Discussion in 'Driving Schools' started by steven s, Jul 29, 2010.
Every driving instructor's nightmare student.
I've had/heard a few conversations quite similar at HPDE events. The video is funny to those of us who understand but for those who don't it may seem like the Speed Pilot is actually being held up by those slow cars...
I have seen Miata drivers harrass, I mean catch... much higher powered cars in the turns and "punish" them for their straight line antics with 500+ HP. There is one driver I see a lot of BMW/PCA events that just embarrasses the GT 3 and Turbo drivers with a stock VW R32 with race rubber. The Porsches have close to double the power and less weight so it's pretty difficult to make excuses.
Thats how i drive my '02, flat out.
Well that is understandable with a little left foot braking. It's a good thing you don't have a 1001 hp Bugatti Veyron because we'd have to move you up to the fastest run group.
So where does the Veyron SS get put, with ~1200hp? The GOD run-group?
Its a timely reminder for me. Tomorrow I run my 318i at the SCCA's Thunderhill Raceway with a Hooked on Driving Corvette event (me: 140 hp: they: 440 hp).
Your video reminds me to run my own pace; don't compete, don't compare, don't fantasize: just drive. (... and use my rear view mirror.)
Even God can't afford a Veyron SS... Those cars are reserved for the Bill Gates of the world. They have a special profiler run group for those people. The park in the paddock all day and walk around in their designer driver's suit. They aren't actually allowed on track.
Learning and having safe fun is the name of the game. None of the F1 teams are looking for new drivers this week, so it's OK to just have a wonderful time. Vette's can handle well and have a lot of torque/HP by comparison but doing a turn well is what road courses are all about. The drag strip is for power runs.
I've done that instructor thing, but it was with my old Audi 4K Quattro with 110 hp. Sharing the track with some novices (or maybe intermediates?), I watched a pair of Mitsubishi 3000GTs walk away from me up and down Road America's front and back straights. Then, from Five to Fourteen, I caught them ... I think it was in the Carousel. Several laps in a row.
This reminds me of the "old days" of track events. Back in the 1982 at the Walter Mitty Challenge at Road Atlanta, they had open track sessions for non-vintage cars. The Peachtree chapter joined the Ferrari, Maserati, Lambo, and Jaguar clubs and hosted the event. Brian Redman led the driver's meetings. Anyway there was a guy there with a Countach that I caught up to in turn 5 in the first session, first day, and he would not point me by. On the back straight, he would disappear. As you can imagine soon a monster train was forming behind him.
At the end of the session, a number of us went and reported this dude, but in the 2nd session guess what happened? Another huge train formed behind this dude. I was about 4th back when I saw Tom Wyatt coming up behind me. I pointed Tom by, he passed the others in front of me on the straight between turn 5 and 6 and was then pasted to the tail of the Lambo.
Once on the back straight, Tom laid waste to the Countach. When Tom pitted at the end of session, it seemed like everyone there crowed around his car. Tom was the founder of Turbo Tom's in Atlanta in the mid-70's. He was in his baby blue Datsun 510 that day, and the Countach driver couldn't believe how fast he was left in the dust. Tom custom built an incredible turbo engine with his custom suck-through Holley 750 4bbl, pressurized water injection, and a three stage NOS system. The car weighed about 1700lbs and was a wicked street car in its day.
Perhaps the Countach guy would have said that he "let Tom pass since he knew he was going to crash or explode". Of course Tom had a lot of road race experience running in the IMSA RS sedan series early days...
Tom was a great guy and later was big in turbo kit airplane engine world. He built an awesome engine for my Capri in the late 70's. Sadly, he was killed in a wreck on I-285 in Atlanta about five years ago. I'd post some pictures of his 510 but not in this thread.
No such drama in my group although after the first session I tactfully "thanked" one driver who (finally) pointing me by. It was cordial. Many times, I had the" track to myself" so I was holding my own. I ran in an "intermediate" level group. Didn't tire out my left "point by" arm too badly.
Can't say enough good things about Instructors. Asked for a coach for the first session. Was assigned a sponsored, licensed E30 racer who could both teach and knew what my car could do (full throttle through turn turn 4 and 5A??!!!!). Invited him back for as much as he could stand. Made me a much, much more skilled driver. It was amazing.
I don't know your experience level, so how many track days do you have and how many at Thunderhill?
Not enough to go without a coach, but I need to be moved to the fastest group. Second time on Thunderhill.
You can only be moved up if your car has 600+ HP, cost over $100K and you drive flatout.
Are you able to request an instructor (or coach) when registering?
I think this is one of the big differences between for profit 'so called schools' and volunteer based such as CCA.
Glad you didn't have this HOD instructor.
Actually, my experiences with HOD have been very positive. They do have a lot more emphasis on "making your own judgements" (self-tech'ed cars, convertibles allowed in some groups etc), but they still seem to have a strong emphasis on safety and education. They make the black flag both a stigma and a threat. They visibily monitor individual behavior via spotters with radios. They have good debrief sessions, with an earnest effort to make participants better drivers. These debriefs are equal to those of the CCA.
Regarding requesting an instructor/coach, it was a bit more ad hoc. There was a "comment box" which I indicated I wanted a coach. As you queue in the paddock, the hot pit czar comes by and asks everyone if they want a instructor, so there is a second chance there. Not sure how I got "the perfect match", but it sure clicked. Instructors are compulsory for newbies.
OK, despite the risk of coming across in a similar way to the student in the fictional youtube video (if misunderstood), I will nevertheless make the following comment:
a combination of decent "track skills", especially vision and trajectory, inherited from my motorcycle times, combined to a high HP and very able car ('08 M3) that makes you a better driver than what you really are => it was actually challenging for me to be in the beginners group. Indeed, there was often such a difference of speed with most of the other cars, even during my very first track day, that I often ended up behind either trains of slower cars or drivers who do not give the point by. This led me to having laps where I can only drive at 3 or 4/10th and then, if the track opens, I have a chance to get to 8/10th or more...and that is actually where I really learn and of course I was not smooth... Luckily, all my instructors realized this and without me asking, moved me in the intermediate group where the skills and HP are much more homogeneous... and where I really learned much much more!
Of course the youtube student is a totally different story....
I think I'd prefer to be in the "common sense" group than the...
..."more MONEY than sense group."
Case in point is that my current car is a 296 hp 750iL. Its powertrain is completely stock, and it has extremely impressive performance numbers for a 4200 pound car (0-60 in 7.8 seconds, and an electronically limited top speed of 155 miles an hour). Is it fast? Hell yes. Would it be my first choice for an HPDE event? As a beginner -- Hell NO.
Give me my previous car for that -- my late 1981 320i. This car had 108 hp and a 5-speed manual transmission. Again it's completely stock with no mods. It doesn't have the flash or the speed of my 750, but I can have 100 percent of the same amount of fun as I would in the larger, heavier, faster car.
The smaller 320i would make a much better track car than the 750 with only one third the 750's horsepower and only two thirds of its top speed. 2500 pound 320i vs the 4200 pound 750. The 320i, any day of the week.
If a Chief Instructor doesn't know you, they need to start you somewhere. It is not uncommon to move up or down after a session or two.
I've seen people in my rungroups (A/B) who were moving chicanes. Slower than me in the corners and esses. Uncomfortable with cars closing in but fast in the straights. Probably just overwhelmed with everything going on. Too much HP, not enough skill and confidence.
You just described my everyday commute. I was rather hoping that HPDEs would be better.
At least the whole beverage/telecommunication/entertainment/personal grooming category of impediments to smooth driving is absent on the track...isn't it?
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