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Thread: Track Day Love Part 1

  1. #1
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    Track Day Love Part 1


    My first car - imagine it screaming (for help) around Wakefield...

    So, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post (as promised) and since then I’ve been trying really hard to catch up with some car friends. Other than that, it’s been a pretty car-less couple of weeks, so I was struggling to find something to talk about!

    So I got some inspiration from dlai’s comment from the last column I wrote:

    Should do one that includes more about life on the track, and thoughts throughout driving as you turn into each corner, or accelerate out and lining up for the next. would be awesome to see what you have to say about that
    I guess that would be a good place to start writing about, as that is what I claim to specialize in after all. So get ready for some more “inspirational posts” from the heart in what I want to call Track Day Love.

    Back in high school, my love for cars was pretty much a secret. Well, amongst boys, we all loved cars like Ferraris and stuff, but my love was more passionate. And it was to the point where it was almost embarrassing, seeing as in high school, all you want is to fit in.

    What I really loved to do was drive. I had gotten this bug from a video game called Gran Turismo. The game was really cool, especially when you could buy the “racing car” option that turned your car into a wide-body, sponsor stickered machine.

    In particular though, I remember figuring the game out one day when my dad showed me this magazine at my uncles house that explained what a racing line was, and boy was it a revelation. I pretty much broke the game and started beating everybody in 2P mode. That was when I was 14.

    Since then I started catching the odd V8 Supercar race on TV and my heart would start pumping like no tomorrow. I remember being 17, just on my Ps, and watching a race and looking at the racing lines and just being so damn excited I couldn’t sit still. I didn’t actually know who the drivers were, or cared who won, because halfway through the race I couldn’t sit there any longer – I had to go out and drive.

    Getting my Ps was the greatest thing to ever happen to me at that point, as I was free to roam the planet in my automatic Eunos 500. And here is a secret that you shouldn’t tell my parents – I was a pretty heavy smoker during nearly all of high school but I decided to quite after I finished the HSC. I pretty much spent every second day driving up and down the Old Pacific Highway as my relief.

    I even remember practicing manual in a friend’s car – and the feeling I got when I did my first heel and toe downshift.

    But then there was this one-day when my cousin told me that one of his friends told him that I could go to the racetrack in my own car. It was like Natalie Portman had just walked up to me and asked me out on a date – I nearly jizzed in my pants! Like, are you serious? You can drive on the racetrack? I thought you had to be rich, or a racecar driver!

    So I jumped at the chance and paid my monies (I think it was like $160 or something ridiculous for back in those days) and a couple weeks later I was there, at Wakefield Park. Of course, I had arrived too early – I mean I was so nervous and there was just so much to look at. There was a Panda AE86 Trueno (the day was hosted by BEL Garage), a few Nissan Skylines and Silvias, and even a near new Tommi Makkinen EVO VI.

    It was like Gran Turismo had appeared in my real life all of a sudden and here I was driving an automatic 2.0L V6 Eunos 500 where I sometimes would drive it in “L” before lifting off the throttle and changing to “2” and then flooring it again so it sorta sounded like a manual (I so wish I had a manual).

    I was too afraid to mix it up with the big boys and it was an open pit lane so you could go on and off whenever you wanted. It’s not like our Circuit Club days now where there is a session dedicated for beginners and first timers.

    But shy I wasn’t, and I eagerly opened people’s passenger doors with my big puppy dog eyes and drool halfway down my neck asking for a passenger ride around the track. First the Skyline, then the EVO and then I realized I got carsick and spend about an hour over the dunny trying to vomit or pass wind or something quick so I could get back out there.

    And it was at that point I realized that it was already past 12pm and I hadn’t even driven on track myself. So I gathered all my courage, got in my car and had a go. At first, it seemed really slow – the wide open track, followed by the turbo Silvia that just drove past me further emphasized how underpowered my car was. But then I got to the corner and it was all bliss.

    As I turned into each corner, accelerated out and lined up for the next, I was in pure enjoyment. Nothing else mattered but the next corner coming up. As it so happened, there weren’t any defined sessions on that day, and I ended up on the track for at least 45 minutes lap after lap…

    I ended up only having two sessions on the track, but I didn’t care because I knew - I would be at the track again, and again and again…

    I realize now how important that first track day was for me. In the end, I always new I would love driving on the track – that was a given from the get go. What was so important for me was getting the courage to go out there and do what I had always dreamed about.

