Drivers Ed News

On Track October 2011

 NNJR is fortunate to have a number of long-time supporters. One of those is Paul Miller Porsche in Parsippany. They have been very good to us over the years, and this season was no exception. Paul Miller sponsored the track dinner at our August DE event at Watkins Glen, and also provided hats, model cars, and a cool desk clock that were given away at the dinner. This was in addition to their dinner sponsorship of Ladies Day at Pocono and for our annual picnic in August. Next time you are near the dealership, stop by to say ‘thank-you’ to Paul Gavel and the rest of the Paul Miller staff.

A DAY AT PCA NATIONAL DE INSTRUCTOR TRAINING

It is funny how time goes so quickly. Especially when you are having fun. Last year, I was a DE instructor for Metro NY and was also invited by NNJR (Northern New Jersey Region) to be an instructor candidate for the 2011 season. In addition to being a Metro NY and NNJR member, I am also a PCA-Hawaii member. 
 I attended the NNJR DE NJMP event on May 16-17, 2011 and unbeknownst to me, the PCA National DE Instructor Program, which was developed and taught by the PCA National DE Chair, Pete Tremper, was given to the NNJR instructor candidates at this event. Thank you again, Pete.
 This intensive all day, National Program was designed to provide a basics of instructor training by use of three on-track mentoring sessions followed by a check out ride and three in-class theory and use of real world experiences followed by a ten question “quiz”. The well experienced Pete provided many funny and practical stories about actual instructor experiences. Many stories included his good friend and current PCA president, Many Alban. Some very interesting stories were revealed. My NNJR mentor instructor, Alan Soberman, pretended and talked to me like a track ‘newbie” and performed crazy maneuvers on track to simulate the beginner student. 

On Track September 2011

September is unfortunately the early close of our 2011 Driver Education season. After a 3-day visit to Lightning at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) September 9-11, the last event of the season is the advanced/solo event at Watkins Glen September 19-20. Many of us are lamenting that the traditional end to our season at VIR in November will not happen this year, but the track has promised us a primo date for next year. Going back to July, there was a momentary glimmer of hope that we would be able to get our date back, but the glimmer faded rather quickly. There were a few NNJR members who had gone to Mont Tremblant a few days before our July 15-17 event at Mosport. They had heard that the race that had bumped our date had been cancelled. I started to think that we might have a chance to resurrect VIR; there was still plenty of time to promote the event and based on the number of people who approached me at Mosport about getting the date back, still plenty of interest. Upon return to the states and checking on the situation, it turns out that yes, a race had indeed been cancelled, but no, it was not the one that was scheduled for our usual date in November. By the way, the Mosport event was fantastic – great weather, great people, and one of the best tracks in North America. Keep this one in mind for next year. As I write this now, final planning is underway for the August event at Watkins Glen. The event is a complete sellout, with waiting lists for every group, including instructors. I mention this as a reminder for next year: sign up the first day an event opens, you will always be accepted!

On August Track 2011

August 5-7 is the date for one of our most popular events, Watkins Glen. Referred to as “the greatest track on the planet” by racer and driving coach David Murry, the moniker is something I cannot dispute. As you read this, NNJR is enjoying three days of great driving at this fabulous venue. Earlier in the year I wrote about the history of some of the tracks we visit, and this month seems like the opportune time to talk about the rich history of Watkins Glen. Before I delve into the history books, a reminder that registration for Lightning at New Jersey Motorsports Park is now open and closes August 26. September 9-11 will be our last trip to NJMP, so please sign up soon so you are not waitlisted. The Lightning circuit is fast and fun, with many drivers preferring this track to its sister track Thunderbolt. Registration is also open for solo/advanced drivers at Watkins Glen September 19 and 20 (and David Murry will be in attendance for driver coaching).
A quick look back to June had NNJR at Mid Ohio for three days. As opposed to some dodgy weather last year, the conditions this year were ideal and some drivers new to Mid Ohio found out why this track is a favorite of many, including myself. Last year when I wrote about Mid Ohio, I caused a bit of a stir by trying to dispel the notion that the signature right-hander after the back straight was called the “Jump Turn”. Locals refer to this particular turn as “Madness”. At the event, I ran into a few of the long-time local drivers and queried them on the “Jump Turn”. Apologies to a few, but I was vindicated. The turn in question is most certainly “Madness” and there is no “Jump Turn” at Mid Ohio (sorry Bill). Actually, if there was a jump turn, that distinction would more appropriately go to Turn 11, which is the right turn that exits to Thunder Valley, the short straight on the back part of the course. Turn 11 used to have more of a crest to it, and cars used to hop over the hill and take a jump to the left. After the re-paving a few years ago, the crest was flattening so the “jumpiness” was significantly reduced.