The DE Crier Report: Calabogie Is Around the Corner!

What will you be doing over the Fourth of July?  How about a special DE at Calabogie?  This will not be a normal DE:  solo drivers only (yellow with permission), tons of track time, special exercises, more education and lots of socializing!  Go here to read the full description and how to sign up!  You have until March 25th to sign up but don’t wait too long!

What, you are still reading this? I guess you need some convincing. Well one of the key bennies of this event is that there is a resident Calabogie coach who will be helping for the full event – same nice guy as last two years, Francis Marquis. I figured why not see what he had to say so we zoomed. If you want to watch the full half-hour feel free to take off again and go here. But let me tell you a few highlights.

To begin with Francis’ background is that he started with the Ottawa BMW club before becoming a lead Calabogie coach with particular involvement with DE.  In his words, “So some of my upbringing as a driver is through clubs, not that dissimilar from PCA.”  In other words, he gets us.  And not much question about his knowledge of the track – he admits to being there 2-3 days a week plus 2-3 weekends a month. Or here, watch him hustle what looks to be a pretty stock BMW E36 M3 on Hankooks around Calabogie. Francis’ personal race car is a BMW E30 but he said if money was no object he’d have a Cayman – he has driven Base to GT4 Clubsport and loves them all. A man after my heart, eh?

Francis will go right seat, lead follow or take you for a demo ride to get up to speed. I asked him how many different cars he had been in and he guessed close to 200. But in addition to the in car work, Francis was (and will be) involved in paddock briefings at the track map, a track walk (he said we asked good questions) and a “lunch and learn” (last year was about how to interpret driving issues by looking at tire wear). And maybe a virtual track walk in advance of the event or some sim work (Calabogie is on Assetto Corsa).

Also, you gotta love Francis for saying such nice things about us: “The people are really nice, tight knit.  People are keen, want to learn. They are engaging with one another – there is a camaraderie, a strong social aspect that stood out. It’s not every club that has this to the level I’ve seen with PCA NER.”

Enough about us – we know we’re nice, what about the track?  According to Francis:  “What is special about the track is the mix of features:  there is elevation change, blind corners, decreasing radius, increasing radius. And it’s all concentrated – 20 corners in a 3 mile track.  There’s a lot of corners, there’s a lot of stuff happening, and it’s challenging.” Francis likened sessions at Calabogie to practices before games: “You’re in a boot camp, you’re in a workout…it’s focused work.  So when you get back to your own track you find time or speed in your driving.”

Well at this point we were about halfway through the video so I asked Francis to describe accommodations and recreation in the area around the track just in case there was a trailing spouse. Francis shared his screen and took me around the area including on and off track details plus places to visit – go to about the 15 minute mark and watch as that will do a better job than I can. Also, Francis put in a plug for renting one of their racecars if you want to save wear on your own. I’d check with the track if interested, but per the website, it looks like you could rent a nicely prepared Toyota GR86 for under US$1,000 a day.  Another final note – there is an auto shop onsite and I believe you could order tires at a good price and have them installed.

So this is a not-to-be-missed event for you dedicated Track Rats.  But note that we must have at least 30 drivers signed up by March 25th or the event will not take place.  Go now and register!  And remember Adam’s promise…”At the Calabogie event, every driver will get more track time than they will know what to do with!”

  • Bill “Father Time” Seymour