    Because of that, I have learnt so much more and met so many people, which my friends, is a story for another column…

    (P.S. thanks for all your comments people! I do read them, but have just decided to stay out of the conversation – its more interesting to see what people’s interpretations are rather than push my own point of view.)
    Last edited by narada; 20-05-11 at 02:13 PM.
  2. #2
    Member saad's Avatar
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    Sounds incredibly familiar to me. Except I didnt go out to track till I was 23 That was when I bought my first car. But I remember the parents Magna, which was mine basiclaly, learning to heel and toe when I was on my L's and P's I borrowed a book by Bob Bondurant from the library, and sat in the car on my driveway, on my L's, practicing!

    And then one day, I was driving home with a friend, who also drove manual, and I smoothly downshifted, and my friend was like "whoah how did you do all that so smoothly!" Then I knew I had mastered the manoeuvre. Then I got into initial D, and I learned to left foot brake, after seeing the EG in 'Duct Tape Death Match'. Man that was scary, first time oversteering a car like that!
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    Member SLOEG4's Avatar
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    very good read....get the feeling im going to be the same (first time tracking) lol
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    Member RE99IE's Avatar
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    I remember my first track day - I was invited to a trackday by a mate in a Supra but was only a spectator then. That was close to 5-6 years before I actually got myself to drive on a track. IMO, if I was more than a spectator during those days, I would have been more broke than now
    Quote Originally Posted by narada View Post
    Nothing else mattered but the next corner coming up.
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    Member AE092's Avatar
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    Good read! Very reminiscent of my adolescent years; playing GT2/3/4 then buying my first Corolla and modding that. Then bought the sports version and got serious with mods on that car and manned up and went to a track day with no friends as I was only 'serious' one back then. First track day was a great learning curve like you said and a great experience but I got bitten by the bug and have been back 11 times since, coincidently I've beaten my original PB by 11 seconds to date haha
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    Member OVTEC's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing Nads! I really enjoyed reading it and it made me think of my first time out on the track too, but luckily for me I had you and circuit club to thanks for getting me out there and giving it a go. I look forward to reading more posts from you.
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    Member 91led's Avatar
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    I love reading what you've got to say Narada. Sounds like you've put a bit of thought into what you post.

    My first track day experience (shh, parents don't know I was on track) was similar to yours in that I had a woefully underpowered, automatic car and spent more time looking in the mirror than at the next apex. The day I went, street cars were divided into three groups and I would have preferred to have been in the group with the OzMovers Club than with a guy in a Mini Cooper S (and a racesuit :S) and a whole heap of turbo stuff. Despite only hitting 115 through the kink at Wakefield and constantly trying to pull myself off the door through left handers, I enjoyed myself and would love to go back in the car I have now. Here's hoping I don't bugger up the gearbox like I did last time...
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    My first trackday, pretty much 20yrs ago. I was in uni at the time, and surprisingly my '63 Bug held together for a whole day of tracking at Oran Park. It was a driver-ed day put on by the Honda Car Club NSW, and I remember being blown away by the more experienced club members who had volunteered to be instructors. I think at one point, I made the comment "wow, you like, hit the apex every single time" and he looked at me as if to say "er yeah that's the idea dude"


    That was also the last straw for the VW though. My younger brother had a stock EF Civic and even though I thought my Bug was pretty modified, he ran rings around me that day. So I'd made up my mind right there and then to sell the VW and get into something that was more capable out of the box, so I saved up for an AE92 Corolla SX and that's pretty much the beginning of the whole JDM thing Years later, I was returning the favour and was chief driving instructor for the club, and organising trackdays for other members to enjoy
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    New Member japimport's Avatar
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    I loved every word of this blog update. Personally, i have never been to the track, but i really really do want to go, money is holding me back. oh and 2000 word assignments haha. well when both of those problems can be tossed aside i will be there, to fully experience the track in my baby, my dream car i saved from the tender age of 10 to buy (no joke), and my GT3/4/5 skills will hopefully be applied. oh and when i was on my L's i looked up so many youtube videos on heel and toe downshifting.... to me it is the definition of knowing how to drive a manual. learning that technique and applying it has been the highlight of my street driving life. Once again thanks for sharing with the group "CARaholics anonymous" and i would love to see you out on the track one day
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    New Member TGW92's Avatar
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    Just beginning to heel toe downshift and definitely cannot wait to go to the track!

    It allows for smooth shifting on the street but on the track you just seem to be able to take it so much further...

    Was considering a new Polo GTI (DSG) but I've rediscovered my love of manual cars so greatly that I don't think I'll ever give it up.

    Awesome read by the way

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