Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Riding in Couches and Other On-Track Activities

First a brief step.further back. Last weekend I was with TrackDaze on Shenandoah at Summit Point Motorsports Park.  Since they know I have spent most of my tack time driving our Rabbit.they like to stick me in any Volkswagens. Thing is they didn't notice that one of the VWs they put me in was driven by my wife.   I had been previously told to never instruct my wife but her and I decided it would be a fun experience so we gave it a shot. It actually turned out really well and she got a check ride and sign off (by another instructor) to advance to the blue group with TrackDaze.

Following that I was at Watkins Glen Wednesday and Thursday. I had never driven The Glen and first thing I had learn the line myself. Thanks to some resources another instructor had plus doing some lead follow during the first.instructor session I knew enough to get my student around track safely and on the line.

For those two days my student was driving a 2010 Jaguar XK Sedan. Per usual I drove his car for the first two laps. We aren't allowed to flog the students car.around the track so I was driving fairly conservatively causing a bit of tire squeal as I went around but pushing the car hard. Well turns out that my definition of taking it easy was different than my student's comfort level when he was driving. Because the tires hard made a noise going around the track.  It was nice though because it was a nice comfortable heated seat trip around the track on two moderately cold days. My student improved a lot across the two days and most importantly stayed safe and had fun. Through those two days I also picked up a lot of speed myself as I became better aclimated to the track.  The Glen is an incredible track and if you ever have the chance I highly recommend you go there.  Wednesday night we were even out f like grilling, and drinking beer, bourbon and scotch as we unwound from the day and were.celebrating the end of another good.season of driving with Hooked On Driving Northeast Region.

From The Glen I headed south,  but not to my house. Summit Point was in.need of more instructors for the Friday at the Track the following day. After arranging a place to stay Thursday night we headed down there, crashed for a few hours and we were back at the track.

A Mustang and Mercedes C series parked next to us in the paddock.  The husband I. The Mustang had been to multiple events but his wife.had never driven on track. I immediatly grabbed her as a student for the 1A run group.  Had I not grabbed her as a student I would have grabbed the MkVI VW GTI that was there.  I ended up without a 1B student but had a 2i student in a Mazda Speed 3. The event ended up being in the rain so I was happy I.had switched to the (crappy) street tires on my BMW. The day was largely a car control clinic on track with limited traction most of the day with my group 1 student learning a bit about how the car feels when it slides and my group 2 student working on throttle control to deal with the lack of traction.

When I took my group 1 student out (who had already done a session on the skid pad) the backend of the BMW kept trying to come around and one time I had to make a correction 2 hole doing about 50mph. This somewhat surprised my student because she didn't realize that the same car control techniques they teach on the skid pad at 30mph work at highway speeds. While it wasn't my intention to do a skid pad session on track it was good car control practice and a good teaching moment for my student.

All said and done, in 7 days I spent 5 days on track on three different tracks across 3 FWD, 2 RWD and 1.AWD vehicle (including my RWD BMW track car). At least most of the students had a good.time and learned.some things about their car and its capailities.. With 8 days left on track this year I hope to end the year on a high note. Maybe even dragging a few more people out to the track!