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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My wife and I are absolute beginner drivers, aside from 3 or 4 autocross sessions in her parents' Miatas. (Crazy fun, BTW.) We've also done sessions at the PEC LA Center, but those didn't feel like actual training. We're not interested in racing or autocrossing our pair of brand-new 718s (one Boxster and one Cayman S), but we do want to do 2 things:

1) Exercise our cars in a way not legally possible on the street

2) More importantly, get some training on car control; cornering, braking, handling in general. Basically, how to safely explore what our 718s are capable of. The other day in a bit of a spirited run I appear to have pulled .93g on a curvy road near my house, and while the car was absolutely under control at all times, it made me realize how little I understand about performance driving.

We've signed up for an all-day performance driving class at Simraceway in Sonoma, CA. I was just wondering if any of you have any thoughts about what to expect. Since we are raw beginners in the first-level class, I'm hoping no mods will be required to the car, etc. I'd love to get any tips in advance. Have searched this forum and Rennlist, but most of the tips seem more focused on track days and more seasoned folks rather than the raw beginners that we are ;)

Thanks in advance!
 

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You don't need any mods on your car. In the beginner group you are really just going fast highway speeds. Braking will be minimal, as will be cornering.


Just show up and have fun. If you have a helmet that is of the appropriate type then bring that. Otherwise you can usually rent one for the day.



Concentrate on getting the line right and being smooth on your inputs. If you do that then everything else will come. Lap times are irrelevant.



Make sure you are comfortable on track. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable doing, even if the instructor says you should/can do it.


Don't let the instructor drive your car. I've had some bad ones who really didn't know how to drive a stick well at all. (Lucikly not in the 718 though!) If they want to show you something do it in their car.


Enjoy it - DEs are a great way to have fun in the car.
 

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FIRST THING: Get used to "proper" performance driving seating position. Your instructor SHOULD help you out with this but many these days skip this entirely and it's a core fundamental in being able to properly control the car in dynamic situations. You want bent arms and the wheel a little closer than most people normally drive with. An easy test is if you drape your arms straight out on top of the wheel, your wrists should be on the wheel, not any part of your hand. You want to be a little more upright than normal as long as your roof clearance allows.

THEN:
Concentrate on learning the line, learning your braking zones, and smoothness. Once you get those things down well, speed will come easily with practice.

Also ensure you/your instructor is watching for traffic behind and you are allowing folks to pass as needed,

I run into people all the time in high-level groups in DEs who don't even drive good lines.

Most of all HAVE FUN and IGNORE THE RED MIST (red mist is that competitiveness that sets in and causes you to drive differently when cars are close in front or close behind you)
 

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I realize this isn't a PCA forum, but I plan on doing a PCA-sponsored DE in June and am wondering a couple of things. First, I plan to buy my own helmet and would like to buy an intercom setup for it and the instructor. There are bluetooth and wired versions of an intercom and wondering what others have done. Next, when will I be assigned a car number? Will I always be able to use that same number? And thirdly, a member of my local club seemed to think buying track insurance (although this isn't a competition) was definitely recommended. Any help on any of these questions?
 

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I realize this isn't a PCA forum, but I plan on doing a PCA-sponsored DE in June and am wondering a couple of things. First, I plan to buy my own helmet and would like to buy an intercom setup for it and the instructor. There are bluetooth and wired versions of an intercom and wondering what others have done. Next, when will I be assigned a car number? Will I always be able to use that same number? And thirdly, a member of my local club seemed to think buying track insurance (although this isn't a competition) was definitely recommended. Any help on any of these questions?

I wouldn't worry about the intercom. The instructor will have one for you to use.


When you sign up you can usually choose the car number. If not they'll give it to you once your registration is processed. After going a few times the car number usually becomes yours. There are times when there will be two people wanting the same number, or your number was taken. But that is rare. For your first time painter's blue tape is a great way of writing the number on your car. Choose an easy number like 111.


Insurance is up to you. Your road insurance most likely won't cover track usage. But in the green group you are not going fast at all. Basically a quick highway speed. Chance of an incident is almost zero. But in the end it is up to you. I know people who never use track insurance and those who do. A lot of track insurances have a huge deductible, and are really there in case you total the car. So check carefully before doing anything.
 

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talk to your insurance company about coverage for the track. i am insured with state farm and my policy covers me for on-track use provided it is an instructional use (i.e. not a race), and a DE even is just that.


But in the green group you are not going fast at all. Basically a quick highway speed. Chance of an incident is almost zero.

can't say that i agree with this. i have seen some serious damage caused in the beginner groups. saying the chance of an incident is almost zero is a gross misnomer. there is always a chance for something bad to happen, and those odds are higher at the track. that's not to say that something will happen each and every time, but when you have 20-40 brand new drivers on the track the odds that someone is going to have some sort of a problem, be it a spin or worse, is far better than "almost zero".
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks much for the replies and thoughtful insights, folks. We're both really looking forward to the day. Now the question is, who drives the Boxster (6MT) and who drives the Cayman S (PDK)? Decisions, decisions...
 

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Here's a great place to start. It's interesting, easy to read, and well written by a guy who knows his stuff. If you have no or little track experience read the first chapters, if you have tons of track experience read it all.
DriversEdEd
 

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I, too, am about to experience my first DE at NJ Motorsports Park on May 9-10. I can say with absolute certainty that I'm very excited. From what I've read / heard from my fellow Schattenbaum PCA members, I need a helmet (will purchase the day before) and event insurance, then need a technical inspection before I get permission to participate and that's it.

Here's a link from the Schattenbaum PCA site explaining all of this: http://schattenbaum.org/driver-ed/driver-education/667-2/
 
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FIRST THING: Get used to "proper" performance driving seating position. Your instructor SHOULD help you out with this but many these days skip this entirely and it's a core fundamental in being able to properly control the car in dynamic situations. You want bent arms and the wheel a little closer than most people normally drive with. An easy test is if you drape your arms straight out on top of the wheel, your wrists should be on the wheel, not any part of your hand. You want to be a little more upright than normal as long as your roof clearance allows.

THEN:
Concentrate on learning the line, learning your braking zones, and smoothness. Once you get those things down well, speed will come easily with practice.

Also ensure you/your instructor is watching for traffic behind and you are allowing folks to pass as needed,

I run into people all the time in high-level groups in DEs who don't even drive good lines.

Most of all HAVE FUN and IGNORE THE RED MIST (red mist is that competitiveness that sets in and causes you to drive differently when cars are close in front or close behind you)
everyday's a school day. didn't know that kind of excitement is called red mist.
 
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