James' Third NASA School at Sear's Point Raceway

(I'll be working on this over the next few weeks, so look for additions and changes! Photos copyright 1999 James )

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Vipers had their own group. Guess they didn't want to trade paint with lesser cars...
"autograph" signing. Guess they were thrown off by the hat. :) Thanks to Marc for taking this pic.
Here I am on the track (Turn 1). Thanks to Tim for snapping the shot.
Shortly before my last session a Pro-7 car lost it in turn 2. The car caught on fire which caused the tire wall to catch fire. Lots of smoke. The race was red-flagged (ended). I've got pics of the flames and gutted car too.
I've seen this funky Porsche before- surprise- he's in my school group.

Bragging Rights

Got to add the Porsche 911 Turbo to my list of super cars passed on the track by my little PGT. Oh it was great getting a good run out of corner and pulling away from the guy behind- or diving 3 abreast into turn 7 and then trying to sort out who will end up coming out of the turn first! The rx7 twin turbos were all over me, though. In my defense I didn't have R-compound tires.

Group 3

The drivers were much better in Group 3 than previous groups. But I was still surprised by very early and light braking, plus many people were slow to get on the throttle before they had finished the turn. I think fear in some of the more powerful rear drive cars caused this hesitancy. It was a great group of people to work with. We worked a lot on passing technique- excellent.

Group 3 turned out to be more much serious and useful than I had imagined. After each session there was a 30-45 minute "download" where we got to talk about what we and other people were doing. It was especially good to have only Group 3 cars on the track so we knew we were always dealing with peers. So for example someone could say that they wish the blue porsche (for example) would have given them a little more room passing in Turn 7, and the driver of the blue porsche would be there to hear that and discuss the situtation. Barry also did an excellent job of leading the group- giving us enough freedom to explore but really showing a keen interest in our learning process. He also set a good tone of levity versus seriousness- encouraging us to explore but also to do so responsibly and with control.

My Driving


Still need to work on smooth steering- especially turning in for Turn 6 (the Carousel) and in the Esses- Turn 8-8a. My turn-in for my nemesis Turn 10 was consistently excellent all day. The PGT has a wonderful shifter and all the street heel-toe practice made this automatic- didn't miss a shift all day.

Right Foot

I was very happy with my right foot. I was able to get on the throttle smoothly and soon. I have become much more comfortable with the feeling of the car understeering under power and can judge how much it will drift so I was on the gas sooner than most of the people I saw around me. Getting a 20 yard jump on even a C5 Vette will make a good gap for a bit.

Left Foot

Started using left foot braking for the first time on the road race track. I used it braking into Turn 10 mostly. I should have used it on the hairpins, but I was often busy looking out for other cars at those spots. With the faster speeds, the effect of unsettling the car by lifting the throttle was much more noticeable.

The Track

I probably drove the best coming into Turn 7 where I did most of my passing. Mostly this is because I feel very comfortable with Turn 6 and could carry a lot of speed out of it. I was also able to get a good run out of Turn 7 once I figured out the right line. Turn 3a which bugged me the first time at Sear's was no problem. After driving the Cyclone at Thunderhill it was a piece of cake. I did a good job of driving the line and using all the track. Going all the way to exit berm was something many other driver did not do. In similarly powered cars I noticed a difference in acceleration. The really fast cars would out accelerate me no matter what line they took out of the corner! When I took my ideal line through the Esses I would do a lot of catching up through Turn 9 (which is really a straight for my car).

More To Come

More to come! Kept all four wheels on the track this time.

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Copyright 1999 James This original material may not copied or reproduced without permission of author.

June 1999