I think Hemingway said that the only true sports are bullfighting, mountain climbing, and car racing. I’m not big on bullfighting but I enjoy the other two activities, although I’m sure in a much safer form than Hemingway would consider suitable. I’ve liked cars since I was a kid, when my Dad used to tell me about his dad taking him out for wild drives on the icy roads of Pennsylvania. Since then I’ve enjoyed the odd afternoon watching WRC and American Le Mans, and on a more serious note I decided to become a better driver, although I’ve stopped short of becoming a seriously competitive driver.
Mission Raceway, September 15, 2005
This was my first time on the track, driving out to Mission on a cold but sunny September morning. Initially I was put in the advanced group, which I really shouldn’t have been, since I had never been on a track before. The instructors quickly realized their error, however, when I demonstrated my complete lack of ability in heel and toe shifting. I was quickly demoted to the lower level group, and had a day of train lapping ahead of me.
Most of my day was spent desperately trying to learn how to heel + toe. Everything else really depended on my having this ability, but I was struggling, and I think my shoes were a little bit too narrow. Of course the day was still loads of fun, and I’ve since spent a lot of time practising my shifting so that next time I get out there I will be more effective.
Here’s my instructor giving me a walkthrough of the track.
Boundary Bary, March 6, 2005
This was my 3rd driving course with Driving Unlimited. The content was as good as always, but I think I am getting a little tired of the collision avoidance stuff. I really went for the autocross content anyway, and that’s where the real fun was. This time I took my camera and strapped it to the passenger rollbar and took some grainy video. In analyzing it later I was interested to find that my later autocross runs were all almost identical. I guess I was really getting into the groove and driving consistently. I wasn’t really improving after a while, but I will tell myself that that is due to car limitations rather than lack of driver ability.
So, that is it for these kinds of courses, but I am looking forward to maybe some full day autocrosses, and perhaps even a full track day.
Boundary Bay, April 3, 2004
This was my first driving class with Driving Unlimited, doing a collision avoidance school at an airstrip in Mission, close to Vancouver. It was a very fun filled day of emergency braking, slalom, high speed lane changes, and finally an autocross. The instructors were very good. I remember back when I was 17 being able to sense the inadequacies of the Young Drivers of Canada instructor that I had. These guys from Driving Unlimited, however, know how to drive.
A couple times during the day I felt a bit idiotic, missing a corner or braking at the wrong time. I was proud, though, on the fact that I was pushing myself to do as best as I could. I could see other people being timid, braking early before lane changes, stuff like that. I was determined to do the exercises properly, however. In general, I succeeded.
So, it was very enjoyable. Unfortunately I missed the only track day organized this year by the BMW club, but there is another slalom and skid control day coming up. I hope to attend that.