I’ll be honest, waking up at 4:30 am on any given day is not my idea of a good time. I’m tired, cranky and unless I get some coffee in me within 20 minutes of my eyelids opening, I can become a really grumpy bastard. Yesterday however was a bit different though. You see yesterday I had the fun task of instructing some track day virgins up at Lime Rock Park Raceway in Lakeville, Connecticut. Now, for those of you out there who thought that getting your prized ride on a racetrack was out of reach, well think again. Organizations like NASA (National Auto Sport Association) are out there and available to provide would be students with everything from one-on-one instruction to specially prepped track car rentals. For me, track instruction is not only rewarding, but one helluva lot of fun depending on the student and car that one is assigned. Luckily I won on both counts.
Upon looking at the roster I notice my student was driving a brand new 2012 Boss 302 Mustang, a car that I’ve lusted after ever since I’d first heard about it. Clad in yellow blaze metallic paint, and a shitload of blue painters tape to protect from scratches and stone chips, the big bad Boss was a beautiful automobile. Combine that with the fact that my student, Ken, was a rock star behind the wheel and we had the makings of a truly spectacular day. In order to make a track day fun for both the instructor and student, two things have to happen. First is that the instructor has to be in the right frame of mind to give out solid information as to how to get the student around the track safely and two, the student has to be willing to learn. You see driving on a racetrack is not just about driving fast, but driving smoothly, efficiently and most of all safely. It’s about exploring the limits of not only your car, but yourself as well because lets face it, traveling down a straightaway at 140 mph is not for the faint of heart.
Yesterday was my students first time being on a racetrack and I have to give the boy kudos because he showed up with the right attitude. The first thing he said was that he first and foremost wanted to learn. What this told me is that he released that he was smart to know what he didn’t know… this is good. Right from the get go we had a great time. Ken took instruction like an A+ student and with every lap around Lime Rock he got better and better. His lines, braking points, hand position and overall car control just kept improving to the point where, by the end of the day, I knew he and his new Boss 302 Mustang were in for a summertime of track day fun. So, did I mind getting up at 4 am yesterday morning… nope, not one bit.