Tag: race track

Travel Swellness: The Porsche Experience

Porsche Experience 1

Um, drive a Porsche on a track? Hell, yes! As I’ve only ever been in a Porsche once before, when I was invited out to a track day with Porsche Canada at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, I couldn’t pass up the chance because this isn’t an opportunity many people get to have!

We arrived bright and early on an surprisingly windy and somewhat chilly day. I was glad I’d grabbed an extra layer before I left the house (from my last day on the track—getting on a track appears to be a regular thing for me now!—I recalled it being rather drafty on there track. Maybe I need a full-on racetrack jumpsuit…does Tibi make one? I’d want an ultra chic one…must research…

We started with some lessons on what we’d be putting into practice that day. I found out what a friction circle is (the amount of grip a tire gives you) and that we would be learning how to get the most out of the driving dynamics by managing how the vehicle’s weight is transferred. Don’t forget that the track conditions and also that water, snow or ice affects the tires’ grip, too.

I also learned what oversteering and understeering is: understeering is when you turn the steering wheel and the front loses traction and slides, and oversteering is when the rear loses traction. When you oversteer, the idea is to countersteer and turn into it, and to look in the direction of where you want to go.

When driving the track, you should be looking to make the track as wide as possible for yourself; always be looking ahead to connect the dots (which on the track is indicated by orange cones) and this way, by looking ahead, you have more time to be in control of the stability of the vehicle.

Porsche Experience 2

 

This all makes sense when they’re explaining it, but putting this into practice once on the track is a challenge for me. For our first drives through a course outlined with cones, I was never quite able to manage coming to a hard brake sufficiently enough that the hazard lights came on as we were instructed to do (I was pretty nervous to be going hard on the gas with one of the instructor’s right in front of me, and braking hard when he indicated to go left or right—this little exercise is daunting, you feel like you’re going to run him over!). Also, maybe it’s just me but when a course is outlined with traffic cones, I don’t find it that entirely obvious (you may recall I have gone the wrong way on such a course in the past).

Porsche Experience 3

My favourite part of the day was when we drove a Porsche with easy drift tires on. It’s funny because you feel as though you’re driving a decent speed in a circles but it’s actually only about 10-15k an hour. I’m not sure if this experience will help me if I were to ever oversteer in real life (but hopefully so!), and I definitely won’t be starring in the next Tokyo Drift flick but it was hella fun.

We did another challenge in which our goal was to make it through the course as quickly as possible without knocking any cones down, and I didn’t even check the results as I’m sure I was last! This just simply isn’t my forte.

IMG_3529

I skipped doing my last few individual laps around the track because I felt a bit nauseous from the track time and I also had my glasses on for the day (rather than contact lenses), and this always makes me generally feel less at ease plus having my glasses on with the helmet is also not comfortable.

I’m not a car geek but I think doing exercises such as these all help to making me feel more comfortable behind the wheel and builds my knowledge of how to be in control of a car. Now having a chance to regularly test drive different cars, I enjoy the experience of seeing and feeling what one vehicle feels like over the next. Even if I may not know the technical driving terms, I think it rounds out my understanding of how to evaluate a car’s performance in my own way.

Thank you Porsche Canada for the informative and fun day on the track in your beautiful cars!

 

Leave a Comment June 25, 2018

Fitness Swellness: A day of motorsports with Ford Canada

by Pinpoint National Photography

To help celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day (did you get your dad a gift yet??), Ford Canada invited me to drive a Mustang GT and Ford RS on a race track, and I brought along my good friend Damian (and he’s a dad, so there’s my gift to you, D!). I’ve filed this under Fitness Swellness…’cause it’s a sport, right, kinda sorta?

So we drove out to Toronto Motorsports Park, and it was both of our first times driving on a race track. I was kind of nervous…here I am thinking, “Uh…can I do this?!?”

by Pinpoint National Photography

I let Damian go first since I was a bit unsure about getting on the track, but soon enough it was my turn.  Got into the Ford RS and our Ford instructor Malcolm took me out on a recon lap. I only realized once we started out that the car was standard, and I wasn’t confident I could get the car into third gear (I’ve tried to learn to drive standard a few times and it has not gone well, it really stresses me out!), so I didn’t do laps around the track in this car, but instead tried to commit to memory the turns and paid attention to how to handle them based on Malcolm’s talking me through the process as he drove. Turns out, for me anyhow, it’s hard to memorize the curvy track! I did get a feel for the car, though, and felt very safe (those Michelin Cup 2 Track summer tires never felt like we were sliding all of the track). I’m not a car geek, but if you’re wondering the Ford RS has Ford Performance all-wheel drive system with Dynamic Torque Vectoring, turbocharged eco-boost engine and you can select from Normal, Sport, Track and Drift modes.

by Pinpoint National Photography

Next was my turn to drive the Mustang GT. I did three (or was it two–the laps are all blurring together now) and it was fun! It’s hard hugging those corners the way you’re supposed to and always looking a step ahead for the next pylon so as to plan where you’re maneuvering the car! The GT, like the Ford RS, has modes you can select (Normal, Snow/Wet, Sport or Track), and 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.  It also has blind-spot info system (which I didn’t have to use on the track!), and I wish I could tell you how fast I drove it on the straightaways but I kept my eyes on the track and peeled for the next pylon so I could make my turns.

Here’s a pretty funny video of our track adventure that Ford put together:

To end our track adventure, we each got to sit in the car as the instructor did a hot lap, and I got to see how I should’ve been getting the GT around the track! It was way, way, way faster than what I drove but I probably didn’t have to tell you that.

Thanks for the fun afternoon, Ford Canada! Now I can check “race a car on a track” off my bucket list!

by Pinpoint National Photography

 

Leave a Comment June 16, 2017


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