Once again back at TWS, but this time with the home-track organization, Performance Driving School (PDS.)  I’ve driven with these guys once before, which was my worst track out yet, damn near resulting in heat stroke.  This was a bit of a last minute decision, as the dates had changed and they added an Open Track Day (OTD) for only $85 if you signed up for the PDS event.  PDS runs their events very similar to The Driver’s Edge (TDE), but usually they are less crowded and a bit more relaxed.  In order to run in the OTD you must be solo qualified, which I had been on my previous event with TDE.  Even so, I was placed with an instructor for the first three sessions, then ran a yellow session solo, and the final blue session solo.  I would have ran the final yellow, but lightening strikes were getting close, then the rain came.  So I packed up and headed home to rest for the OTD on Sunday.

Getting chased down by an E46 M3 Left Rear Quarter M Coupe

Sunday morning didn’t look so good, leaving the house at around 0530 it was clear that it was going to be raining for a while.  I pulled up to the main gate at TWS and the guard told me the tunnel was flooded, and I’d have to take the back entrance.  The back entrance was really just a gravel road that spits you out onto the actual track between turns 5 and 6.  So I drove the NASCAR banking around to the paddock, taking note of how nearly all of the run off area in the infield was completely flooded.  The corner worker stations looked like islands, with water right up to the esses and quite a bit at pit entrance.  Not looking too good…  Eventually they called it off, as there was no way the water was going to dissipate enough to make it safe.  Any off-track excursions would have required a paddle, perhaps a snorkel.  Too bad, as I was really looking forward to my first OTD, a chance to just try some different lines and not be restricted to a set schedule.  In reality I had intended to bring the MR2 Spyder, since it would have been a great opportunity to shake it down.  Maybe next time.

On a positive note, I did learn some new things.  My track times didn’t beat my best time, but the times were a whole lot more consistent and within 2 seconds of my best time.  One thing I learned was to not get focused on the bright orange McLaren MP4-12C in front of you and forget to brake going into 10.  The result isn’t pretty, well unless you like bright orange McLarens.

Spinning while chasing a McLaren

The result was captured by both the professional track-side photographer and my own GoPro.  Yeah, a 2002 M Coupe with stock brakes can not brake that late, no matter how much you think you can catch up with a $200k super-car.

While I was out there I also tried a new setup for the GoPro, mounting it to my helmet.  Gives a very interesting first-person perspective, though it can be a little disorienting as I lean my head to cope with the cornering forces.  Another lesson to be learned here; don’t get / let out your frustrations.  I might have let loose an expletive as I was jammed up behind a Porsche GT3 (edit: actually a Carrera S with a wing) who was pacing the whole field.  After three straights I hadn’t been given a pass, and the corner workers had thrown a blue/yellow twice on him.  Finally at turn 6 they furled it and pointed directly at him.  Usually not a big deal, but I had been stuck in a train behind him a couple times through the day.  After this session I talked with a couple other guys who had the same experience.

I also ran into a couple guys I had met at the track previously, so it was cool catching up, talking Bimmers, and complaining about slow Porsches!  Oh, it was also my birthday.


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