May 2017 Track Report
As promised, GGR’s Track Program is adding opportunities to learn “new” courses. This past weekend, one hundred and nine enthusiastic Porsche drivers (plus three BMWs, one Ferrari, one Miata, one McLaren, and one Mitsubishi Evo) commando raided Thunderhill Raceway in a coup d’ status quo. (The event was passively called “Adventure 54” given the course’s twenty seven turns.)
Thirty five drivers from the Pacific NW Region allied with GGR in the raid.
On Friday, we took to the two mile, ten turn “west” course (yes, that dreaded west course). Morning run sessions navigated the track in the normal (counter-clockwise) direction, and the afternoon sessions ran in the clockwise (facetiously dubbed “abnormal”) direction. A reprise of February’s teeth gnashing took place, but by mid afternoon, the drivers were sold on the clockwise direction.
On Saturday, after conquering the two mile course, we descended upon the east paddock, where we set up operations to run the full five mile, twenty seven turn course in the “normal” counter-clockwise direction. Use of the five mile course is infrequent for GGR, and for many of our drivers, this was their first effort at five mile laps. Everyone had started to understand that this particular weekend had a learning curve with a bit more rake in it than usual. Still, all but two drivers enjoyed themselves.
On Sunday, still on the learning curve, but now affecting everyone, we ran the five mile course in the “abnormal” direction. Your track chair confesses that he didn’t get a full night’s sleep the night before, wondering “will this really work?” We morphed the Sunday morning drivers’ meeting into a half hour session of parade-speed recon laps, led by the mighty Suburban Valdez, your track chair’s tow car. All the other instructors were interspersed in the pack of drivers to create short lead-follow groups, so all of our drivers (and instructors) were ready to go when the track went “hot” at 8:00 a.m.
Yes, we really ran it clockwise, and we learned that GGR is the first club to do so in all of Thunderhill history. An historic accomplishment! A few drivers were uncomfortable with it, but the overwhelming feedback was that it was a blast to drive! (This could become an annual Adventure!) Take a look at the historic first hot laps in the clockwise direction with this video from inside Heath Spencer’s Spec Boxster: https://youtu.be/dhsRjWBNiXk
The weekend was truly enhanced by the effort of the Pacific NW Region drivers making the trek from Seattle to attend. Ed Jenkins, PNWR’s past president, inquired of your track chair last year if they could bring a few dozen drivers to run at Thunderhill with us. Little did they know that they were going to be part of such a stiff weekend! Ed had these thoughts to share in an email following the event:
“I can’t thank you enough for making a fantastic track weekend possible for our club. I was told by one PNWR member that in all his days doing DE’s, last Sunday was the best day he has ever experienced. On the way home, I thought about the trepidations that the participants went through when thinking about doing something new “reverse course,” and then enjoying the satisfaction of conquering a new course. I look back now and think I prefer the challenge of the new direction.
There were so many good things that happened this weekend to learn from. The track tour/lead follow on Sunday was brilliant, and put the group at ease. One of my students after the first lap said, “I can breath now”. This track has so many facets that it is hard to take everything in as a new student. Those that stuck with us on Sunday were able to quickly adjust and put it all together. I see a regular Thunderhill weekend in both directions. Heck, this reverse order even confused Harry’s lap timer…lol!
A big thumbs up to all the GGR support staff is also in order, for without them these events wouldn’t happen. I look forward to the day when we can host your region to a taste of the Pacific Northwest. The Ridge Motorsports Park needs infrastructure including a good club house before that will happen. This is currently in the works, so it may not be long.
Finally, what everyone enjoyed as much as the driving were the new friendships made. Your club members were very welcoming and took the time to meet and talk to us Pacific Northwesteners. You made everyone feel comfortable and we sure did have fun.
It was great working with you and I look forward to more fun days with GGR.”
It’s the people! It’s YOU people!
Next up, in less than three weeks from now – Buttonwillow! This next event is a DE and Club Race. Registration for the DE is open here: https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/pca-ggr-de-4-buttonwillow-raceway-golden-gate-track-events-316378. Registration for the Club Race is at https://clubregistration.net. Our friends at the Central Coast Region will be running their DE on Friday May 17: https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/racin-round-willows-2019-buttonwillow-raceway-pca-california-central-coast-319753. Come out and make it another three day weekend!
Eyes up, drivers!
See you at the track!