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Premium Member
2013 Challenger SRT8
1,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
just took me 6 months to share this video

the night before reaching the track, my family nest was shattered so I was wondering how I would manage staying focused for 24 hours of track in three days

i had 400 miles each way to think of it;

the roar of the 392 Hemi on Magnaflow speakers helped me forget;

the dream of racing in a professional series with a Challenger was in front of me and no one could rob me of it, not even the one I had chosen to be the mother of my kids, ours really

after a few hours of triple digit offending DOT speed, I met the Skip Barber crew;

they took a look at me and looked at the car; number 3 was for me; it was just out of the shop;
it was his number; the mechanic looked at me with convincing eyes and said: "that's a special number, you know";

i just acknowledged remembering this painful moment we all witnessed and prayed I would be up to the task of being a good student and honor the number

mechanics at Skip Barber are a team of 4, they work about 18 hours a day, spent 2 to 3 days a week on the road, work 3 to 5 days and sleep consistently in hotels, rain, shine, hot weather alike; days off? sorry not here

Mechanics are with you at every lap and on the track managing your car, managing its tuning and your progress around the track and on the track literally. R E S P E C T
i only have admiration for these guys who will do anything really to make your car perform to the level of service you expect

then come the instructors; Terry Earwood had the lead of that school accompanied by pure professional racers; Terry is originally a drag racer and then joined road racing

he wrote the book of road racing school essentially

funny guy, training FBI agents and LEO alike with evasive car maneuver techniques when under attack/threat, he is an academy all by himself;

Jason, Jeff, Mike were nothing but to Terry's level with tremendous amount of knowledge, right there for you to download

for some reason Terry loved the fake Rolex I wore (it has an automatic movement though...); an inseparable gift, I bought him one and sent it to him when I reached home 4 days later;
he was pleased, surprised

The Pitt Race track was just opened after a $18m extension; we were the second group to inaugurate the track; the owners, manufacturers of dog collars shipping 50000 units a day worldwide decided to make that track in the middle of the Beaver valley special, very Beaver special.

19 turns, almost 3 miles with elevation points that track had plenty to kick our asses and show us who is the boss; it is kind of a Watkins Glen at the door of the Ohio state

after they removed the throttle pedal, the seat, the clutch pedal and adjusted the brake pedal so I could properly heel toe, i made my way into the car; the 4 gokart champions who were barely 12 years of age were cracking up; 6'4 220 lbs against 5'1 and 100 lbs, the lightest wins;

with the mazda 4 inline boosting 140hp I had already been defeated on time trial without even driving

we headed to the autocross, 2 laps in, first spin, the car feels great but it is a short wheel base....who said you could unload the rear like that????
stay in lane man,,,,duh ok....

heart is beating, i see the wheels of my car, i have this tiny steering wheel in my hands; yes i forgot everything. I am just starting to live my dream

first day complete; autocross, class, and then all afternoon on the track; 85 degrees outside it is conveniently hot....engines are running at 165 deg; pistons are laughing at us we are so lame...ok may be not the

day 2, it is track day, all day, studying different sections of the track;
it is brand new track so no one really know the lines;
even the instructors are discussing the turns not all agreeing on the approach; discussion lasted may be a mere 15 seconds; professionals sort shit out quick

we work on braking, heel toe, again and again and again, threshold braking, trail braking, passing, wheel to wheel driving, hours after hours of it until we get back into our cars at the end of the second day and I can't even drive the Challenger;

I have completely reset my driving feel; what I do with my feet, eyes, coordination of limbs and eyes even; completely changed; a clutch? what a clutch? what's that? oh sh*t yeah the clutch....i forgot

that reset sensation? that you will never forget

then last day; it is graduation day and not everyone will graduate because Barber is like that; if you don't make it then you don't make it; it is not a school where everyone gets to graduate; only the top tier and a couple more may be

excited, sad and anxious; the challenge is on and the fun is over in 8 hours; that sucks

Terry cracks more jokes Southern style; I half get them because English is not my first language and I was not born here; but here, it is my home, my country so I try my best

we work on trail braking; for some reason getting into a turn at 80/85 mph and trail braking the turn does not sound easy to me;
quickly Jeff and I realize that while I am aggressive and committed to make it happen I need to grow more balls

so I go around the track one more time, back to this turn, thinking I have only 30 seconds to grow a bigger pair if I want to make the cut

ah! already here; ok then, third gear, clutch, up shift and rev baby engine to 6400 revs down the hill to the turn, look, hard brake, release brakes in the turn with the famous Terry's trademark Red Neck steering technique;

I was not born here so I don't quite get it; sorry O, let's do it again; it's better but not enough

I go around again; I build big pairs of cahoonas in 30 seconds; get into the process and then Jeff looks at me and screams: IT WAS PERFECT

so yes I had experienced what it is to trail brake with a car without a brake booster and without ABS; what a treat, what a difference; job accomplished

at this point I think I have put away all of my track demons away just to be reminded I had not left madam "early apexing" in the infield; behind, way behind

early apexing was like my wife; she loves you so bad that she won't leave you but will cheat on you because you have not been such a good pilot of life; so yes sh&t happens; move on I guess, video mark is 5:36

the video starts at 1.52; the group takes off and I join later, pass with pride....until early apexing, too much speed into the turn, oh sh*t moment, heavy application of brakes, light rear, steering input to "make" the turn, 360 spin;

that my friend in the second lap is a BIG NO NO in racing; you don't want to be that guy; ie: 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona and crash in the pit lane exit; not a proud moment; yes, you don't want to be that guy

on my way out, the school invited me to be in the Skip Barber MX5 race series as tall dudes don't do Barber Formulas...

Every day when I wake up I miss the feel of the air pressure on my helmet,

there is something worth living such as open wheel driving; any open wheel for that matter;

it is a must to try in one's lifetime, seriously

when you are at triple digit speed and take that bend, you know you have to be focused and graceful with your every inputs: steering, throttle, braking, shifting; after all there is only 4 small tubes and fiberglass between you and the tire padded guard rail

these cars do, EXACTLY as they told...and more

Keep well everyone and my apologies if this essay bored you to death



9,456 Posts
That's one long ass track. You did great. Your lines were great. From watching the video I get a feeling these cars are not balanced well. I noticed both over and under steer issues. Don't like heavy braking. Slightest jerk and the car loses its balance easily. I also get a feeling the tires are not the stickiest. I guess you really have to be smooth with these cars. But I could be wrong. Just what I took away from watching the video carefully. Thanks for sharing.

Premium Member
2013 Challenger SRT8
1,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
you are wlecome

yes wasp392, the tires are BFG Comp 2 are not sticky but they are a great choice for the school; they have rigid side wall, can take the abuse, do hook somewhat lol....and can do rain

cheap to get for the school;

the vehicle is a very short wheel base all it wants to do is spin

so it turns and steers great but you have to be great with balancing the car

the main focus of the school and of this specific vehicle is to learn to be smooth and balancing it; as such it has street tires. no wing, no downforce; nothing to help you; so it is for you to be learning to drive in track condition with nothing to help you

no ABS, no ESP, no Aero tuning;

on the other hand I got to learn and experience to stick in the throttle when the car started to spin;

so instead of braking it teaches you to put power down to shift the weight back onto the rear and for that .... the only way to do that.... is to accelerate;

the steering is direct so yes one movement of your wrist and the car reacts

take it easy all

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