August 2019 Track Report

From the Blog

August 2019 Track Report

Kahuna!

Drivers!

Your track chair once had, several decades ago, a client who was more demanding than what your track chair was accustomed to.  Did your track chair like it?  Heavens no.  Was the client entitled to be as demanding as she was?  Of course.  Did your track chair change his perspective to meet the client’s demanding nature? Certainly.  Did the client then move the chains and become more demanding? You bet.  Did your track chair like it?  Eventually.  The nature of the client-architect relationship grew in all its important aspects as she and he challenged each other to always bring their best.  Their respect for one another grew with each gauntlet thrown and each challenge met.  They wanted each other to succeed, and they helped each other do so.

Unexpectedly, your track chair’s perspective was moved to a new point of reference – to always challenge what he thought was acceptable or “successful,” with ongoing searches to question the status quo, question that definition of “success” (in himself as much as in others’ accomplishments).

Your track chair is cognizant of the emotional effects of “discovery,” that when we try something new for the first time, we enjoy the newness of the experience and the growth we feel when we learn that there is something good that exists which we didn’t know existed before.  We typically rationalize that the new thing is “good” because we’ve blown past the objectionable things while in our state of surprise and celebration (e.g., Thunderhill 5 Mile in reverse, Buttonwillow in reverse).

Your track chair is more than willing to drop himself into the deep end of “discovery,” as he knows that the experience will move his point of reference.  Even more than more than willing, your track chair is fairly intentional about it.

Your track chair’s most recent deep end opportunity began forming a couple of years ago, when he was within earshot of a conversation between your Race Control (Dr. Thompson) and a PCA National Club Racing Steward about PCA’s wish / hope / dream that GGR would host a PCA Club Race event at the famed Laguna Seca Raceway.  This was a pipe dream at best.  Everyone knows how popular Laguna Seca is.  The events GGR already hosts there sell out.  All dates sell out at Laguna, but for a race weekend?  This would require even more begging than usual, as a 92 dB sound limit would not suffice.  A 103 dB limit would be impossible to obtain.  Laguna just doesn’t have that many 103 dB dates to sell. Referencing that overheard conversation, eye rolls commenced, accompanied by the usual “Good luck with that” cynicism.

As “discovery” is joyful, “dialogue” can be downright dangerous.  (Deep ends are like Kryptonite to your track chair.)  There is a quote by the English writer Samuel Johnson “If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.”  Well, Dr. Johnson wasn’t aware of the recovery required for knee replacement surgery, and in April of last year (“Belting In” blog), your track chair, while planted after said knee replacement, picked up the phone to the PCA National Club Racing Chair, and dialogue began with an analysis of possible, feasible dates.  (What was your track chair smoking?)

Over the next six months, much dialogue took place with many knowledgeable and a few influential people, and in a call from Laguna Seca management, a 103 dB weekend date was secured.  Your track chair was completely stunned, much like the character Bill McKay at the end of the movie “The Candidate.”

Your GGR Track Team (David Bunch, Scott Kalkin, Ken Mack, Paul Marty, Sharon Neidel, Tim Smith, Heath Spencer, John Teasley, Dan Thompson, Michael Tsang, et al) leapt into action to start planning the event. Fifty-three bazillion emails and phone calls later, we arrived at Laguna’s turn 5 lakebed area on July 17 to stage all the race car transports before raiding the paddock.  Over forty volunteers were on hand to launch GGR’s first “Kahuna at Laguna” PCA Club Racing weekend.

The event drew 80 Porsche racers from across the U.S., including drivers, their cars, and support teams from as far away as Maryland, Florida, the Midwest, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.  The racers were grouped into three race groups, including a dedicated Vintage group, comprised of ’89 and older air cooled cars. (So very cool.)  110 DE drivers supported the event as well, woven into two very fast run groups.

Thursday (July 18) was the first day of on-track work. For the racers, it was a “Test & Tune” day.  For the DE drivers, it was the first of four 103 dB DE days.  Kids in a candy store!

Friday held all of the practice and qualifying sessions for the racers.  Saturday held the first two sprint races for all three groups, and Sunday held the third sprint race and a one hour enduro.

On Saturday afternoon, GGR’s track series platinum sponsor BR Racing posted the photo above.  Your track chair, in full “can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees” mode to that point, needed to sit down to take in what this photo displayed.  This event, this “Kahuna,” has moved the chains of GGR’s track program, and your track chair didn’t see it coming.

Let your track chair be clear, however, that this event would have never been possible without the incredible history of GGR’s track program and the dozens and dozens of volunteers, track chairs, CDI’s, sponsors, and participants’ tireless efforts and support.  You know who you are.  The Kahuna event only moved the chains from an already terrific field position.  Many, many thanks to all who have preceded us and their fifty years of prep work!

We’re already working on Kahuna II.

Eyes up, drivers!  Eyes up, track chair!

See you at the track!

Jim

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