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unfettered, con-brio driving

I have registered for “March Madness” March 26th-27th in High Performance Driver Education group 1 (HPDE 1), which is the only option for drivers who have not driven with NASA previously and who do not possess a race car driver’s license. In this group we have an instructor who shows us the track in their car, then rides along in ours making sure we understand the rules, the track and how to drive where there are no speed limits, overtaking only where allowed. At some point along the way, first timers shed the ride-along added weight, but are still watched a bit for adherence to expected norms.

Early March 25th, I expect to unload into Garage #7 which I reserved for my pit and track-side storage needs. I was encouraged towards that location by a mentor who suggested that the off-track time making new friends was as much a part of the weekend as the hot laps.

In Driver Education groups, overtaking slower cars is very restrictive as that is where contact is made in real racing. High horsepower car drivers are encouraged, even required to let “rice burner” pilots by on the selected straightaways were passing is allowed in HPDE 1-3. They claim that most insurance companies even cover the rare damage that happens at these “driver schools”. Needless to say, contact is rare. The objective here is learning to drive rapidly and safely simultaneously.

In the story of Ford’s entry into the 24 Hours of LeMans we learn they called their car “GT40” because it was 40 inches tall. In my entry form I requested #50 as my first choice because my CRX is 50 inches tall. They granted that request, so you can see my little silver rice burner sporting number 50 on its sides that weekend.

We are updating our Suburban from The Beast pictured on the right to a 2005 version I call The Z-Wagon (Z-71 option package). A racer, driver, crew chief friend of mine is going bumper to bumper to insure happy days at the track in exchange for what he will be calling his “Overlander” – the future for The Beast. Thus the CRX is getting needed attention beyond the basics I gave it upon arrival in 2016.

Z-Wagon will drag GT50 to Utah and back on my flatbed firewood/car-hauler trailer.

Friday will see every run group except HPDE 1 on track. Newbies only get track time on Saturday and Sunday. I cannot tell you at this time what my on-track schedule will look like, but expect to spend time in the classroom, time one-on-one with my assigned instructor and time drinking in the ambience of sports cars doing what they were designed to do.

Apropos of nothing in particular, SLC Hertz rents VW Jettas for $72.56 per day, while Budget rents Mustang GTs for $103.54 … at better than double the fun factor when the limits are gone. None of them monitor tire wear when issuing or checking back in their rental cars.

Information from the National Automobile Sports Association (NASA) about them and this event:

On the right, a video of what a lap around the Utah Motorsports Campus “outer loop” looks like:

I will likely publish one or more of my own track time videos by April Fools’ Day.