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About N546RV

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    Track Freak

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    Brookshire, TX
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  1. You may have a much shorter timeline than that if you have some knowledge of car control going in and you keep the ears-open attitude. I progressed a lot faster than this, though I had a lot of years watching road racing and getting a feel for the fundamentals before I was ever on a track. Basically, the "milestones" in my "career" were: Event #3: First time in blue group, part-time solo approved on Sunday Event #8: Passed yellow checkride Event #11: Approved for full-time solo in yellow Event #15: Passed red checkride Obviously that's just one data point and isn't going to be representative of anyone else's situation, but it's an illustration of how things can go. The fact that you're spending a lot of time trying to learn the track beforehand indicates to me that your head is in the right place. Some other bits of advice: Take advantage of the lunchtime parade laps. It's a good time to drive the track without the "pressure" of going at speed, and you can practice hitting your marks. By the same right, always try and drive a perfect line around the track, even if it's a warmup or cooldown lap. Also try to get a ride-along with an advanced student or instructor at some point during the weekend. Parade laps and such are good for getting a feel for the track and finding reference points, but there's no substitute for seeing all this at speed, and seeing it while not worrying about driving the car is extremely useful.
  2. Note: all of what I'm about to write only applies to TDE, I don't have experience with other orgs. Honestly, and speaking as someone who's come all the way up over the past few years, advancing a run group isn't as big of a thing as you might think in terms of driving experience. Though I will say that making it into red, I felt like I'd "arrived" in some sense of the word. The main advantage of getting out of green is having a lot more free time on your weekends. The green group spends a ton of time in the classroom, though on Sunday Rick tends to be a bit more lax with students who've been through his green classes before. You also get eight full-speed sessions instead of seven (the first green session is all full-course yellow, no helmets, your instructor drives the first couple laps to orient you to the track environment). Hopping up from blue to yellow, I was half expecting to find myself in over my head, but it honestly felt about the same as blue, just with a narrower range of skill/awareness by the other drivers. Blue seems to have a wide variance - at one end you have the part-time solo students who are about ready to go yellow, on the other end you have students who just made it out of green. Blue is also usually the hardest group to get registered for - it fills up super fast. Yellow to red was a similar theme, it didn't feel super different, at least not until I got my first point on a turn entry. Feels a bit odd the first time to make one of those passes. All that is to say, it's fun to think of your progress in terms of moving up in run groups, but don't get too hung up on it. Also, remember that moving up has a lot less to do with your driving skill and way more with your awareness and safety on-track. We all wanna go fast, but demonstrating your ability to play well with others is the Real Big Thing.
  3. Was definitely a gut punch when I saw Rick share this on FB. I never shared a car with him, but he was present for the track-noob event that Track Time Performance put on not too long before my first event, and I chatted with him on several occasions thereafter. So while I can't claim to know him well, the impressions I got were always solid. He seemed really into sharing the knowledge and helping people. RIP
  4. I believe Track Time charges $25 for the inspection, so it probably comes down to whether the extra drive time involved is worth it to save $50 or so.
  5. Yup, they have 100 octane there. I want to say it's like $6-7/gallon. I looked at the price one time, had thought about running a tank of 100 just to see how much fun my auto boost adjustment would cause. I didn't end up doing that due to the price. People definitely leave their vehicles at the track overnight. Pretty sure they close/lock the gate in the early evening. For tech inspections, here's a good recent thread talking about what's available and where: Edit: lol, that was your thread, I didn't even notice it at first.
  6. This is my sixth Houston summer, and I think I've finally made peace with it. The last few years I pretty much found any reason to stay inside during the summer, and nothing got done. This year I'm committing hard to trying to get my airplane project done, which means just going out and working on it, and damn the sweat. Just gotta take frequent breaks. I still don't do any track events basically from June to August, though. Anyway, I'm signed up for the 14/15 event, hope to see you there!
  7. I did this on my E92. After trying and failing repeatedly to find a heel-toe technique that worked for my pedal position, I decided some modifications were in order. What I ended up doing was ordering three OEM rubber pedal pads. I started by gluing two of them together, figuring I'd see how that worked out and only add the third if needed (I'd rather not put any more stuff here than I have to). Turns out that just adding that extra half-inch of pedal thickness made a huge difference. Obviously the big concern here is making sure whatever you install isn't going to fall off at an inopportune time. I used copious amount of rubber cement and so far my "extension" is holding up nicely.
  8. N546RV


    I see similar feathering on my tires. My assumption has always been that it's the result of longitudinal forces being vastly different (way more braking force than accelerating). Seems especially noticeable when the tires are new, ie lots of tread block depth to be squirming around.
  9. Niiiice. One of these days® I want to build an Exocet. First I gotta finish the airplane project though...
  10. Meanwhile, at MSR Houston, the various awnings that were damaged 18 months or so ago still haven't ben replaced.
  11. N546RV

    Wall Art

    Can't be accurate, all I see are normal hand tools, not a BMW Special Tool 1986434585982304 in sight.
  12. lol, well, I'm carrying like 85mph through that kink, pretty sure I can get that up with some work... I used to go way deep into diamond's edge before turning in, it was a more comfortable line for me when I was first running CW, but was consistently a spot where I seemed to lose time to other cars. This past weekend I finally worked on bringing that line in a bit. I'm still displacing the first apex by half a car or so, but ending up with a much tighter line around the second apex. I also started going down to second again now that I've done some brake pedal "mods" to make heel-toe work better, and that let me get much better drive out of there. Previously I was running in third and doing a fun turbo-lag timing game to get decent drive, but it was always a slow spot. Actually the pedal work I did helped a lot, I used to be reluctant to upshift if I could avoid it, this past weekend I started hitting fourth gear into the carousel and through gut check. I used to just lift a bit to stay at the top of third to avoid dealing with a downshift.
  13. Yeah, the issue of braking after that turn has definitely occurred to me. Right now, at the speed I'm carrying through, the space I have to get the car straight and then brake for the slow part feels "cozy" but not "tight," if that makes any sense. But I do think that if I start carrying much more speed through the sweeper, that zone is going to get interesting. I'd figured, as I think you're alluding, that I'd likely get to a point where I'd have to start braking before getting the car completely straight. I suppose next time I'll work on braking less and less and see how things go.
  14. Been doing my usual post-event Youtube searches for interesting videos (ok fine, videos that have me in them). Ran across Lance in his Fiesta (who I rode with at MSRC earlier this year), and one major difference I noted comparing his driving to mine was his entrance into the sweeper just before Diamond's Edge. We both come to the end of the back straight with relatively similar speed (~110 for him, ~115 for me), but whereas I'm getting in a brake application to scrub off some speed, he doesn't seem to be touching the brakes at all, just lifting and letting the turn-in scrub off speed. Thinking it through, this does seem like potentially a much faster way through the turn. I don't think I've recently felt that the car is getting wild when I turn in after braking, which tells me that I'm probably overbraking. And it does seem like replacing the braking with an early/slow turn-in might just work. Basically, I'm just curious what everyone else is doing here. Heavy brake, quick brush brake to set the front, or just a lift? Obviously there will be some variance here depending on what kind of speed you're carrying down the straight. I think I might make this one of my things to work on next time I run CW.
  15. Seems to be back now.
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