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Old 10-25-2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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First time at the track

Just had my first track experience with the Box this past weekend. Wow, I never knew. Thought it'd be like "spirited" back roads driving, speeded up a bit. Not in the least...it's a whole 'nother ballgame.

Nothing fancy, Nelson Ledges in NE Ohio (Nelson Ledges Road Course near Cleveland Ohio Sports Car and Motorcycle Road Racing), but it's really good times over a 2-mile course. Technically, wasn't "competitive" (a "Track Day"---restricted passing areas, passing only when signaled by the driver of the car you're passing, etc), but everyone there knows better. Set the pace or get outta the way. My first such experience, I (of course) spent a lot of the day waving people past, then doing my best to follow their lead through at least a couple turns, trying to follow their lines, learning at little more every lap. I didn't do half bad---had lots of encouraging comments from others who'd done this many, many more times than I had. Really good people, they know what it's like to be at the track for the first time.

I have never, I repeat NEVER been in a situation where I was so thoroughly terrified and yet having the absolute time of my life at exactly the same time. It's hard to explain---it's just an odd combination for the brain to handle. Ran the hell out of the Boxster, felt like I was beatin' the snot out of her like I NEVER had before, and managed to keep her on the track. The car responded wonderfully, like she had suddenly been liberated from a shackled state. It sounds stupid, but it truly felt like the car had as much fun as I did.

If you've never done it before, but have thought about it---just do it. You can't drive a Porsche and not track it at least once...not allowed!
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:26 PM   #2
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Sure is fun, ain't it?
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:29 PM   #3
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I felt the same way my first time. When I bought the Porsche I had a little remorse afterwards. I was used to american muscle power ( corvettes etc. ). Only really bonded with the car after racing. It loves to have the snot beat out of it and come back for more. LOL
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:39 PM   #4
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It is ...

... addictive.
I'm on the track at least once a month, sometimes twice.
Of the 212,000 miles on my car, 37,000 are on one track or another.
Words of caution: It's a slippery slope
Happy Boxstering,
Pedro
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:37 AM   #5
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Pedro, I thought your engine gave up the ghost? What did you end up doing?
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:38 AM   #6
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"spent a lot of the day waving people past, then doing my best to follow their lead through at least a couple turns, trying to follow their lines"

Best to have an instructor in the car with you, as the car you're following may not know the proper lines and you are only learning from them. Technique at the beginning is far more important than going fast...glad you enjoyed yourself!
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:02 AM   #7
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track days

Tracks days certainly are fun and addictive, I did my first track day about four years ago, granted in my case it was in my brand new Saab wagon,but the track bug still bit me hard. I have been out 2-3 times a summer since. Thankfully this year the lease ended on the wagon and I was able to pick up my `02 S cheap. it has a few problems but I should have all the bugs worked out by spring and be ready to have some real fun at the track.

I agree strongly with jmatta, an instructor is very usefull, especially in the beginning. I was fortunate that I had access to several people with many years of racing experience and varying levels.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
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@dmairspotter Yep. It IS fun.

@brian325is & @ppbon Agreed.

@jmatta & @matthewb Yeah, good advice---I kinda figured that out as well. I was a bit self-conscious of my technique (or lack thereof) and just wanted to go out and get some laps down on my own. Now that I have at least some idea of what it's about, I think having an instructor ride with me would be extremely helpful and would be an easier decision than it would have been originally. I know it's probably good to get instruction early in the game, and not let any bad habits get established...but I'm pretty sure I haven't made any irreversible steps down that pathway. In fact, at this stage I think that comments an instructor will make are ging to be more meaningful now that I've got a few dozen laps under my belt.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:22 AM   #9
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My advice to track newbies is always to take a "driver education" day first at the track.

As well insurance is another item to think about when doing track days. Not sure how car insurance works for track days in the US, but many up here in Ontario Canada have stated that if you are in a legitimate High Speed Driver Education program it is considered a form of driver`s education and insurance coverage is not affected.

Food for thought if insurance is the same in your area.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:39 AM   #10
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I found out recently that the PCA offers insurance for DEs on either a single or seasonal basis and it was very reasonable. A really good thing in my opinion!

PCA HPDE Insurance Program
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:33 AM   #11
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The track can be really addictive, and once you try it you realize that trying to go fast on the roads is kind of ridiculous.

I will add my advice to the 'get instruction' bandwagon. Especially when you are starting off it really is important to get the driving fundamentals correct. I have seen far too many people put it into the wall because they thought they were 'natural' drivers who didn't need to be taught. I have over the years been amazed at many highly experienced drivers who still didn't have the basics down, many who had never even been shown them.

The second thing is don't get caught up in who is fastest... DE / Lapping days are about driving, learning, enjoying yourself and DRIVING THE CAR HOME at the end of the day. There are no prizes, and when you start worrying if your faster or slower then the other people at the track you are at the highest risk of taking a close up look at the wall.

Welcome to the fraternity of the track junkies...
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:25 PM   #12
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Boxsters at the track

You guys summed it up perfectly... My first two track days (Sebring) were absolutely amazing experiences, and totally consuming. My instructor was great - I learned so much from riding with him in his Cayman S - then emulating him and getting corrective instruction from him. It is so worth having a great DE instructor. I had no idea when I started that I would soon be driving the car as if I'd just stole it, and like everyone says - that's when you learn how really well these cars are built and how well they perform - they just keep coming back for more abuse, and as it has been said, they seem to love it.. all except for the consumables (tires, brakes, oil), which, do get consumed.

The track insurance is a good idea - I'll chekc into it.

Great reading, guys. Thanks,

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Old 10-26-2011, 06:37 PM   #13
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Congratulations! Yes, driving on a track is a completely different animal than driving fast on the street. And once you've done it, you're hooked. That is how I have ended up with 18 track days so far this year. It all started with one DE day back in early February...
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