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Why Waste Gas for Track Time?

November 4, 2009

Why Waste Gas for Track Time?

Porsche on Pocono
One major advantage of track time, I get the ‘need for speed’ and the compulsion to drive fast out of my system.  I also realize that track time is much better than challenging myself and others on the highway.  I know my capabilities and my limits, I learned and stretched my limits on the track.  At a track day we are all driving in the same direction, with spotters and professionals watching nearly every move.  If someone breaks a rule, drives erratically, loses control, causes damage or seems to be a danger they are asked to leave the track – no room for error.

Track events require you to qualify by driving with an instructor.  The instructor teaches the novice [or experienced driver new to the track] the personality of the track, where the spotters are, the problem areas and gives some pointers for getting the most from the track experience.  The instructor is also responsible for assuring you drive within your own limits and the limits of the car, are aware of the spotters and other drivers, follow the rules, don’t endanger others or yourself and are capable of safely operating the vehicle at high speeds.  You must earn a release from the instructor before being allowed on the track by yourself, or with passengers.

All of the drivers on the track are concentrating on one thing – driving.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the highways were filled with like minded people?

Track days don’t even start until after the track has been cleared of obstacles, and usually don’t run in inclement weather.  All factors are set to be as favorable as possible for the drivers.

On the highway we don’t have spotters and professionals watching every move.  There are people on the highways that barely qualified to drive a car, let alone at high speeds.  Think about it – there is no highway/high speed test for your driver’s license!

When driving my Lamborghini on the highway there is almost always someone [usually a kid] willing to challenge me in their sports car.  I won’t even play with them.  It is not the time or the place.  There are way too many variables: unaware drivers, bad road surfaces, unknown hazards, not to mention their skill level or the mechanical condition of their car.  Just because a car can go fast and is built for handling does not mean the driver is qualified.  There is no way to know what other people are doing in their cars.  If you are speeding through traffic and come upon someone talking on their cell phone, lost in a song on the radio or daydreaming you may startle them into making a disastrous move.  The unaware driver may blindly change lanes without the knowledge there is an  auto coming at them at breakneck speeds, causing calamity.

I look forward to track days as a way to release the speed demon that hides in my right foot, always itching for a chance to get out.  I try very hard to keep the speed demon restrained on the highways and byways – not because I am uncertain of my abilities as a driver – but because I know there are a lot of people on the roads doing things other than concentrating on driving.

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