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Mrs. Bee Goes For Higher Education - 2012 Atlanta Motorsports Park Drivers School!

Discussion in 'Driving Schools' started by mrsbee, Sep 12, 2012.

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    mrsbee

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    My parents we never the type to really push me to achieve my maximum potential. Of course, when it came time to go to college, I put myself through as much as I could financially and had to quit. I spent a bunch of money learning to conjugate verbs into Spanish and how to identify different larval stages of bugs, not exactly my dream college career.

    Well, here is my second chance for higher education-The Audi Club Of Georgia is hosting a three day driving school, and I'll be in attendance.

    "As this is a safety seminar, not a racing school, overly aggressive
    or reckless driving will result in expulsion without refund from the event and suspension from future
    events. High performance driving is all about learning to control the car, and not having the car control
    you. It is about concentration and vision. And it is about familiarity with your car, its responses to your
    inputs, and your reactions to its responses. It is NOT about racing, and this is NOT a racing school. The school is about safety, control, and enjoying your car."

    Anybody else going? Anybody else been to something similar?
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    MGarrison

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    Nah, you'd _never_ see myself or Satch or C.R. or, or... at anything like that, anytime over the last 25 years... or 30... or more... ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqg3YWFA5nw

    You may discover by the end of the weekend that you find yourself offering up the same comment as that of so many other also first-time enthusiast-drivers... "This is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!" :p

    Of course, your next driver's school will have to be a BMWCCA-run school y'know, but we understand we can't keep ALL the fun to ourselves! ;) Besides, also being German, you know them Audi folks also know how to do it up right - make sure you have plenty of brake pad, that's a mighty long high-speed straight before you have to haul it down to 'bout 'nuthin for the back-straight chicane, so maybe take along an extra set. Have a great time, it'll be fun!
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    CRKrieger

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    We taught them how to do it.
    • Member

    mrsbee

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    I've got an open mind and certainly a toe tapping approach. For this sum of money I had better leave there with petrol surging through my veins and a smile that is so plastered on I'll need some sort of death in the family to remove it.

    Wait...
    F
    Improper approach and mind set.

    This experience should be an introduction into how to even more properly respect my ultimate driving machine. Besides that, it'll be an awesome time to show those Audi blokes what a real machine can do.

    I'm a bit intimidated by the whole thing, I am expecting to be in the gender minority. The autocross that sandlapper chapter put on a few months back was dominated by the beardos. There might have been two other females that were behind a wheel, and a few that were giggling passengers.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Peruse this forum section and read through a number of the threads, that will give you more of an idea what to expect. If that spurs additional questions, you might have to rely on others besides myself, CR, or Satch for a bit... at least until we get back from O'Fest!

    As Yoda would say: Intimidated, be you, not; time good, have, will you! ;)
    • Member

    mrsbee

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    Alright, another question.

    What do you feel about getting the optional extra insurance for track day? Is it something that I should consider seeing as how its not a "racing school" and a "driving school"?
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Well... for your first driver's school ever, I'd say consider it. Road Atlanta is one of the great tracks in the country, but, there are certainly places where a mistake can end up being a problem with potential for damage. Even though it's typically unlikely that anything happens other than you learning a whole bunch, using up some brake pad, and enjoying the whole process, if anything were to happen, having some insurance to cover/assist repairs is a whole lot better than none.

    On another note, you may want to consider a helmet/neck support -

    http://www.racerpartswholesale.com/product/GForceHelmetSupport/GForceVisorsHelmetSupportsAccessories
    http://www.racerpartswholesale.com/product/ImpactRacingHelmetSupport/VisorsHelmetSupports
    http://www.racequip.com/helmetsupportcollars.html
    http://www.profoxracing.com/helmet-supports.html
    • Member

    mrsbee

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    I guess I should have been more clear. The track day is at Atlanta Motorsports Park, which has been explained to me as being a new-ish track with lots of run off areas. I was thinking about the investment of the insurance just in case (plus, I'm sharing the car with the other Bee, I can't account for how tenderly he'll drive the tard). I also thought about taking that same money and investing it into performance brakes. After the autocross they were a bit tired, and well, I'd like an extra cloak of safety.

