Track Report: Discovery Mode

From the Blog

Track Report: Discovery Mode

Drivers!

Your track chair is so incredibly appreciative of the drivers and racers who have helped GGR’s efforts to introduce (or re-introduce, as is applicable) “new” and/or “rarely visited” courses this year.  Hot on the heels of discovering the fun of driving Thunderhill’s 5 mile course in the clockwise direction (a historic first for Thunderhill), we invaded Buttonwillow Raceway to run it in the counter-clockwise direction, something we hadn’t done in more than ten years.  It was virtually another “new track” for all of us.

Our annual visit to Buttonwillow always includes pairing up with the Central Coast Region, who runs their DE the preceding Friday. Central Coast was more than willing to also run their event in the counter-clockwise direction, as they actually prefer to run it counter-clockwise.

The Buttonwillow event included GGR’s second Club Race of 2019, so it was also a “new track” for the racers and the PCA National Club Racing stewards.  We also had a good number of Porsche Racing Club (PRC) members come and race with us. Their presence enhanced the already good racing at GGR events.

Very similar to our April event at Thunderhill, there were a number of drivers expressing concern with driving in the counter-clockwise direction, and just as things transpired at Thunderhill, by mid-Saturday morning at Buttonwillow, drivers were expressing how much fun the counter-clockwise direction was!

Can you imagine how well your track chair slept that Saturday night?

Your track chair realizes that when we are in “discovery” mode, we have a tendency to initially assess the new thing as “good,” or “acceptable,” or even “not bad.”  If we went back and ran Buttonwillow counter-clockwise again in June, some of that thrill will have worn off and have been replaced, hopefully, by some attained satisfaction of executing the various corners and laps more competently and faster than before.  Your track chair hopes that an ever-increasing variety of courses and corners results in not your mere familiarity with where to accelerate, brake, turn left and turn right at each course, but results in your increased confidence in your car of choice as well as in your skills in how to unleash your car’s abilities to do those things.  As Marcel Proust would say, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  Fyodor Dostoyevsky would say “It’s the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.”

Not often spoken of, one of the benefits of driving a course in the reverse direction is not merely to learn a new course, but to seize the opportunity to see and study each corner from the “other side,” most typically to see where, when run in the “normal” direction, each corner’s exit is and its corresponding turn in point.  A well known technique in learning a new course (or being more versed at a familiar course) is to walk the course backward.  This is not dissimilar to walking an autocross course, and turning around and looking back at the line you first thought was correct, and making the appropriate adjustments to improve that line.

A challenging part of this Spring’s track schedule has been hosting events each month.  Six years ago we would have completed two events at this point in the year.  In 2019, we have completed four so far.  As such, your track chair is also (aka, always) incredibly appreciative of the GGR volunteer track team.  “Back-to-back” events a mere three weeks apart is tough to do, and your track team arrived at Buttonwillow smiling and ready to host another fun event.  Now we get a well-earned couple of months’ rest (a term used loosely, as we are scurrying around prepping for the Kahuna at Laguna in July)!

For the rest of the 2019 track season, there will be no more “new” courses.  No new plays to learn.  No new pitches to hit.  What does that mean?  It means your track chair is thinking about new stuff for 2020!

Calendar Check (upcoming events):

Eyes up, drivers!

See you at the track!

Jim

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