Tuesday, April 19, 2011

[4/17/2011] HANSON School (DDT) Part 2

Settings for the day:
Tires: 225/45/17 Dunlop Direzza Z1 StarSpecs, 34 PSI front & rear cold
Dampers: BC Racing BR Coilovers 10k/8k, +3 Front, +4 Rear (from full soft)
Note: This is my street setup. I didn't make any adjustments other than slightly increase the tire pressures.

I got bumped into the advanced group which only had 6 cars (Elise, S2K, 318, A6, RS4, and myself) due to overcapacity in intermediate. I'm glad this happened because I could be on the track with more experienced drivers AND had less traffic to worry about at the same time.

1st Lapping Session (No Video):
This was actually the first in-car session of the day and I had a lot of rust to shave off... but because I did my homework, I didn't make any anticipation errors in terms of the track layout. I knew each turn because of the immersive visualization process I did in my Obutto. But as Chris previously mentioned, elevation changes and track surfaces are something that you can only feel out at the track... the roughness of certain areas and the elevation differences were greater than I had expected.

I don't remember too much from the first session other than a really close call I had with the Elise. I entered the double right hander near the portable after the uphill too hot for the wet/snowy track so I tapped the brakes mid-turn. Of course, my rear end broke loose and Randy (my instructor ) was yelling "COUNTER-STEER, COUNTER-STEER!!" but I was too late - I spun 180 degrees and as my car was turning backwards I saw the Elise make the EXACT same mistake - he entered a slide heading straight towards me! Luckily he stopped about a car length away. Close call... woke me up for the morning :) (I actually go off-track here in my 2nd Lapping Session)

Afterwards, Randy invited me for a ride in his M3 for instructor lapping. He wanted to show me just how lazy I was being with my steering input by driving DDT "Dorifto" style to drill home the point. His driving was ... holy shit batman scary. We were booking every corner way faster than I was comfortable with for the wet track, and he was going through them all SIDEWAYS!!! I tried to watch his steering while holding back my breakfast. Per steering input, he had about 2-3 inputs for every 1 input I had and he was always modulating the throttle at the same time. I learned a lot after this ride, but I also wanted to puke...

2nd Lapping Session:
This took place right after the Skid Pad excercise from Part 1. At this point I was full of confidence because of what I achieved in my final skid pad run. My new found skill came into play almost immediately during this session where I nearly lost control several times, but managed to save it with quick steering and throttle inputs. I have a nice chase with a BMW 318 and Lotus Elise starting at around 3:17 in the video.

Here's the result from the last bit of the video ... luckily just dirt and no rocks, washed right off afterwards :p

3rd Lapping Session:
The track started to dry up which is good. I managed to go a little faster this time, but still tried to keep things reasonable given the conditions. To be honest I was not confident taking the first straight at higher speed, despite my instructor saying it was OK to do so. The driver of the BMW 318 was much quicker this time because the track dried up - I couldn't catch him...

4th Lapping Session (no video):
It was snowing really hard at this point and the track was quite wet. This session I just tried to hit the line and try drifting further out towards the pylons after the swoop (a line recommended to me by the driver of the S2K) to get a straighter chute for the back section of the course. I have video but I won't bother posting it because it's very short and boring.

After this session, Peter Hanson asked me if I wanted to take a ride with him in his CTS V6 (rental) on all-season tires :D He drove much faster than Randy, and because he was trying to go fast and not drift, it was slightly less scary and nauseating. Again, watching his hands and feet when I could, I noticed he had very high APM (actions per minute, for those non-SC players). He cut the curbs HARD, he had 2 wheels on the grass coming out of a lot of the turns and he took the first straightaway flat out while sliding through the kink. It was freaking awesome.

5th Lapping Session (no video):
I took it easy on this one since it was about 3:45PM and I had been up since 6:00AM driving hard all day. No word of a lie I was pretty tired by this point and there was no sense in making a costly mistake. I just sat back and enjoyed the empty track :)

Other Stuff:
I wasn't able to use the dome lamp mount that Adam preferred because I noticed that it was just wobbling way too much. I had to use the gauge pod mount entirely for simplicity. Also, the electrical tape fixed most of the rattle, but not all of it especially at lower speeds. I'll have to play around with it this week. In the future I would like to try the rear windshield mount to capture my steering input, and think of a way to get a 2nd camera rolling on my pedal input. Also, because of the school's strict policy on NO lap timers I couldn't test my Android Trackmaster app.

Well that's it for my track report! I hope those who were on the fence about high performance driving school now have a better idea of what it's like.