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Old 05-20-2015, 06:37 PM   #1
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First track day

Had my first go at driving my Boxster on a track this week (after only seven seasons of owning it). The local PCA chapter put on a members only, Porsche only, track day at Gimli Motorsport Park. Porsche Canada sent out four instructors and two cars for the day, and the event was heavily subsidized by Porsche Centre Winnipeg, including breakfast, lunch, and supper (thanks again fellas!)

Unbelievable how well these cars actually perform. I learned all about picking apex and exit points, using throttle to rotate the car coming out of corners (cool!), braking, heel-toe shifting, remembering to breath, and all that nifty racing stuff. I had no idea the car could go this fast through the corners.

Thanks again to thstone for his tips on tire pressure - that worked out really well.

This guy showed up with a brand new 918. It was his first time driving it and he was, get this... 83! Here's a pic of his car with my black Boxster in the background.



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Old 05-20-2015, 07:23 PM   #2
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Be careful - it gets addicting!

And yes, thanks go to Tom - he is a wealth of information!
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:35 PM   #3
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Yeah, I can see that. One of the instructors took me for a few quick laps in this:



It was really helpful as I could then see that I was trying to carry too much speed into the corners. More braking = faster laps
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:03 AM   #4
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Or the old axiom: slow in, fast out.

If you don't have one already, get a GoPro and mount it where you can see what you're doing as well as out the windshield. You will learn so much by replaying your sessions. Also listen to it. Listen when you're lifting and getting back on the gas.

As a newbie, you want to be slow and get faster. Trying to be fast off the bat is dangerous. But watching your sessions afterwards will be one of the best ways to learn where to improve. The bullets are flying fast when it's happening, so having the ability to review afterwards in a calm setting is invaluable. You'll be surprised what you might see vs what you think you're doing.

Welcome to the addictive & expensive hobby of DE.
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:18 AM   #5
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I'd like for it to become addictive, but I've retired early by accepting a simpler lifestyle. This track day was my summer vacation. Short, but worth every penny. Hope to do it again next year.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:50 AM   #6
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As someone who has not done a track day but would like to, I have a few questions.

How did your tech inspection go and were there any things you had to fix that you could have addressed ahead of time? What things did you see other people get dinged for that could save some of the rest of us a set back?

I've read the checklist put out by my chapter. One item that I saw on the list but have not seen discussed was an item about the seat belt ages. Did you have to replace yours to comply?

How much wear did your car get on the track? I'm really only thinking about tires and brakes here.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mark_T View Post
This guy showed up with a brand new 918. It was his first time driving it and he was, get this... 83!
^ my Hero. Sex may be fatal at that age but at least a Porsche is manageable risk.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_T View Post
Had my first go at driving my Boxster on a track this week (after only seven seasons of owning it). The local PCA chapter put on a members only, Porsche only, track day at Gimli Motorsport Park. Porsche Canada sent out four instructors and two cars for the day, and the event was heavily subsidized by Porsche Centre Winnipeg, including breakfast, lunch, and supper (thanks again fellas!)
I am VERY interested in getting onto the track for the first time. Would you mind sharing the cost of the event? I've heard everything from $40 to $400 for a track day. I really have no idea.

I also would like to know if your normal insurance is valid when on a track or if something bad happens are you S-O-L? How do people manage that aspect?
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:01 AM   #9
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[/QUOTE]

Mid engine Porsches rule!!! I know that was a great day.
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:07 PM   #10
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Mark, glad you had a great track day. The weather gods were shining on you. I can't imagine what it would have been like a few days earlier on the May long weekend with that horrible weather.

So the new 918 owner is 83 . . . . then there is still hope for me I guess..
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Old 05-21-2015, 12:36 PM   #11
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Lafamme02: PCA track weekends here are $300 for the event registration. Add to that a half a set of brake pads for newbies and 1/4 set of tire tread shot if you're a hot dog around the corners. You'll also get a whopping 7 mpg so toss in a tank of fuel every day of driving. Add two night's motels in there. And then there's the needed oil change after the event because you've heated it up real good and often.

So when I sign up for a PCA high speed DE weekend (Sat and Sunday driving, 4 - 30 minute sessions per day) I save up a grand. You may not spend this much on your first one, but it includes the wear and tear on the brake pads/discs and tires and the oil change afterwards.

Let me also say that a lot of tracks have open track days and you're out there with all kinds of drivers (skilled and unskilled) and all kinds of cars. Be careful on these days because I have seen some wild-ass driving. Last time, I was on the track with two McClarens and they chased each other around that track aggressively until one spun out in a tight turn and the other one broadsided him before he could get out of the way. Both gorgeous cars when home on flatbeds. I thought I was going to cry but choked back the tears.

