[200q20v] Sole audi at bmwcca's Columbus weekend at Pocono
brandon at cardinalventures.com
Tue Oct 10 16:41:27 EDT 2000
A quick trip report: I spent the weekend w/my wife at the Pocono speedway
where the NJ beemer club has an annual driving school and races. There were
only two run groups, since the racers were also qualifying and competing on
the same track. Some observations:
The event: Paul R, you have every reason to crow about the quality and
consistency of Audi's events. I'd heard a lot about how professional and
refined the bmw club was, but at this event at least, the focus was on
racing and drivers' ed really got neglected. Classroom was a flat out waste
and my wife's instructor was dismal. Secondly, while there were a lot of
great car guys ('n girls), and more families than any Audi event I've done,
there was also a large minority of those focused on auto one-upsmanship.
Paul's comments about club directors struggling with car owners who are
piloting seriously fast machinery certainly apply here. _Most_ cars in my
run group, and many in my wife's had R1 tires. The weekend's one incident
was a blue e36 M3 which was totaled when the driver lost it, laid on the
throttle, it hooked up, and shot into the inside of the corner into a
concrete barrier. I saw it on it's trailer ready to go home next morning,
and it had R1s and a Dinan supercharger. (both airbags deployed,
instructor's helment broke windshield anyway, badly adjusted 4 point
harness, driver and instructor were fine) Maybe I'm in no position to cast
stones here, but it seems to me that you can have plenty of fun and learn
better with street tires and 230HP than gumballs and 350hp.
The track: They use a 1.4 mile infield course, which uses turn 3 (I think)
of the raceway tri-oval as the "straight." My speed at the end of the
straight was 115-120mph. Turn one is a very high speed right hander, just a
brush on the brakes to settle the car. Then there is just enough time to
get the car straight before braking very hard for turn 2, a hard, late apex
right. I've been to only three other tracks Lime Rock, Mid OH, Thunderhill,
and this was by far the least interesting, mainly because it is very flat.
It was also very chewed up in places. The banking was a lot of fun, it is a
strange sensation to be going flat out while turning. And hey, any day out
on the track is better than being at home cleaning the basement.
The eS2: I admit to having felt a fair amount of pressure as the sole Audi
at the event. I can't out-drag an M3 from a stop (I've tried) Royal
predicted I'd get beaten in the twisties. No worries! The eS2 was the
fastest car on the track, and that's not camoflaged self congratulations:
Even where fast cars behind me got better entrances to the straight, I'd be
100-200 feet ahead by the turn in. This included all manner of '01 3's,
M3s, an M5, two M6s, and a lightly prepared late RX7 (probably turning in
the best lap times) I really enjoyed my instructors' (long story, I had
three) reactions. In the corners, I think it is mostly driver not car that
matters, and I'm the weaker link of our partnership, but on the whole we
acquitted ourselves just fine. I was really impressed by a 318i which was
staying ahead comfortably. It later turned out to be a de-fendered e30 m3
with R1s and a 318 badge. A quick plug for BIRA system2 big brakes: this
was my first experience with full race pads, and my o my they do haul the
beast down quickly. No one was braking later, and my instructer finally
requested that I back off at the end of the big straight.
I think my experience was significant, because the eS2 is basically a stock
1991 Audi S2 with big brakes and stiff shocks and a chip, running with cars
designed in the next decade with more out-of-the box design bias toward the
track. I was on street tires with stock CQ sway bars (S2s were bigger).
One of my instructors, Ben Greisler, was co-driver for Alex Erisoty, who
campaigns the 90 in SCCA Pro Rally. He admired the car's handling, and made
the comment a couple of times while patiently correcting my sloppy lines, "
I think four wheel drive is really saving you in a couple of places..."
Audi missed a major marketing opportunity by failing to emphasize it's
sporting nature in the early 90's.
All in all, a real blast. Car nuts are car nuts whatever their allegience.
I met a nice guy whose 535 was apart and who's buddy had loaned him a C5
Vette for the weekend. I learned a lot about beemers. When I ran low on
Mobil 1 (oil showed halfway up hash marks, but pressure dropping in right
handers), someone was right there with a quart, when I ran out of gas (since
I shared with my wife in back-to-back run groups, that great car was
essentially doing four 40minute runs both days!) someone was happy to sell
me for cheap the 3 gal left in their jug of 104. And the best thing about
the beemer club is that they get drivers ed dates on weekends! I'm looking
forward to doing more of them.
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