WDMS Chapter 173 -- January 2011


in the rain....I love the rain...

So NASA TX was having an Instructor Clinic at Harris Hill to help line out their instructors for the upcoming season. This meant that they needed existing instructors to 'play' students for the potential instructors that they were evaluating. I was asked to be the former and Fair (Vorshlag) was going to solidify his instructor status. He has actually instructed for them a few times in the past, but nothing official and with the new NASA TX owners it was time for him to officially get recognized and also both of us to meet and greet the owners. 

We spoke several times the preceding weeks and Fair was likely not taking the new Mustang as they did not have play wheels and tires, and so I offered up Miss B4C for him to co-drive. It seemed stupid to me that we take two cars since the format was such that we'd likely not be on the track at the same time. We settled on that plan but then had a last minute change as his new wheels and tires DID arrive and he wanted to test it out. A few days beforehand the forecast pretty much locked into 'all rain' and I was not exactly keen on going down and back in the same vehicle (Mustang OR Camaro) that could have problems (Miss = old, Mustang = untried on the track) so I snagged Countryman's open trailer so we could take rain gear, snacks, tools, spares, etc and be in comfort. Additionally, if anything happened to the car we had a way home! No, nothing happened, all went smooth, but it was nice to take all the extra gear! 

A pretty artsy shot I took in the grid area with the track snaking in the background

So we leave my house at freaking oh-dark-thirty on Saturday morning to be in San Marcos at 0745 so we are unloaded and ready to go 15 minutes before the 0830 start time. As we got into the truck in Arlington (we loaded the car the night before) loooong before the sun came up it was lightly misting and the rain played on over the hours of southbound travel. Sometimes it rained pretty hard, other times just misting, but it never left us. Until we got back close to Arlington, the pavement would always be damp and the skies ever threatening more. 

HD2500 FTW....and not my trailer so I don't want to hear about the red wheels!!!

The organizers took charge and we were divided up and the day explained. I took the Mustang to grid and waited for my 'instructor' since I was a 'first time' student to NASA. I had only one previous 'track day' as my 'experience' and we hit the damp track. Over the course of the morning and into early afternoon I played student on both sides of the car to several potential instructors and then Fair and I got teamed up. We had a great time with me driving and then swapping, with him giving me a quick talk-thru lap while driving. It was his first time to get some laps in and we only got a handful in and then it was lunchtime. We were not staying much longer but then they opened it up for playtime and I told Fair to get out there and enjoy the time. I snagged his camera and he was first car on track for the half hour session. He had a ball and was driving very well in the wet which was amplified in the fact that most folks were really going pretty darn slow. We had scouted the off-line routes that provided prodigious grip and he was using all the traction he could find. I kept the camera under my rain gear and snapped a few when the opportunity arose.

Much better than a flat track map....Harris Hill in Elevation

Fair taking the long way around to pass a V

Overall it was a really good event and great to meet the new organizers. I enjoyed playing student and seeing how many laps I could go with one hand on the wheel, braking after the apex, running inconsistent lines, etc in order to gauge the attention and abilities of the 'instructors'. Shaking down the new steed was fun and it is quite the capable car. Lots of power and the fresh Yoks were awesome. Brembo package is a must! Fair had a great time too, and there are more pictures here.