That accident shut the whole track down for 2 hours and killed the entire rest of the day for all of us. Just goes to show having money and having driving skills and brains don't always go together.

The PCA events are very different. Lots of instruction, rules, regulations, run groups, and lots and lots of needed education about physics, finding the line, learning when to brake, etc. Highly recommended that every Pcar owner go at least once to see what their car can do and how much they have to learn about driving.
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:38 PM   #12
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Damn your PCA events are cheap!

Don't forget requisite brewski budget while sharing stories in pits of who's faster than who AFTER track goes cold
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:23 PM   #13
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That accident shut the whole track down for 2 hours and killed the entire rest of the day for all of us. Just goes to show having money and having driving skills and brains don't always go together.
There was an infamous video from COTA of a GT2 driver that underlined this point.
All traces of it have disappeared from the internets. Jalopnik called it perhaps the worst lap ever.

As for PCA vs. SCCA and the like, PCA events are much more civil here too, even at autocross. You can tell even before they even get in the cars. The PCA folks come wearing "driving shoes" and Porsche Design shirts, meanwhile the guys in the other clubs come wearing old jeans with oil stains, a Tom Petty tour shirt from 84 and two day's worth of stubble. One are there for a lovely time, the others are there to crush some pent up workplace aggression.
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:54 PM   #14
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Agree with Randle about costs.

My local track raised their price this yr to $300 for a 2 day event. I spent $550 for a 2 day DE at Laguna Seca last yr. I just spent $775 for a 3 day DE at COTA. It depends on the popularity of the track and what the mkt will bear when it comes to cost.

Insurance: it depends on your particular company. I have State Farm and supposedly they will fix your car if you wreck it at a DE but will then cancel you. Other companies won't fix your car at all. There's a company named Locton that does DE ins and I add that to the cost of my DE weekends. You can buy ins per event and the premium is based on the value of your car and the deductible you choose. I value my CSS at $38K and choose a 10% deductible, so my premium is generally around $250. One thing to know about the deductible: they take the full deductible off the top before they start paying. So to keep things simple, if my car is worth $40K and I choose the 10% deductible and I incur $5K of damage, I will pay $4K of it and Locton the other $1K. It's NOT me paying $500 (10% of the damage) and Locton pays the other $4500. You pay first.

Do you need track ins? As Dirty Harry says, "do you feel lucky, punk?" You can be tooling along minding your own business when someone dumps oil all over the track, which you subsequently spin in. I'm starting my 4th season of DEing and I've seen 3 cars wrecked, one very badly. And the value of your car comes into play too. Maybe you can afford to write off your $12K Boxster so you don't "need" ins. You roll the dice and takes your chances.

Tech inspections: It can be a crap shoot. I've been thru some who took your tech sheet and didn't bother to spend a minute looking at your car. I've had others that looked at brake pads, rotors, brake lights, etc. NASA runs a pretty tight tech inspection, which I think is good. I never understand ppl who show up to a multi-day DE, get thru tech and after the 1st run their tires are chorded or their pads are shot (and not from driving hard in that 1st session). They didn't come prepared. So now they're scrambling to get repairs done before they lose valuable time on the track or they're packing up to leave. Why? Have your car properly prepped and you won't have any problems getting thru tech. Maybe techs are lax because they figure you should come prepared and if you don't, it's at your expense. IDK

And for those of you who have never done a DE before, you don't have to drive like a bat outa hell. I generally drive about 8/10s and I get plenty of enjoyment from that pace. I keep an eye on my mirrors and let the track rats by as quickly as I can. I hate catching someone and then they feel the obligatory need to 'race' you before they let you by. I'm sure the track rats hate that too, so I'm not going to hold them up. But I run 8/10s because at the end of the day I have to drive my car home and to work the next day. But that's OK. You're not driving for a trophy or prize money. It's for enjoyment. And lots of it.
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:00 PM   #15
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Mark_T and RedTele, thanks for the comments - glad to help anytime.

All of the other advice is pretty much spot on!

The only thing that I'd add is to say if you've never done a track day, you really should. The experience, even if only once, will be worth 10x the price of admission. You will finally really understand why they say, "Porsche. There is no substitute"!
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:04 PM   #16
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Did the 918 eventually catch fire??
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:48 PM   #17
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Agree with Randle about costs.

My local track raised their price this yr to $300 for a 2 day event. I spent $550 for a 2 day DE at Laguna Seca last yr. I just spent $775 for a 3 day DE at COTA. It depends on the popularity of the track and what the mkt will bear when it comes to cost.

