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Subject:  First HPDE - Wow! Date:  6/15/2013  11:39 PM
Author:  jeffbrig Number:  11546 of 11875

In a word, WOW!

For my instructor, as luck would have it, I was paired with owner the Porsche shop I use. He has track and racing experience going back 30 years, has prepped and tracked multiple Caymans. His current car is a 2013 Cayman. To say he knows the car is an understatement.

He did the first few laps in my car with me in the passenger seat. The cornering capability of the car was just astonishing to me (and something I couldn't even approach in my driving sessions).

Later, I went for a ride in his car on R compound tires. Absolutely mind-blowing. Total control of the car, right at the limit. Braking with extreme authority, well past my point of comfort. Pitching the car into the corner. Managing slip angles, then nailing the throttle to stabilize it and power out. AMAZING. I'm still in awe seeing what a talented/experienced driver can do on the track.

But the driving experience...wow. Things happen so fast, and there's so much to process, it's a bit of sensory overload. I've always considered myself to be a very competent driver. On the track, wow, just a completely different story. This stuff looks so easy in video games when you're sitting on the couch.

My run group was a mix of novice and intermediate students, mostly Porsches and BMWs. I passed plenty, I got passed by plenty (all with point bys). Parts of the track I felt like I was getting down really well (turns 3-5). Others, I consistently struggled to get right (turn 6-7 combo after a fast straight). I need more seat time!

Now for the not so good...we experienced a technical glitch. A pipe on my turbo manifold failed after the third session. That leaves me without boost pressure (probably not a bad thing), but it's too close to the engine to be safe to track (repeated WOT) without the piping intact. The guys from the Porsche shop were awesome trying to come up with a fix in the garage, but we couldn't get it welded or patched today, so it looks like the Porsche will be sidelined for the rest of the track weekend. :(

I may have the option of switching to the S2000 and running a few sessions tomorrow. Only problem is, it's not quite what I'd consider track ready on a few hours notice. It needs a brake flush (which we could do at the track), the alignment is questionable (old, and I think the rear suspension has settled a little since I had it done), and it has a slight pull to the right under acceleration (since recently replacing rear tires). Plus, they may or may not clear me with the factory roll hoops (gotta pass the broomstick test). So tomorrow I may very well just be a passenger.
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