High G-forces

From the Blog

High G-forces

<p>An aerial scene from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ </p>

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Dear GGR Members, there’s been a long lull in the track series. Between the last event at Laguna in early June to the next three-day weekend at Sonoma (August 26, 27, 28), that’s almost a 3-month gap! In some ways it’s a good thing, summer vacations, spending time with your non-GGR friends, working on the car, waiting for fresh tires to show up… like I said, sometimes it’s good to have a little break.

Personally, during this time, I have not done much car-related at all. I attended a couple of cars and coffee events and instructed at the GGR/Lotus Club Autocross School at Cow Palace, which brought back a lot of memories. I had autocrossed for over 20 years but had not done so in quite a while. So as usual, I deal with imposter syndrome sometimes. Even when I was a very competitive autocrosser, during the first run of the first event of the season, I would sit there at the starting line, waiting for the green flag to drop, thinking to myself “Will I remember the course? Will I be able to put down a competitive time? Could I control the sliding of the car? Can I do this??? But every time, the moment that green flag waves, I am off like the proverbial bat from hell. I attack every turn, an inch from the cones, brake at the last possible moment, and put that throttle to the floor as long as I could. I crush it almost every time, yet there was always doubt. So if you’re like me, if you have doubt, if you suffer from imposter syndrome, consider trying an autocross or track event. See if you have the skills of car control!

If you’re wondering what the difference is between driving an autocross and driving on the track? Well, if you’ve watched Top Gun: Maverick recently, I believe that gives you a clue. In general, watching the jet fighters in the air is like driving on the track. You harness this powerful machine and you make lines and arcs at high speeds, generating high G-forces. It’s fast, and it’s fluid, and it’s beautiful – that is track driving at its best. Remember the scene in the movie where Maverick has to fly through the tight canyons and he needs to do it within 2 minutes and 30 seconds? The flight is super intense, he slams the plane into turns inches away from the mountains, every movement is violent, he fights to sit upright amongst all the changes in direction, he crests the final steep mountain top on the verge of blacking out – that is autocross driving at its best. At least that is how I explained it to my wife.

So if any of this sounds interesting, please consider joining us at the world-famous Sonoma Raceway. There is plenty of space left and we have worked hard to expand our instructor corps to be able to take on more students.


See you at the track!

Howard Yao


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