Daily Archives: March 25, 2009

High Performance Driving

Lotus and me

I like to drive. I find it profoundly enjoyable to turn up the stereo, press my foot on the gas and maneuver around cars and other obstacles. When there’s no traffic and no cops, the lush landscape and curves on the 280 are thrillingly gorgeous! The combination of control, speed, and danger is such a rush –  I’ve always wondered the experience of driving on a race track, unfettered by speed limits and Sunday drivers. Well – I finally got my chance!

A few weekend’s ago, Dwayne’s co-worker, Mike Vincenty invited us out to the Infineon Raceway.  He teaches “high performance driving” – not racing – to people who sign up for a weekend of instruction and track driving with BMW CCA Club Racing. Pupils drive their own cars – we saw lots of  beemers: Mini’s,  M3’s, even a 70’s 2002! The most impressive machine had to be the Lotus, the most unexpected a Hyundai.

Mike took us around the track in his silver 2001 VW GTI – pretty much the same car that I drive every day. After a time or two around the track, he looked over at me and said: “I can’t believe you’re not screaming!” In all honesty I wasn’t scared – I can take 60-70 mph around a hairpin curve! Plus, I didn’t want to mess up his concentration or my experience by talking too much. This is seriously dangerous business.

Everyone has their reasons for being out there: people who want to drive their sports cars faster than 65mph, others training to be come race car drivers. Mike seemed less into the cars and the speed, and more into the teaching and practice of staying in control in a dynamic, high speed situation. Learning to think ahead, scan ahead, being prepared and consistent, and following the rules. All great lessons for a gal who is in the consulting business.

Would I ever go for it – take the classes? I don’t know. I will, however consider a first step – signing up for the prerequisite Car Control Clinic at Candlestick park. Vroom vroom.

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