slivka.com > Trips > Driving School at Pacific Raceways, 05/29/2007

Ben, Cindy, John, and Peter spent a day learning how to drive on a racetrack!
ProFormance Racing School operates at the Pacific Raceways (was know as SIR) in Kent, WA.

Ben brought his 2005 CLK 500 cabriolet, Cindy brought her 2002 Porsche Carrera 4S, John brought his 2001 Jaguar XK8, and Peter brought his 1996 BMW M3.

We increased the pressure in our tires by 5psi, filled up our gas tanks, and arrived at the track by 8:00 a.m. We were assigned to Group 2, and we alternated with Group 1 on the track. Each group had roughly 8 drivers.

After an hour lecture by Don Kitch, Jr., we went through a series of drills to become more familiar with our cars under extreme acceleration, braking, turning, and maneuvering.

Just before lunch each of us was assigned an experienced driving instructor. The instructor drove 2 laps of the track to give us the feel for the "racing line", and then we got to drive 2 laps.

After a break for lunch, we had three more ~20 minute lapping sessions, alternating with Group 1. Our goal for each session was to get smoother -- squeezing on and off the gas, squeezing on and off the brakes, minimizing our steering input.

The most surprising thing was how capable our brakes were -- we learned to get comfortable with screaming into a turn, breaking hard (but not triggering the ABS), and then squeezing the throttle to turn in toward the apex and exit out to the next turn. On the last lapping session, Ben managed to hit 125 mph after turn 1 and just before the braking zone for turn 2.

Don was right about being smooth to go faster!

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