The Porsche File Porsche-o-phile

Evolve Driver Training - Sandown

As it had been some six months since the GT3 and I were on track, I really needed some 'seat' time to refresh my skills and get used to the physical and mental demands of driving at speed before the next PCV club event. So I signed up for an Evolve Driver Training day at Sandown Raceway, talked my fellow GT3 buddy, Linley Baxter into joining me and a very pleasant day was in prospect.

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Serviced, washed, packed and ready to go - 2016

It was a really good day. The organisation was excellent. Two briefings, one on safety and one on ‘driving dynamics’ were Ok and not too laborious, considering Dean does have to cater to his customers that range from experienced club guys to first timers on track.

Both Linley and I had Tony D’Alberto as our instructor. Tony was excellent, patient, a good communicator and was able to focus on a couple of key areas we needed to improve rather than the twenty things we were probably doing wrong. That in turn gave us some confidence to go out and concentrate on his key messages.

I swapped an in-car session for a 15 minute sit down detailed discussion of the track, best lines and specific areas where I needed to improve / change. I have a good set of notes from this that helped me yesterday (when I was concentrating properly!), and will be of benefit in the future.

It was great to be on track at the same time as Linley and we had a couple of different sessions where we followed each other around in close company. I think he had had me slightly in the corners, but as you might hope, my car was probably a little quicker on the straights. Overall, pretty close and it was cool to chase the Orange Pearl Queen!

Key learnings for me were that I was braking too late, unbalancing the car and slowing down too much and squaring off a couple of key corners where I should have been flowing the car faster through the mid corner. Also Tony noticed that on most left hand corners I was not close enough to the apex, a common problem for amateurs sitting on the right hand side of the car. Also I need to manage my brake pressure better, especially when heel/toe-ing on the downshifts as I don’t keep a consistent pressure on the brake, leading me to potentially over-run the turn in point.

There were relatively few cars in each group and the other drivers stayed well out of our way which was courteous. Throughout the day the refreshments were ample and lunch was adequate and tasty. 

So in summary, five sessions for the day, and could have had more given the low numbers, but I was very happy with the amount of laps I got in and certainly achieved my objectives of getting back in the car again, finding some confidence and consistency (if not outright speed) and enjoying myself.

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Linley's Zanzibar Red GT3 with my Kyron Audio GT3 - 2016

A quirky thing happened in the middle of a 'normal' driver training day, and that was the arrival of three very attractive young ladies at lunchtime. When they joined 'my' table I had to ask 'What are you doing here?' Turns out one of our Porsche club members has a new sponsor for his GT3 Cup Car and the promotional girls were in attendance to add some glamour to the marketing materials that were being shot on track and with the car in pit lane. Certainly brightened my day!

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'My' girls - 2016

Thanks for a great day Dean Sammut, very well organised indeed. And a very special thanks to Tony D'Alberto for being such an outstanding driver coach and for being brave, especially when my foot slipped off the brake pedal in Turn 3!