It all started cuz I asked Ted
to help me with my braking. I have a tendency to stand on the brakes, boil the
fluid, and bounce off the ABS. Ted showed me how to use the brakes -- get on get
off. After the first two sessions, bleeding out the cooked Motul 600, installing
brake ducts, and learning what Ted was teaching me, no more brake problems.
The problem with get-on-get-off, however, is that it does not slow the
car very much. So Ted showed me how to carry momentum through the corners.
Instructors have fancy words for all this, but it boils down to: Fast In, Fast
I had no idea my car could carry so much speed through corners. Ted
is a talker: "Lift, brake on brake off turn in HERE flat on the gas straight
line those corners, now straight line brake turn in stay out stay out ez through
here it tightens turn in look down track find that out marker now hit it." Whee
I was turning into corners WAY up track, nailing the throttle,
and the car would track through like it was on RAILS!! Problem is, this
technique is so unnatural and counter to the classic line (Slow in, fast out),
that it's scary. You have to BELIEVE that nailing the throttle will make the car
stick, when everything you ever knew about driving tells you NO WAY NO WAY! Talk
about being committed!
Sometimes I'd lose confidence in my ability to
make it through, bang on the brakes hard to drop the entry speed, and then I'd
get all crossed up. I went off track four times this weekend, not always because
my brakes faded (two for brakes, two screwups).
Chief instructor Jeff
Lacina threatened to get me a seed cap, and asked if I wouldn't mind putting an
attachment on the car. He figured that if I am going to spend so much time off
track, I should do some plowing or seeding while I am out there.
tried to explain to all the folks who laughed at me so much ("It's very
entertaining following you"), I'd much rather drive straight off track than try
all sorts of heroic save-the-car stuff to try to stay on pavement. Besides,
Midwest Motorplex is not quite finished, and there are some truly dangerous
spots at corner exits where concrete is still being poured.
I have a
long way to go with this new technique. They combined Group 4 and Instructors,
so I had to run with the Big Boys. As you would expect, they all drive like
that. Where is this technique explained in the driving books? I'm not sure it
can be explained. You need Terrible Ted talking you through to believe that it
really works and the car will really stick.
I learned that if I turned
the boost up to 12 psi, I could stay with most of the Big Boys (Group 4 and
instructors were mostly Cobra SVTs, Cobra Rs and Corvette Z06es and C5s, almost
all of them trailer queens, with lots of permanent numbers and sponsor
Flying Freddie Fetzer and his Cobra R tended to run me
down consistently, and most of the instructors had me by an easy two seconds a
lap under stock boost. The extra boost got me back the two seconds, so I could
stay with them (although they did run me down eventually, the boost kept them at
bay for a while). I thought about cranking it to 15 psi just to see if I could
run with some of the faster cars (it's frustrating to see a Z06 just walk away
from you down a straight, especially after staying with him for half a lap).
But, since I was 300 miles from home with no trailer, basically uncomfortable
with this new driving technique, and the car started to heat up under increased
boost, I decided that discretion was in order.