NER’s final DE of the season took place September 23-25th at Palmer Motorsports Park (our home track). This time we went counter-clockwise as god intended. Your loyal scribe (the job is called “DE Crier” like “Town Crier”) was there only on Friday (he is on the PUP list) but his spies filled in the details of the whole weekend.
Friday, the day I attended, was for signed off drivers only and featured two special training exercises plus a classroom on proper passing technique. The purpose of these exercises was to get people comfortable driving off line, handling late passes and passing in the corners.
The first exercise involved pairing up drivers who then drove the course at 50-70% speed but side by side maintaining a distance of no less than 4 feet between them: the inside car would hit each apex but will not track out at all. The car on the outside would stay wide at the apex and maintain the 4-6 feet distance between the two cars.
The other exercise, also with drivers paired up, was taking late passes. Again cars were paired up but now with one in front and the other trailing. The front car would give a late point by (late meaning towards the end of each straight). As usual, the car giving the point would stay on line and the car taking the pass would go off line. Typically, that means the overtaking car is on the inside of the turn. Because the pass is late, the overtaking car will hit the apex and then stay tight to the inside of the track. Once the overtaking car can clearly see the other car in their rear view or side view mirror and verify there is plenty of room, they can get back on line. The car being overtaken stays wide of the apex.
All of those I spoke with thought the exercises were well designed and useful. Thanks to Dave Berman and Charlie Kenney for putting this together.
As usual your Crier chatted with (and probably bored to tears) a number of participants in order to get some human interest stories. Oddly enough all of these involved folks not driving Porsches. Eric referred to his Corvette as “a poor man’s GT3” and I think he may have a good point. Brand disloyalty aside he was very complimentary of the organization of our events, saying they were better managed and organized than DE’s by other clubs.
Ana, who drives a track prepped VW GTI, seconded Eric’s comments. She has been doing DE’s for three years and has moved up the ranks quickly – was getting check out rides for promotion to Black. She particularly felt our educational work (classrooms, the training exercises, run group system) separated our program from others, particularly the SCCA Track Nights in America which lacked our structure.
As a BMW E36 driver, I had to drool over Christophe’s heavily modified example (engine from an E46 among other goodies). He also was highly complimentary of our DE program (although I suspect he showed his heels to a few GT3 and GT4 drivers). He runs with other PCA regions and likes us best.
And certainly one of the highlights of the weekend was our club’s participation in the Just Hands Foundation program (https://justhands.org/.) As per their website…
“The Just Hands Foundation will give anyone who uses hand controls to drive (usually people in wheelchairs) the opportunity to get on to a track with an instructor!!
Few (if any?) sports give the disabled the opportunity to compete with the rest of the world. Yes, we can ski, do marathons, play basketball, and myriad other sports. But unfortunately we are held to a small group we can compete against. More so, options like arrive-and-drive and racing schools only have pedal cars.
Motorsports makes everyone equal, no matter what appendages you use to drive!!”
Just Hands brought a car for Carol to drive. With support of the “pit crew,” Carol was able to drive a 2015 Cayman for her first event. With the help of Kristin as her instructor, she was driving consistent laps by midday on Sunday. The smile at the end of each run session says it all.
Finally, the mandatory dog picture – our ambulance crew from National Ambulance (thank you for your service and thankfully you were not needed!) Brie and Liz with the Binder’s dog Blue.