    What are the benefits of using a neck collar? I have my motorcycle helmet (Shoei Qwest) and am very comfortable in it, although this will be my first experience driving a CAR with a helmet on. Would you recommend me driving around the nursery a couple of hot times and see the comfort level of the helmet without the collar?

    http://www.atlantamotorsportspark.com/events/audi-club-na-audi-club-of-georgia-oct-12-14/
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    mrsbee

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    MGarrison

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    You were plenty clear, I just saw Atlanta and defaulted to thinking Road Atlanta (tell us how the track is when you guys get back!).

    Presumably the Audi folks have a recommended pre-tech check-list for you, among that likely is the requirement that brake fluid be flushed within 6 mos. of the event (brake fluid should be changed/flushed every two years anyway). If your brakes got hot/mushy pedal at the other event, it could be a good idea to get fresh brake fluid in there. Most of us driving on-track with any regularity use something with a higher dry boiling point than regular ol' DOT-4 fluid. ATE Super-Blue is popular, I use Motul RBF 600. Tech forms usually specify minimum brake pad thickness, typically at least 1/2 of full thickness, you may want to start with a full set of pads (and take an extra set of fronts for sure, and since you're both driving, perhaps rears too). Or, be prepared to change pads somewhere mid-event. It would suck to lose out on track time because you ran out of pad.

    After that, you start getting into stainless brake lines, bigger brake kits with calipers/rotors/pads ($$$), and/or air ducting to help cool the brakes. Money on making sure your brakes are up to snuff is never wasted though, there is nothing more panic-inducing than not being able to stop.

    The neck support does just that - you'll be subject to side-loading g's while in a relatively vertical position, and you have several extra pounds on your head; it helps alleviate some of the strain on neck muscles through turns (which is also tiring, and fatigue can affect your driving), and offers some additional protection for your neck/collarbone in case of an accident. If you're making budget considerations, it's not a must-have, but it is nice to add into the mix. I'd spend money on brakes first. ;)

    These are pretty nifty as well for stock belts, but if you have electric seats, you can use the seat belt's inertia-lock to get you well-snugged into the seat.

    http://www.cg-lock.com/autocross.html

    Make sure your helmet meets whatever Snell rating is required for the event, doublecheck, but probably minimum SA2005. Suit yourself for doing some driving with the helmet, I think the thing to get used to for most is having a helmet on one's head, to which you're already accustomed.

    Mid October... might be tempted... always fun to get to a brand-new track.......
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    steven s

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    Let us know how how it goes.
    I love new tracks but wonder if my car will cut the noise restrictions.
    • Member

    mrsbee

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    I sure will, it's less than a week away and sadly I can't seem to concentrate on much else. In printed out all eleven pages of rules and regulation, which in all seriousness just seems like eleven pages of common sense. Although, I guess not everybody has the luxury of having any at all.

    I am a bit bummed out though about the whole foot ware thing. No heels?! Gee whiz, and I thought I was going to a fashion show (common sense stuff like that)

    I am confident that the one will do incredibly on this track. After watching a couple of videos (yes, I know that make me far from proficient in track knowledge) it seems like a great track for a tight little car like the one. I just hope the driver doesn't let the car down.

    I hear (no pun intended) that the noise limitations are pretty strict, seeing as how they advertise themselves on being this country club type setting, but I'm also guessing that if you were to bleeds in with the rest the pack and maybe coast a lot you might make it in
    :-D
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    steven s

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    Stock exhausts will have no problem with noise.
    The rules are common sense but I'm sure there are some things that drivers never considered.

    Be sure not to use your e-brake.

    It's debatable whether a neck collar is of any use. Probably not with an open face helmet.
    It may restrict your head from moving back and forth in the unlikely event of an incident.
    It really depends on the foam density. I stopped using one years ago.

    There are generally no scouts in the paddock, so don't worry about that contract.
    Two drivers in one car can be a workout for a car.
    When is the last time you replaced the brake fluid? And with what?
    Monitor your brake pads.

    No heels? That does seem to be a bit restrictive.
    How else can those with a clutch pedal heel and toe?
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    mrsbee

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    (Steven, how did I not meet you last week at the dinner anyways?)

    E brake? I can't say I've ever used that in a non parking situation. I will remind myself that it's off limits on the track. As far as the neck ring goes, I guess this will be my green run. If I need one, I can find one I'm sure.

    I do have a VERY novice question, they market this as a driving school NOT a race school. What should I expect, low speed maneuvering and parallel parking pointers?
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    steven s

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    I was sitting a few tables away from you with office staff. :)

    I don't know about Audi schools and I'm sure they vary from region to region just as CCA schools vary from chapter to chapter. Some organizations might have special exercises in the first session for first timers but not many. They may had slaloms, threshold braking exercises.

