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Old 09-02-2008, 07:16 PM   #1
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Hooked on Porsches - Sep 18 - post event review

Update: review of the event - Hooked on Porsches @ Thunderhill in Willows, CA

The event was outstanding. They plan to host a day for Porsches only at least once per year, maybe twice. A lot of info about Hooked on Driving is available on their website, so here are comments specific to my observations as a participant.

First, they have their act together. Everything was on time; ran like a clock.

The layout of the track day is perfect. Slow parade laps to get the lay of the track, off track instruction to prep, two sessions on the track with coaches to learn how to approach the track, demo rides in the coaches' cars to see how they drive it, three more afternoon sessions on the track to continue to hone your line and increase your pace. Ideal for a beginner like me (first time on a track)... an hour and forty minutes of open track time spread across the day for each group. Also, with 3 miles of track and only about a dozen in my group, there was a lot of room out there. See the photo attached, coming down the hill from turn 9 (copyright Dito Milian www.gotbluemilk.com).

The coaches were great guys across the board. I heard a lot of positive comments from the other drivers. My experience was outstanding. My first coach (2 sessions) saw that I have decent skills from off-track experience (lots of driving on mountain roads), so he was pushing me hard to learn the line from the start. My second coach (1 session) didn't say as much and let me explore. He answered my questions and gave tips here and there. The two coaches suggested I should go solo the last two sessions to continue testing and refining my line and pushing my pace. (Just for reference, most of the beginners were not signed off for solo even in the last session... I think only 2 or 3 of us were. No bragging here... just want you to know what to expect.)

The demo rides (coaches drive) were a highlight of the day. I rode in a '93 911 Turbo with a custom engine over 600 HP, an '07 Carerra S with racing tires (stock otherwise), and an '05 Boxster S (identical to my car but with 19" wheels instead of 18"). Watching the coaches drive these cars was an absolute clinic. Each guy navigated each turn differently based on the strengths of his car. The absolute highlight was the Boxster S. In the hands of David Ray, the founder of HOD and an SCCA regional champion driver, it was a monster. He demonstrated just how amazing these mid-engined cornering machines really are, even running Yokohama street tires.

There were lots of cool Porsches there. My group of about a dozen had two GT3s, several 911s (didn't count the exact #), two Boxster S (including mine), and one Boxster. In other groups, there were a few GT3s, a GT2, lots of newer and older 911s, and a Cayman, a number of the cars with modifications. Walking around to see them and talk to their owners was fun at lunch and in between afternoon sessions.

Finally, a big cheer for my own Boxster S (100% stock, running PS2s). Most of the cars I was with had much more power, and that was obvious on the straights. But, in the final two sessions of the day I was never passed and was able to lap the other Boxsters and a few 911s within about 5-6 laps. While the driving is noncompetitive and it wasn't about "winning," it was very easy to drive the Boxster S fast and on line, even on a first track day. The brakes and the cornering are simply stellar, and the two times I significantly overcooked a turn, it didn't take a miracle to recover.

I highly recommend these guys for anyone looking to get some track experience. Safety was great, track management was great, coaching was great, even the food at lunch was pretty good.



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Just a heads up for anyone in or near Northern California. Hooked on Driving is hosting an event for Porsches on Sep 18 at Thunderhill. The HOD website currently shows availability in all levels. I will be attending courtesy of my wife, who bought me a spot (a rather nice birthday present this year).

If anyone is planning to attend, please post so that those of us from the board can hook up at the event.

You can find the event listing here:
http://www.hookedondriving.com/category.cfm?category=1

Jay


Last edited by Hops; 09-19-2008 at 11:41 PM. Reason: Update with new info
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:27 PM   #2
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Edits to the top...

A bump so my edits below get this thread back to unread...
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:04 PM   #3
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Looks like a hoot and a monster set of downhill turns!!
A bit of a ride from North Florida.........

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