February 2017 Track News

From the Blog

February 2017 Track News

Belting In

In July of 2002, I took ownership of my first and only brand new car – a black 996 C2. The only options were the Bose audio system and CD changer. Shortly thereafter, one of my employees, the one and only Howard Yao, excitedly proclaimed “Jim, you need to join the Porsche Club.” At the time, I feigned interest, as Howard was an incredibly valued employee, but there was no way I was going to join a car club. I felt reasonably out of my league by the mere virtue of driving a new 911, after a substantial history of owning and injecting a variety of mechanical steroids into a dozen or so modified air- and water-cooled VWs.

So, no, I felt no need to associate with a bunch of Porsche snoots that had never had to clean grease out from under their fingernails. It was bad enough that I had become, in the eyes of friends and family, one of “those” people.

Howard remained persistent. Howard remained an incredible employee. After every conversation we had about the architectural projects he was working on, he’d ask, ”When are you going to join the Porsche Club?” Ugh. I caved. I clenched my teeth. Howard made sure that the region I chose was GGR.

In March of the following year, GGR was holding one of its time trial weekends at Thunderhill, preceded that Friday by what was then called a “high speed school.” Hmm. I wondered. I pondered. (I dared not consult Howard, knowing full well that his most gentle response would be “DO IT!!!!”) But I trusted Howard. Even without asking, I trusted what I knew would be Howard’s forthright encouragement. So, I signed up. I anted up. I drove up. I saddled up, with the amazing Claude Leglise as one of my instructors. It poured down rain the entire day. Even with a 270 off the apex of turn 11, it was perfect. Hook, line, and sinker, as they say.

Fast forward 15 years, and at present I can easily and enthusiastically state that my short (compared to many other wonderful members’) history with GGR and its track series has been, without fail, an amazing experience, shared with many amazing people who want each event to be amazing for every participant. (Well, there was that black flag epidemic at Buttonwillow last May, but we’ll consider that a point of growth for those that were there, myself as CDI included…)

As your new track chairman, I am humbled, and consider it an honor to be elected to the position. Our track series has a tremendous history of excellence, but be that as it may, my eyes and ears are wide open to ways it can continue to be improved. Email me, call me, tackle me, take my line to a corner if you have an idea or concern that you’d like us to consider.

Fortunately for all of us tracksters, the great majority of GGR’s track team is returning to be those familiar, reassuring faces we will see at our track events. In addition, we welcome our new co-Chief Driving Instructors – Scott Kalkin and Brad Williams.

Our 2018 track events schedule is complete (thank you Richard French), kicked off with our annual instructor training and DE at Thunderhill February 10-11 (which we’ve expanded from one day to two). Click the link below for more information or to register:


Our first DE at which we will accommodate students will be at our Thunderhill event March 24-25, with an accompanying PCA Club Race. (Does anyone else around here besides me like the smell of race gas exhaust?) You will find all of this year’s track events on the GGR website.

Welcome to 2018, Drivers! See you at the track!

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