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Warning, long post!

Okay, that was an awesome weekend!

On Day 2, I showed up at the track not even knowing if I'd get to drive. We went over the S2000 and they decided it would be eligible to run with the stock roll hoops. I'd just have to keep the top up, as arm restraints are required to run top down. Not a problem. Thankfully, I also had DW's blessing, as the S2000 is now her daily driver. ;)

Due to the last minute car swap, I missed the first student session. We did a brake flush, cleaned out the car, applied my numbers, firmed up the suspension (car has adjustable bilstein PSS9s), and (rookie mistake) had to gas up. The car has drilled/slotted aftermarket rotors, but unlike the Porsche I was on stock pads.

Session 2 I finally got out on the track. My instructor told me in all his years of instructing this was the first time he'd sat in an S2000. He just asked me to take it easy the first few laps so we could feel the car out. I was immediately more comfortable in this car. 1/2 the horsepower (much less scary) and 10 years of daily driving familiarity really helps. Things happen slower, there's a bit less speed carried into each braking zone.

My instructor commented after the session that I was driving much smoother and more consistently. After the even better next session he commented that parking the Porsche may have been a blessing in disguise as far as my learning curve as a driver. I have to say that I agree. And, after watching my videos from day 1 and talking with some of the other drivers about braking and turn in points, I started getting the 6-7 combo right. They key is that I was comfortable, not feeling intimidated.

In the second session, I had my first major correction of the weekend. I had caught a slower car, and while waiting for a passing opportunity, a grey 911 had caught us. We both got a point by on the next straight. Now, I tend to run the straights a little easy (shifting before redline, rolling out of the throttle earlier than necessary), but when passing I need to put the pedal down so I can complete the pass and get back on the line for corner entry. This time, with the 911 on my tail, I came in too hot for that turn (as luck would have it, turn 6). I failed to scrub enough speed before my turn in point, but I still went for it, hoping it would stick. While lightly trailing the brake. Of course, the rear end stepped out.

Now, I've had a car sideways plenty of times, usually intentionally in an empty parking lot, generally on wet pavement. But, I've certainly never explored limit handling on dry pavement at ~60 mph. But here, even with the rear sliding, I still had control of the car. With a gentle counter steer it started to come back in line. I eased up the counter steer, but the rear end still wanted to swing. One more slight correction (and a little more speed scrubbed) and it all came back together. No pendulum swing, no further drama. I was back on the throttle and headed to turn 7. Gave the 911 a point by on the following straight. Only then did my instructor speak up - "So, do you know what you did wrong there?". Yep - distracted by the car on my rear, failed to adjust my braking point for the additional speed I was carrying, and failed to get off the brake and settle the car for turn in.

That whole sequence was just an amazing learning experience. Counter steering felt so intuitive. I never felt like I was out of control. It seemed like the slide lasted 4-5 seconds, although in reality it was only a fraction of that. When I got back in the paddock, I immediately went and found the 911 driver and apologized for getting out of shape with him right behind me. He dismissed my apology, told me I did great hanging onto it, and he had left me plenty of room just in case.

By the third session, around 3pm it was getting really hot, probably 90+. I was getting around pretty well, adding speed. Found (and exceeded) the limit in turn 11 one lap, but caught it much quicker this time (see, I'm learning). About 20 minutes in, I entered the braking zone for turn 8, needing to scrub from ~100 to ~40 for a near 180 hairpin. While the pedal felt solid, it took significantly more pressure than normal to slow the car. While I've never experienced ths before, I assume this was temperature fade in the OEM pads. I immediately told my instructor, and we took a slow pass through pit lane before re-entering the track. It seems that was enough to let them cool the brakes, and they were fine for the next 3-4 laps until the session ended.

Overall, a great weekend. Met some really cool people, saw some REALLY nice cars. I strongly suspect my best laps in the S2000 were probably faster than my Cayman laps on day 1. Seat time matters more than the car right now. I even managed to pass a few cars that should be faster than the S2000 - a slightly older 911, an e46 M3, a C5/C6 corvette (he walked me on the straights, but gave me a point by after a lap of me in his mirrors in the turns). Must be doing something right!

We're already looking at the calendar for a future track weekend. Amazingly enough, DW wants to enter as well!
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