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Old 08-07-2016, 01:22 PM   #1
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My first time at the track


I've owned Boxsters for over two years now and had only driven on the road. It was great to have an opportunity to get out on a racetrack and play with the car. To anyone who wants to get the most out of their 986, or for that matter any sports car, I highly recommend doing some driver education at a track with your local club. This year, I joined the Cimarron Region PCA and they sponsored this event, The Cimarron Sizzler at Hallett.


The middle of August in the middle on Oklahoma, we expect sizzling temperatures, around 100 F and dry. It was not. The morning of the event we had pouring rain and temperatures in the 70s. We enjoyed the break from the heat, but by the time we took to the track we were soaking wet, the leather door trim was getting saturated from the mandatory windows-down requirement, and the track was slick.


In the weeks leading up to the event, I had studied videos of the track, I had learned proper cornering and driving technique. In my mind, I was ready to go out on the track solo, maybe even race. Sitting in my car at line-up, soaking wet, helmet strapped on, a stranger sitting next to me doing strange hand signals and speaking muffled words, suddenly my mind was blank. I barely even knew how to drive. We careened around the track at speeds up to 65 mph under a yellow flag, missing shifts and apexes, as it all went by in a soggy blur. Fun? No, but it cleared all my preconceptions and misconceptions. For the next session I was really ready to listen and learn rather than just apply what I thought I knew.


I think that my wife had a similar epiphany. She is a good driver and likes to go fast. She was determined to beat my lap times and thought she had a good grasp of driving on a racetrack. Her instructor demonstrated two laps, then turned the car over to her. Her first lap, turn one, she slid off the track and went spinning into the grass. No damage to the car and only a bruised ego, she recovered without stopping. Her instructor let her continue after they pulled off for a quick inspection. We both had great instructors; skilled, patient, and nerves of steel.


By our second session the rain had stopped and the track was drying. I knew what 'wrong' looked like and I was inspired to take on each turn and make it better than the time before. My laps were not fast and my driving was not perfect, but I started to enjoy it and push the car harder. It was starting to come together. By the end of the third session I had regained my feeling of competence and knew that I was going to want to do this again. ...and again.


I experimented with video recording for my runs. On the third session I actually got it to work and record the whole thing. I used an old Galaxy S4 phone held in place on the back of my wind deflector with double-stick tape. Shooting through the deflector to what I hoped would be the mid-point was awkward, but worked out better than I expected. Strategically edited, this clip starts after a bad shift and ends just before a 997 Turbo blasts past me.


Not to make excuses, but it had been a tough week leading up to it. Our 9 year old Basset Hound had died a miserable death on Wednesday morning from ingesting toxic (made in China) dog treats. My wife had been sick. I had been working night shift 7pm to 7am and really hadn't slept in the day/night leading up to the event. That considered, we decided to leave in the mid-afternoon before our last run. We left on a good note, worn out, but looking forward to our next opportunity to do it again.


On a final note, RedTele58 (Rick) first informed me of this event and helped us along every step of the way. He shared his raceport and assisted us throughout the event. Thanks Rick!


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Last edited by 78F350; 08-07-2016 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 08-07-2016, 01:51 PM   #2
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Good coach. Calm demeanor and very clear verbal and hand signals focusing on the basics.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting! Great video and I want your instructor. Very intuitive hand signals, and patient verbal directions. Ten months into my 986.2 ownership, many fun runs, one AX school, one AX event, and two more scheduled - I am starting to learn about my car. No doubt DE will be on the calendar for next year. Let's see what the old girl (car) and old guy (driver) can do, when we stretch our legs.

PS: Sorry to hear about your dog. Its one of the hardest things to go through - losing a beloved pet.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:09 PM   #4
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Welcome to the addiction and impending slippery slope of track mods.

It's great that you have your wife DEing too, as that's a great way for a spouse to understand the addiction. My sister always rolls her eyes when my brother and I discuss track days. She did some parade laps at COTA in May and now has an appreciation of what we do.

It's amazing how prepared you feel you are before a DE but can still have a sloppy 1st session. It takes a certain amt of time to get into a rhythm. Taping your runs is a great way to learn. You'll see so many places to improve. That creates a burning for the next DE.

12 days until INDY. Can't wait.
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Old 08-07-2016, 02:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the write up and pics. I really want/need a DE in my future. I know I am the weak link in the driver/car combo.
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Old 08-07-2016, 04:30 PM   #6
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Nice writeup, thanks for sharing. I did my first at Mosport 3 weeks ago and need to do a writeup. I have no video or good pictures but it was a lot of fun and I'm doing my second (and probably last for this season) at Palmer in Massachusetts in 3 weeks.

Also sorry to hear about your dog, we had to put ours down 4 years ago, the loss is never easy.
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:00 PM   #7
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Great post and pics! So sorry about your puppy...been there and it's really hard. Your pets are your kids and it's just brutal emotionally when you lose them. I am so sorry for your loss, but so impressed by you and your wife for being up to the challenge of taking on the track.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:18 PM   #8
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Nice post!

It is a very slippery slope and highly addictive
You are very lucky that your wife is interested in tracking the car as well
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexcramer View Post
Thanks for the write up and pics. I really want/need a DE in my future. I know I am the weak link in the driver/car combo.
Come on out Rex, the water is fine! PCA San Diego is having a performance driving school in Sept and it is honestly one of the best in the country. PCA Grand Prix is doing a DE/AX at Streets of Willow in Oct. Both are excellent novice events.

Upcoming Events | PCA-SDR Performance Driving School – Friday Evening Chalk Talk (Black Forest) | Porsche Club of America San Diego Region

http://gpx.pca.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/August-2016-Circuit.pdf
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by san rensho View Post
Good coach. Calm demeanor and very clear verbal and hand signals focusing on the basics.
Agreed. A very positive coaching style. I like this guy a lot.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:34 PM   #11
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Good for you for taking the plunge and getting out on the track! Everyone thinks it's easy, but actually driving quickly well isn't easy, it is very difficult.
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Old 08-07-2016, 08:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for the write up! I look forward to maybe getting my car on track soon. Just put some pilot super sports on the car and it's been pulling some crazy Gs compared to the old all seasons. Makes me want to do things that arnt legal so I may be on a track sometime soon!
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:54 AM   #13
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Very smart man! Get the wife involved so she won't mind you spending $$ on performance upgrades.
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:58 AM   #14
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We had a great time! I've been working back and forth with Jon for the past several years swapping parts, chasing down leads on Boxsters for sale in Oklahoma and the surrounding areas and just shooting the breeze texting back and forth.

It was fun to finally meet Jon and Vi and spend a day together at the track. Jon is as good a guy as he comes across here on the boards.



On a side note, in the picture below, I've got to start bringing a bigger gun to the fight.

Cars pictured:

GT-3, my '99 Boxster, Turbo 911 and a big fire snorting Corvette. I can't keep with these guys on the straights, but it sure is fun to ride their tails through the twisties!
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTele58 View Post
We had a great time! I've been working back and forth with Jon for the past several years swapping parts, chasing down leads on Boxsters for sale in Oklahoma and the surrounding areas and just shooting the breeze texting back and forth.

It was fun to finally meet Jon and Vi and spend a day together at the track. Jon is as good a guy as he comes across here on the boards.



On a side note, in the picture below, I've got to start bringing a bigger gun to the fight.

Cars pictured:

GT-3, my '99 Boxster, Turbo 911 and a big fire snorting Corvette. I can't keep with these guys on the straights, but it sure is fun to ride their tails through the twisties!
Welcome to the Boxster world
They have a HP advantage, but you have the handling advantage

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