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Old 08-12-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
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Getting ready for my first DE - Roebling in Savannah, GA Sep7-8th

I am going to the following DE in my Boxster, which will be my first ever DE:

Roebling Road Florida Crown Region DE September 7th-8th 2013 at Roebling Road Raceway (Driver's Ed)
Roebling Road Raceway

I know I have to get an SA 2005+ rated helmet, and get a mechanic to review my car and sign off on a tech sheet.

I am going to be in the Green (Novice Instructed) group.

I also have a number assigned to me (413, my girlfriend's birthday and a special number) and I guess I need to get some vinyl stick on numbers or something?

Other than that I am not sure what to expect.

Does anyone have any hot tips for me? Is anyone else going to this event?

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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My "hot" tips? Watch out for the effects of heat on your brakes and tires. 1) Its not enough just to have brake fluid that is less than one year old. The older the fluid, the more water it absorbs, and water expands 1600 times its liquid volume if it turns into steam under heavy braking loads, which can render your brake pedal useless. Figure out what "color" your existing fluid is, and replace it with its opposite so you'll know when its flushed (ATE Typ 200, which is colorless, and ATE Super Blue are good choices, and both have a much higher boiling point. 2) Buy a good tire gauge and use it after every run to avoid over-inflation, which can contribute to your ABS coming on more often and further heating up your brakes and tires.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:37 PM   #3
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Garage
Prep: Good tires with plenty of tread, sound brakes at least 60% pad remaining.
Fresh brake fluid, no fluid leaks, car in good overall mechanical condition. Bring a hat, sunscreen, 2 ltrs water, and a smile.


This is an excerpt from our DE ground school briefing for PCA Zone 8 but you may find it useful.
Most of these are universal goals for DE driving events:

Novice Clinic- Usually the night before and stressing three things:
Safety, car control, and playing well with others. We emphasize that a
DE is not a race, and the way to demonstrate your ability and
qualifcation to move up in this sport from novice, to experienced driver,
to Competition permit holder, to club racing is not based on lap times.
It is based on your demonstrated car control skills, willingness to listen
carefully, follow instructions, cooperate well and demonstrate safe
driving and passing skills that protect both you and all the other drivers
you share the track with. If you are repeatedly overdriving your car, resist
cooperation with your instructor, or engage in unsafe driving/passing
you go home. Day over.

We usually spend 1.5 hrs talking about car dynamics, braking zones, elements
of cornering, flags/flag stations, instructor communication, 1st run session,
passing safety, situational awareness, pit safety, spin both feet in, what ifs,
track layout including areas you can/cannot safely explore your traction limits
(skidpad vs back sweeper SOW) and passing zones.

We remind them that a DE is intended to be a safe place for them to have fun
and explore the limits of their car. It should be a lot of fun and they will learn
things that apply directly to driving on the street.

Speeds may well be in excess of 100 mph at times and it is certainly possible
to put your car on the roof if you fail to pay attention to your instructor or
get too excited too soon. Ramp up speeds very gradually as you learn to put
your car in the right place on the track.
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Last edited by Topless; 09-02-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:54 AM   #4
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For a first DE, you will probably not be pushing the car too hard, but as others have mentioned braking and cooling are all important.

Check your pads - at least 50% of pad material remaining. Could be worth taking a spare set for the front if you are there for the whole weekend. Nothing worse than having to go home early because of using up your brakes.

Change the brake fluid - ATE Super Blue or 200 (same stuff different color)

Check your coolant levels and the coolant cap - make sure you have the 04 cap, as the earlier versions have a fault and can leak - ask me how I know.

Take or borrow a tire gauge at the track and ask your instructor for help with setting pressures. You want to start off low when cold - maybe 28 psi so that they get to mid 30s when hot.

Take spare fuel, unless it is available at the track. You will burn through a tank in about two hours of track time.

As for numbers, take some blue painters tape to put the number on the car - no need for vinyl numbers unless you start hitting the track pipe hard.

Have fun - it's a slippery slope - I started DEing about 18 months ago and now have a dedicated track car and will be racing next season.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:04 AM   #5
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Awesome, thank you everybody. I am starting a little list here and I am going to work through them.
  • Change brake fluid (I don't see a recent fluid change on my service history)
  • Check brake pads, make sure I have over half, and possible take a spare set of fronts
  • Get a tire gauge (I have been meaning to do this)
  • My coolant cap was replaced summer of 2012 by the previous owner, I will pop it off and check to see that it is 04
  • Check the fuel situation, see where the closest is to the track
  • Check my tires (Sumitomo HRZ III, rears have 4,800 miles on them, fronts have more but good tread still)

If I am in novice instructed, does that mean an instructor is riding with me the entire time, or that I am following an instructor in a group of cars? Hopefully the first as I feel I have a lot to learn and having an instructor in the car would be awesome.

iaincamp - thank you for the "hot" tip!

