After months of trying I was finally able to convince my buddy Paul to take his brand new 2011 BMW 135i to the race track. I’ve known Paul for the better part of 20 years and I knew that he would be hooked after just one day. We showed up early, drove all day and well… here are his impressions.
The Ramblings of a Track Day Virgin
By Paully W.
I’ve always been a car and motorcycle enthusiast from as far back as I can remember. Problem was, I never had the green to get a decent car and or motorcycle. This changed over the past few years as my salary increased and I was able to get my first “real” car; a 2011 BMW 135i. Now, of course after a few weeks of getting used to the cars power and handling, my mind was saying “man you need a tune, performance exhaust and a huge supercharger on the hood, just like that mofo Mad Max!”. It’s a blessing that I’m friends with people that are well versed in cars, racing and mods. My long time friend Mike Musto actually taught me how to ride my first bike, a Triumph Speed Triple. Musto looked at me with disbelief when I mentioned my upgrade intentions, shook his head and said, “Learn to drive the car. Go to the track. You don’t need any upgrades you retard.” So, as I have a tendency to listen to people who have more experience than me, I took his suggestion to heart. And thus, I had my first track day experience this past Monday at Lime Rock Park Raceway running with the National Auto Sport Association in one of their HPDE events.
I arrived bright and early at Lime Rock on Monday at 7:15am sharp. Signed up, got the car tech’d and sat down for my first classroom lesson. The first lesson consisted of track etiquette, what each flag represented and what to expect from your first run. The mood of the room was excitement, mixed in with a great deal of humor and professionalism. The instructors were fantastic and just oozed confidence. Everyone was making sure that all the newbs understood that this wasn’t a RACE, but a course that actually teaches one how to drive.
I hopped into my car with Alan, my instructor and he handed me a headset for use with his two way communicator. He explained that these were necessary, as the windows had to be down and that the external noise was quite loud. Alan didn’t care about speed, didn’t care that my car was DCT (made me drive in automatic) and didn’t care if I was the slowest car in the group. He wanted me to understand the track, the Apex, when to gun it, when to break, etc etc. By the end of the first session, I was hooked.
By days end the transformation of my driving abilities was ten-fold. Gone were tendencies to target fixate and I found myself looking ahead to set my car up for the next turn. I felt I had memorized the track with my eyes closed. I knew the turning points, apexes and the fact that if you let up on the gas in a corner that bad things can happen. Going through the curves became effortless as I was barely turning the wheel, not fighting the car. This made me faster overall and I could carry much more speed through the corners as result. At one point I had a 2010 Mustang Cobra behind me during the last session that would always try and outgun me during the straights. As soon as we hit the curves though, he became a distant dot in my rear view mirror. I had what addicts call a “moment of clarity”. Fast is fast, but fast through the curves makes my penis huge. Ok, my car-penis, but you get the point.
To anyone out there who is curious on taking their car to the track. Take it from this new’b. It’s worth every penny and you WILL know after the first run, if this is your bag. Plus, if you stick with it, your car-penis will be the envy of all wanna-be’s. Good luck and hope to see you at the track!