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Street Survival - Portland, OR

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Ken.S.330, Mar 10, 2014.

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    My son attended the Street Survival Course at Portland International Raceway yesterday in the rain. It was my idea not his. He is a reluctant driver, we had to push him to get his permit, push to have him take his driving test and he will defer to anyone else who wants to drive. He is happy to be a passenger instead of a driver. When we got there they did a brake exercise then they drove over to a simple slalom. He was tentative and held back in all 3 runs. I told him to be more aggressive and to make mistakes, this was the place to do it and explore the limits of the car, you won't know what the limit is until you exceed it.

    They did a classroom session then out for the second driving session, threshold braking and turning. Then they drove to the other side of the paddock and did an abrupt lane change with a 4 cone slalom. Well he took my advise to heart and was really laying into the throttle and brakes. On the second of 3 runs he knocked over his first cone in the turn and brake drill. As he started the abrupt lane maneuver he was really moving through the lane change and the tail started to step out and he took out a couple of cones, then he headed toward the slalom cones, he over-corrected and now had a tank slapper going. He fought but is was no use the tail was wagging the dog and he looped it to a standing ovation of the parents and volunteers. His third run was much cleaner and he only took out 2 of the slalom cones.

    The best part was when he came in and he and his instructor were talking. The instructor asked him what happened and he went on to explain how he lifted off the throttle and turned causing the weight to shift to the front wheels and unload the rears causing the tail to step out. He went on saying that once that happened he over-corrected and tail started to act like a pendulum. He said that after the 2nd time he knew it was going to come back but he did not give up. I was impressed that he was able to explain in detail and could feel what the car was doing.

    Another classroom session was followed with an autocross like course linking all the previous skills together going up and back on the paddock. He would take out a few more cones but was getting better. We were told that this would be the end of the day but as the autocross was wrapping up the clouds opened up and it started to rain hard. The organizers were thrilled and quickly put together a couple of skidpads and had the students back in the cars. The instructors were yanking on the hand brakes to give the students a feel for over-steer in FWD cars. There was one Crown Vic that would go from grinding under-steer to tail out over-steer when the willing student would punch the throttle.

    On the way home I asked him what he thought of the day and he said that he felt much more comfortable as a driver now. To me that was all I could have hoped for. If you have a young driver I can't recommend Street Survival enough.

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