    I don't think you'll be doing any low speed speed although a good instructor will gradually bring you up to speed (no pun intended). Emphasis will be on vision, entry and exit in turns. Smooth transition from gas to brake. Smooth steering input. Keeping your hands on the wheel in the same position. Vehicle dynamics or weight transfer. It's not about going fast but how your car reacts to different inputs and road conditions.

    Leave all those preconceived notions of driving at the gate.
    For me my first DE was very overwhelming. Lots of new terms that I didn't quite understand yet.
    A big thing is proper communication with your instructor. If he/she uses a term you don't understand, don't wait until your debrief after your session to understand what was meant.

    Drink plenty of liquids.

    And this (something that I regret not doing) keep a log of every event.
    Track, weather conditions, tire pressures.
    Name of instructor. Things that went well, things that didn't. What to work on next time.
    MrsBee likes this.
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    MGarrison

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    Keeping a log is an excellent suggestion.

    I slid into a tire wall almost full-on sideways at a relatively high speed; even though the tires soaked up a huge amount of the energy, my head still snapped sideways. I thought for sure my neck was going to be sore as hell the next day - my neck brace is just a foam ring, not too big or dense, but whatever it did it helped, the next day my neck felt fine. That's why I'm an advocate. I now wear a HANS in my car, and I still wear the neck brace, for the lateral support. True that a neck brace won't limit any chin-down motion with an open-face helmet.

    Steven meant not to use your E-brake after coming off the track (sometimes folks have the habit of pulling up the parking brake immediately every time they park). Your rear brake rotors will be hot - pulling on the parking brake when they're hot puts you at risk of having the parking brake shoes bonding themselves to the hot rotors, and uh, well, it might take some doing to get rolling again. Spare yourself the potential risk, shut off the engine and leave it in gear (consider wheel chock(s), and if you chock your wheels, don't forget to pull them before you get in the car and try to drive off).
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    mrsbee

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    "Captains Log - Four Days and Counting" Something like that?

    Although I'm not the most proficient driver, I guess I shouldn't go into this being totally green, so all of your input is incredibly helpful. I have a great tendency to over think things, which tends to lead to slow response times. I'm going to have to figure out a way to work a little more off the cuff and not so much plan for an exact situation to respond to IE: the tire wall is fast approaching--then stop and think "Hmmm...I don't remember talking about that in class"

    I just keep telling myself "its just a car, they're MEANT to do stuff like this". I'm lucky enough that the E-Brake wasn't really in my frontal lobe going into this, but that is a very handy (no pun intended, again) tip. Little things like that may seem instinctual to seasoned track persona but to me its all new. I should really give a little cred to the instructors, whom will probably want to stay out of the tire wall JUST AS MUCH as I do.

    What I did learn, from the one autocross that I did do, is to just be natural with the car. I found myself trying to fight with it a couple of times, and keep my hands firmly in one position on the wheel (no shuffle).Long story short, I drove a car for almost 70,000 miles (that car went through hell and back, best 100 bucks I ever spent) that pulled to the right, this lead me to develop a driving style of keeping my hands at a slight 11-4 configuration. Its been hard to break that, but I'm slowly doing so.
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    MGarrison

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    I'm pretty sure I would have mentioned this in other threads about driving school tips - but - I find an inspection mirror handy for being able to check remaining brake pad thickness without having to pull wheels. If you have wheels with enough room between spokes, an inspection mirror, a flashlight, and a little maneuvering, should get you a good look at how your brake pads are holding up between sessions.

    http://www.sears.com/search=inspect...5&autoRedirect=true&redirectType=CAT_REC_PRED

    http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=inspection mirror
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    steven s

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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    A track school is nothing but an applied physics lab. While we can spend hours explaining chassis dynamics, friction circles, slip angles, weight transfer, and drift vectors, it takes some practice to absorb these things as reality. The goal is to assimilate the knowledge in such a way that proper application becomes your instinct, instead of what you have to do DESPITE your instincts!

    Most places I have instructed emphasize the Three C's: Control, Comfort, and Consistency. Everything else---like speed---is a byproduct. You must be able to Control your car---put it where you want it to be---and be Comfortable as you apply the physics. (Instant positive feedback: It went where I pointed it!) Hit your marks Consistently, lap after lap, and you will not only have fun, but you will gain confidence---that Comfort thing again.

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