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Just signed up for my first HPDE on the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway 6/15-16. Yep, two day session my first time out. This is going to be a lot of fun. It's a joint event between PCA and the local Porsche/BMW club.

They have a deal in place where a new PCA member (like myself) can receive a free entry to their first event. Awesome, sign me up! But I can't help but think....isn't this like the corner drug dealer saying - "The first hit is free"? ;)

I'm just hoping I don't embarrass myself too badly... the turbo Cayman is so much faster than I am it's not even funny. Rationally, I know I'd probably learn more driving the slower S2000, but this time I'm going to drive the Cayman.

I know a couple of you are regular track rats - fireball, macnugget, etc. Any specific advice for a noob? I've got a helmet, fresh brake fluid, track pads (from previous owner), alignment, and had my tech inspection done. Planning to take a camera (regular and GoPro), jack, extra brake pads, extra oil, tools, sunscreen, etc. Anything major that I might not think of that you'd recommend?


BTW, the Porsche specialist I took my car to (met the owner through PCA) called me as they were starting to do my alignment - they needed to know how much I weigh. I think I found an awesome shop. They're big into motorsports too - they had a Cayman racecar, and old RSR, a Radical, a 911 Cup car, and that's just the ones they pointed out on the shop tour. Some that they campaign, others are customer cars they prep.
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the turbo Cayman is so much faster than I am it's not even funny

Let's start with basic prep:

o If you can turn the boost down, do. HPDE is about learning, not about performance.

o Make sure your helmet doesn't contact anything through your normal range of head movement. If it does, add padding now.

o Some seat belt inertia reels become ratchets if you pull the belt out all the way. That's a great way to locate yourself in the seat positively. Don't try to maintain your position with arm or leg strength. You need them relaxed and free for fine control inputs.

o Bring a lot of water. You are going to be working hard in a hot, high stress environment.

Start with an instructor. They have come there specifically to help you, so learn from their experience. Your day will go much smoother if you start out slow and focus on these things in this order:

Establish your visual reference points
Downshift deliberately to avoid over-revs
Drive the racing line
Establish your braking points
Gradually increase speed to your comfort limit, but no more
React immediately to keep it on the pavement
If you fall off, stay off, drive straight, and slow down before trying to get back on
Have fun, and scare yourself just a little

Here are some additional thoughts:

o You will push the car much harder than you ever have before, so the consequences for a driving oopsie are severe. As you have said, the limits of the car are far higher than yours. If you are careful enough, your car will survive the event undamaged.

o You will find yourself making very rapid control inputs to catch the car. That is the most valuable reflex that you will develop. Control your speed so that you only need to do that about once per lap. More often than that means that you are driving faster than your capabilities. That is very easy to do.

Neil
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You'll get a kick out of it...as FB said, take lots of water. I'm doing a similar event at CoTA this weekend...
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Thanks for the tips Neil. I will re-read this multiple times this week...

Start with an instructor.

No worries here. As a Novice, I won't be allowed on the track without my instructor in the passenger seat.
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I did an HPDE event this weekend too. Had a heap load of fun knocking the cobwebs off of my abilities. Would love for you to update this thread with tales of your first experience!

xtn
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Don't worry, I'll be sure to post afterwards. Can Saturday be here already!!!
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