Insurance: it depends on your particular company. I have State Farm and supposedly they will fix your car if you wreck it at a DE but will then cancel you. Other companies won't fix your car at all. There's a company named Locton that does DE ins and I add that to the cost of my DE weekends. You can buy ins per event and the premium is based on the value of your car and the deductible you choose. I value my CSS at $38K and choose a 10% deductible, so my premium is generally around $250. One thing to know about the deductible: they take the full deductible off the top before they start paying. So to keep things simple, if my car is worth $40K and I choose the 10% deductible and I incur $5K of damage, I will pay $4K of it and Locton the other $1K. It's NOT me paying $500 (10% of the damage) and Locton pays the other $4500. You pay first.

Do you need track ins? As Dirty Harry says, "do you feel lucky, punk?" You can be tooling along minding your own business when someone dumps oil all over the track, which you subsequently spin in. I'm starting my 4th season of DEing and I've seen 3 cars wrecked, one very badly. And the value of your car comes into play too. Maybe you can afford to write off your $12K Boxster so you don't "need" ins. You roll the dice and takes your chances.

Tech inspections: It can be a crap shoot. I've been thru some who took your tech sheet and didn't bother to spend a minute looking at your car. I've had others that looked at brake pads, rotors, brake lights, etc. NASA runs a pretty tight tech inspection, which I think is good. I never understand ppl who show up to a multi-day DE, get thru tech and after the 1st run their tires are chorded or their pads are shot (and not from driving hard in that 1st session). They didn't come prepared. So now they're scrambling to get repairs done before they lose valuable time on the track or they're packing up to leave. Why? Have your car properly prepped and you won't have any problems getting thru tech. Maybe techs are lax because they figure you should come prepared and if you don't, it's at your expense. IDK

And for those of you who have never done a DE before, you don't have to drive like a bat outa hell. I generally drive about 8/10s and I get plenty of enjoyment from that pace. I keep an eye on my mirrors and let the track rats by as quickly as I can. I hate catching someone and then they feel the obligatory need to 'race' you before they let you by. I'm sure the track rats hate that too, so I'm not going to hold them up. But I run 8/10s because at the end of the day I have to drive my car home and to work the next day. But that's OK. You're not driving for a trophy or prize money. It's for enjoyment. And lots of it.
Hey, NASA is one of my customers, you must have a hot Cayman if they are inspecting it.
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:55 PM   #18
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How did your tech inspection go?

How much wear did your car get on the track? I'm really only thinking about tires and brakes here.
There was no tech inspection however, I did make every effort to make sure my car was track ready and safe. I had fairly new tires and brakes, and I replaced my brake fluid a couple of days before the event. I carefully inspected the car to make sure I had no oil or coolant leaks and, just to be sure, I took it into the dealership for an inspection in case I missed anything. As far as wear, I lost very little thickness from my pads even though my wheels were black with brake dust by the end of the day. I definitely took a couple of mm's of rubber off the tires, especially the front, but I did not wear them anywhere near to the point of replacement. I could probably run another two or three track days like this one before they were completely shot. I expect them to now last for the rest of the summer, at least.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:04 PM   #19
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One item that I saw on the list but have not seen discussed was an item about the seat belt ages. Did you have to replace yours to comply?
Factory seat belts are normally good for the life of the car so its not a worry for most car owners who want to take their street car to the track. Aftermarket harnesses require replacement every 5 years. I can't explain why the difference.

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How much wear did your car get on the track? I'm really only thinking about tires and brakes here.
If the brakes and tires are in good condition beforehand, the typical first time driver on a track is not likely to be pushing the car anywhere near hard enough to wear out the tires or brakes in a single day. Of course, it can be done if you really try hard enough, but its not typically an issue.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:05 PM   #20
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I am VERY interested in getting onto the track for the first time. Would you mind sharing the cost of the event?

I also would like to know if your normal insurance is valid when on a track or if something bad happens are you S-O-L? How do people manage that aspect?
The entry fee was $750. I had a Porsche instructor in my car coaching me for about 1/3 of the time. I then had one of the instructors do a lead-chase session with me, me in my car and he in his, and provide coaching via two-way radio for the duration. Plus there was an autocross event with an instructor in the car. The fee also included a pretty high-end breakfast, lunch, and supper courtesy of Porsche Centre Winnipeg. I felt I got very good value for what it cost.

Oh, and I burned about $60 worth of gas.

As it was an education event and not a racing event, my regular auto insurance had me completely covered. That's how it works here in Manitoba but I can't speak for anywhere else.

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