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Old 05-27-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
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Second DE, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I did my second DE at Homestead this weekend. Hooked on Driving ran the event. Pretty cheap at $300. It was a blast, but not without its moments.

My car is dead stock. I have 1 deg of camber in the fronts and and about 2 deg of camber in the rear. Close to 0 toe front and .27 deg rear. Bridgestone SO2-A tires.

First the good. I'm finally starting to get the understeer dialed out. I went with lower tire pressure in the rears and by the final session, 35f/32r hot was giving me just a bit of oversteer at the limit. Oversteer at the limit feels a lot better than the push, push, push I was getting before. The back end was coming around very slowly and predictably and there was no major drama. I just stayed on the gas, countersteered and the car would straighten right up.

Last time at Homestead, the brakes had started to go. I had the expensive OEM Brembo pads and in the last session, they started gunking up the rotors and causing vibration, and I ate up about about 3/4 of the pads during the day. For this session, I got a set of Mintex pads, the cheapest OEM pads, (about $110 from Pelican) and I also installed the GT 2,3? brake duct upgrade (the $30 mod, not the $300 mod). The coefficient of friction on the Mintex is GF, better than the Brebmo's FF. The set up was fantastic. The Mintex pads weren't even worn to the bevel and I never had any fade or chatter. I was easily getting up on a lot of guys on the brakes.

Now for the bad.

The Homestead road course is mainly on the infield of the Asscar track. It uses both Nascar straights, but not the banking. I get to the event and theres an announcement that the course has been changed. Theres construction on the road course, so now part of the course includes the Asscar (18 deg?) turn 3/4 banking. My heart drops. Long banking is the death of 986 motors, leading to oil starvation and well, you know. I have no oiling mods and at that point I'm thinking, don't take the chance. Go home. Lose the $300 and live to track another day. But I'm there and I'm itchy so I decide to at least go on the track, see what its like and then decide what to do.

It was a total non issue. At 90 mph, the banking had very little compression and the lateral G's were like a freeway on ramp taken at a moderate to fast speed, so I was pretty sure I wasn't doing damage to the motor.

Now for the bad. HOD is cheap, but they don't enforce the rules very well. Its supposed to be strict point by rules, but that was not to be. Circulating, I'm on the tail of an Audi that I'm always catching in the corners, but he has more horsepower and can move away slowly on the straights and he won't point me by.. After filling his mirrors for a couple of laps in the corners without a point by, he gets up on another slower car and they both point me by, thank you, about halfway down a straight leading to a left hand hairpin . So I go to the inside but neither will lift to let me by. I'm at the inside next to both of them as we approach the brake zone so I have to hit the brakes hard and let them both go ahead, coming to almost an a complete stop. Bastards.

And now the ugly. The last session turns out to be a free for all. Turn 1 at Homestead (not running the banking) is a fast right hander and is crucial to doing fast laps. In my low HP car I should be able to take it at full throttle without lifting, but I haven't had the cojones to do it yet. Since now the approach to 1 is after coming off the banking (on the modified course) at well over 100 mph, its a great opportunity to test how fast I can get into 1. So one lap I go in on an even throttle at 4800 rpm,, in 4th, a speed I know I can make. No drama. Next lap I go up to 5k, again no problem. At this point, I'm going around 100MPH. Next lap I'm approaching at 5200 rpm when all of a sudden, theres a guy going in fast on my inside, right next to me, at the approach to 1. Remember this a strict point by session, and this guy is now pulling up next to me right at the turn in to the fastest turn on the course at over 100mph, I back off slightly and stay to the middle of the corner to give him room and the SOB goes past me on the inside! SOB.

Yes, the guy was an idiot, but I didn't panic and stayed on the track. Thats racing, even though it wasn't supposed to be a race. Can't wait till the next Hooked on Driving event,
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Last edited by san rensho; 05-27-2012 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:29 AM   #2
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Hmmmmmmmmmmm,

everything you wrote basically helped me to make the decision to NEVER sign on for a HOD event, but you "can't wait for the next one"?
I just came back from a perfectly organized and executed two day event with my local PCA club. I did a lot of events with other clubs, but as you write "you get what you pay for", including a few idiots, who put you in danger. I think I will be spending more time this year with PCA and less with other clubs.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
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Yeah, it was a little crazy, but I got through the adversity and learned from it. I'm sure there are idiots at almost any track day. Unfortunately, HOD sponsors most of the track days at Homestead, so I'm stuck.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:08 AM   #4
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+1 on PCA track days in Cali. 5-25 minute sessions with no incidents and uncooperative cowboys are immediately sent home.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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I don't know who HUD is but if that's what happens in the beginner group I would bail without incident while you can. Go with PCA even if that means changing track.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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Regarding the cowboys, despite the fun you were having at the event, all it takes is one knucklehead to create a situation for a crash and at the speeds you mention, you will be lucky if it only involves damage to the car.