Topless - thank you for the excerpt from the ground school instruction

gavinyuill - thank you for the tire gauge advice and the painters tape, these are all things I would probably be scrambling for once I got there. Good luck next season!

Steve
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:15 AM   #6
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You will have an instructor sitting beside you the whole time. Usually the first few laps they will drive your car showing you the line and talking you through things like where the corner workers are, braking points, turn in points etc.

There will be plenty of people with the supplies you need at the track - make friends and borrow anything you forget or find you need when you get there. There are always first timers at the track and everyone is keen to make sure they have a great time.
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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Good luck!
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
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First DE weekend is complete and I am safely back home.

The good: it was a lot of fun. I had several good runs; each better than the one I had before.

My instructor was Roger Janson, he had (I believe) a 2005 Speed Yellow Boxster S which was very sweet. He was great to work with and I am going to request him (at his invitation) the next time I go back.

The bad (maybe not too bad)

On my 3rd run on the first day I was going really well, coming out of turn 9 onto the long straight at Roebling at maybe 80 and then accelerating through 100 with WOT the power dropped out for a second or two, the CEL blinked a few times, and I dropped a *huge* plume of smoke out the back lasting for a few seconds. Power came right back and the CEL went off, but I went ahead and came into the pits early after turn 4 as a precaution. Luckily nobody was immediately behind me, but during my limp to turn 4 to pit I probably aggravated the folks behind me (sorry folks!).

I have a new thread on troubleshooting/sorting that out here:
http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/48301-troubleshooting-sorting-possible-aos-issue-maybe-something-else.html

For this thread I wanted just to say:

After the first run I was terrified. I was easily the slowest car on the track but I felt like I was going way to fast...

During the second run I actually felt some lateral G-Forces and realized how slow I had been going the first time

The third time I think I actually hit one or two of the corners correctly and took the right line

I had a great time, I will definitely be back, and there is definitely a lot to learn at these types of events.

Thanks to everybody for the advice on getting ready for this event.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:43 AM   #9
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Great to see you had so much fun.

One of these days I'm going to have to try one myself and see what those speeds feel like.

It must have been a shocker to see that cloud of smoke suddenly, and I'm interested to see what caused it, so thanks for starting a thread about that too.

I have heard other first timers on the fast tracks as well and they loved it but at the same time where more than a little scared at times and of course worry about their car holding up.

It certainly is a thrill no matter how you look at it.

It sure is reassuring though to have an instructor in any case, although when you ride along in their car it will likely take your scared to a whole new level.

I was astounded in an Auto-X ride along so I can't imagine what the full speed ride along would be like, but if you get the chance, take it!!!
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:07 AM   #10
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I believe you can ride with an instructor in one run group above yours. Unfortunately the timing didn't work out for that or else I would have loved to do it. One thing I would really like to do is one of the performance driving schools that has a skidpad; I think taking the car past the limits would help me to recognize what it feels like when you get close and what it feels like when it lets go. I am pretty sure I was not even close to that point during my drive Mostly because I think I was afraid that something would happen..
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:16 AM   #11
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Some pictures from this weekend:

My run sticker.


My son James that went with me and the car.


There were a lot of really neat cars there. My son James has most of the pictures so once I get them I'll post, but one really neat car was a Miata owned by one of the instructors named Scott Wrigley. My other son has a Miata and Scott gave a lot of good tips and advice about those cars. Right behind the Miata is a 2014 Cayman, that thing was awesome!


There were a lot of 911s, a few Corvettes, Miatas, Caymans, Boxsters, a Cobra, a GT2 (maybe a couple GT2/GT3s), and a *ton* of 944s. My son James is angling for a 944 and so he loved those!


This last one is me and Roger Janson (on the right), my instructor for the event. Thanks Roger!
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #12
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A performance Driving school is highly recommended and will give you a lot of confidence knowing the limits of the handling/tires in a variety of situations, wet,dry and under some G's.

I've been to one and its totally worth it to go.

Its guaranteed that you will be a better driver because of it and the racing line theory part of it is priceless as there are a number of counter intuitive things you can do to get around the track faster, and understanding it will make you a better driver/racer.

Its also so much fun that some people go more than once.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:29 AM   #13
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I just found this video which is an interview with Frenchie, the master mechanic that was helping me at the track:

A Day at Roebling Road Raceway with Porsche of Hilton Head- Meet "Frenchie" - YouTube

It is a pretty cool video. Thanks Frenchie!
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