the car through the day in blue group but I will let her summarize her experience if she so chooses.  I also took the car out in two yellow sessions to get myself some extra track time, unfortunately, one had a bad start.  My brakes are sometimes a little inconsistent when cold, but they seemed to have enough heat in them from the other turns I went into leading up to the carousel.  Unfortunately, they weren't quite warm enough and I ended up hitting the carousel a little fast.  The car bounced a bit, slid up the hill, my skid plate scraped along the rim and I was shot out into the grass headed straight towards the tire wall. (see video below)  Fortunately I was still slow enough, especially with the added friction from scraping against the concrete, to avoid the wall.  And that was the second time that weekend I was four off (I was only driving one of the two times though, more on that later).

Now for Friday at the Track.  In Group 1A I picked a student in a MkV GTI who I had met at a previous Friday at the Track.  He was a great student who took instruction well and improved through the day.  He still needs to work on his threshold braking and cleaning up his line a bit in the back section.  For Group 1B I ended up working with three different students.  An E46 325i, a supercharged BRZ and for a very brief period, an Evo MR.  The Evo was a check-ride.  Another instructor had given him straight fives for two sessions straight and I was checking him to move him up to group 2i for the next event.  I told him I was just going to observe and only intervene if needed.  He didn't break hard enough for turn 10 on main.  At that point there isn't anything you can do because if you brake going into the turn you end up on the inside wall.  As we were starting to head out in to the graven, I just started yelling "Straight straight straight" so we didn't catch the front wheels and either roll the car or dart towards the inner wall.  The car started to slow in the gravel but one of the ruts in the sand jerked the wheel a bit so we started wiggling across track.  Once we were in the inner grass he gained just enough traction to gradually steer it away from the wall and we missed the tires at pit exit by about 2 feet.

So, we pulled into the pits, talked about it and talked to the pit control and headed back out planning on taking it slower.  He went a couple more laps, but had to pull it in after feeling a vibration and just parked it for the rest of the event.  He was actually much more shaken by it than I was (I was eerily calm during the whole thing).  His line also was sloppy when I was in the car with him so I think maybe nerves got to him knowing it was a check-ride.  So, I didn't put him forward.  So...that was my Friday and Saturday, how was yours?

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