I've gone to a few non-PCA events and my biggest knock has always been safety--as in the lack of it. People passing in corners (absolutely crazy), not allowing passes and not enforcing the event rules is a recipe for damage to the cars and personal injury.

Whenever I've had issues with a particular driver, I will visit them in a not threatening fashion after the session and let them know what my beef is; you may want to take somebody along with you if you think the other driver won't respond well to what you say. If they get pissy or keep doing the same thing, my next stop the person running the event and let them know what is going on. If the event organizer takes no action, then I'm done with the event.

Putting this in a slightly different fashion, the only way these events stay safe is that everyone plays by the rules and that the rules are rigidly enforced. If the HOD organizers cannot control their event, just pay the extra $ and do the PCA event. The $'s you may save on the event price aren't worth the downside of what can happen when some of the participants decide the rules are for somebody else.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:49 PM   #7
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Yes, you are right. I tried to find the guy to talk to him, but I couldn't find him. So I went to the corner worker and asked him if it was my fault and he said no, it was the other guy. But since I couldn't ID him. he basically brushed me off.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by san rensho View Post
I'm sure there are idiots at almost any track day.
I have done a lot of local Alfa club events (Seattle area) and did not see any idiots at the events I was at (except for a Boxster driver who wouldn't let my MR2 by). Nothing near approaching what you describe. I'd find other events if I was you ... they DO exist.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:41 PM   #9
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I agree with the posters above, find another track day group. If they don't maintain a safe environment, you're life is at risk. Bad enough that you're pushing the car to limits not seen on the street but throw a yahoo in there and it's not worth it if it's free.
Go with PCA. You'll be a better driver and those around you will be respectful.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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Gentle suggestion:
If you do have an on-track situation that you would like to clean up with the other driver, discuss it with the event Chief Driving Instructor or Safety Marshall first and trust their judgement regarding how to proceed. The best approach is to discuss the specifics calmly in a neutral environment with an event official present. Approaching a driver in his pit area who was aggressive on the track often leads to breaker bars raised in anger. A near miss on track is bad. A broken face from an adrenaline charged rogue driver is worse. Choose wisely.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:05 AM   #11
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This kind of thing happens in many DE's and some groups are better at policing it than others.

When it happens to me, I try to use it as a firm reminder that I need to always be aware of where the other cars are - even if they shouldn't be there! Defensive driving skills on a track are just as important as the go-fast skills and will become even more important as you move up through the ranks to open passing.

I am not excusing other driver's bad behavior just sayin' that its probably going to happen and the best offense is an excellent defense.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:25 PM   #12
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This kind of thing happens in many DE's and some groups are better at policing it than others.

When it happens to me, I try to use it as a firm reminder that I need to always be aware of where the other cars are - even if they shouldn't be there! Defensive driving skills on a track are just as important as the go-fast skills and will become even more important as you move up through the ranks to open passing.

I am not excusing other driver's bad behavior just sayin' that its probably going to happen and the best offense is an excellent defense.
Yep, you have to drive defensively. Maybe in my case I was driving too defensively, looking too much in my mirrors and when I saw this guy coming up on me in the fast turn, I backed off and let him get up on me. Who knows, I gave him room, he came through and nothing happened.

One thing I liked about racing motorcycles is that there are no mirrors, you only have to worry about whats in front of you.
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1973 Opel Manta
1969(?) Fiat 850 Convertible
1979 Lancia Beta Coupe
1981 Alfa Romeo GTV 6
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1985 Porsche 944
1989 Porsche 944
1981 Triumph TR7
1989 (?) Alfa Romeo Milano
1993 Saab 9000
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:28 AM   #13
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Fun as it is Racing motorcycles has NO SHORTAGE of CRAZIES either! Even though the consequences of falling are worse. The difference is….not if but when you go down on a bike. We all know the risks, yet some were happy to take the risk…with YOUR life IF you let them. Good idea to KNOW your surroundings (bikes or cars) and do not worry too much about what is behind you. Know where they are in back but do not let that affect how you are driving/riding out front.

Ever concentrate on the stone in the road and hit it? Same principle about lookin' in your rear views! Put your concentration where you need it the most, given the circumstances, which is usually in front of you! Don't forget to "look around" the turn when you get too deep in, pick your head up and look! Saved my fannie perpendicular more than a few times.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by san rensho View Post
Yep, you have to drive defensively. Maybe in my case I was driving too defensively, looking too much in my mirrors and when I saw this guy coming up on me in the fast turn, I backed off and let him get up on me. Who knows, I gave him room, he came through and nothing happened.
That is a good attitude and mindset. On the track, I am always ready and willing to back off or let someone else by. I watch my mirrors relentlessly and in a day's worth of laps, I am sure to get more than my fair share of open track time. I'm not racing for money, but just for fun and to become a better track driver.

That doesn't mean that I never push hard or never challenge my limits as a driver but when it comes down to me and another driver going for the same corner, I have no problem being the smarter of the two of us.
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Last edited by thstone; 06-21-2012 at 12:23 PM.
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