Bondurant Racing School-2

People who think racing is not physically demanding don't know what they are talking about. I was sore especially my right shoulder. But I didn't care I was excited for what the day had for us. First thing in the morning we were in the classroom going over what we will be doing in the morning. The instructor said we will be practicing downshifts with heel-toe in Maricopa Oval, skid car, and brake & turn. Yellow group got to do the skid car first. Understeer was easy to correct because I have had a lot of experience with my Subie. But oversteer that's a whole new thing. Like the other two students I completely spun out when trying to control oversteer the first time. I knocked down the apex cones with the skid frame. But hey I hit one twice and it landed in the same spot. I'm just utilizing autocross skills to keep the cone in the box, that's all, lol! The other students agree that I should get a pass in the course. My main issue was being too harsh on the throttle, which is the story of my life. My Moreno family has a problem being a lead foot. It's a true genetic problem. I know my dad is going to shake his head yes and giggle when he read this. So I had to adjust and lightly apply throttle, after awhile I got it and it was fun to correct an oversteer. It felt like a dance, a well coordinated dance.

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After the skid car we headed over to the oval. I was determined to master heel-toe! I was practicing in my Subie on the way to where we are staying at the RV park the night before. Transmission is broken anyway, I can't mess it up anymore (famous last words, lol). 
I started with normal downshifts without heel-toe to just get used to when to downshift. After 15 minutes I mustered up courage to heel-toe. Sadly I miss the first time. Next time around I think I got it. It was smooth like when the instructor was showing me. I pull over in pit lane and the instructor hopped in. I told him I think I got it and I am determined to get it right. First time around with the instructor I heel-toe and he was like that was it! Now you just need to consistently do it and continue to smooth out the movements. I WAS SO FREAKING EXCITED!!! I improved on turn 5 but now with the extra speed I am able to carry from turn 5 to 4 the instructor pointed out I was understeering a bit. I noticed I was trying to brake in corner 4 like I was in 5. We got to practice for about another 30 minutes. I was feeling pretty confident about my heel-toe technique.

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Right before lunch we got to practice braking at different braking distances while trying to stop the car at a specific cone gate. I found this exercise pretty easy. Then we had to practice braking and turning out of a semi Chicago box. I found this super fun it reminded me of my autocross days. Again pretty easy stuff.

After recharging from lunch we went over learning the track in the classroom. Then we hopped into our instructors cars for instructions. I was making as many mental notes of visual cues to use for turn ins, braking, and acceleration. I remembered things that the instructor told us to do like, from turn 1 to 2 lightly accelerate and then lift to put the weight on the front tires to  grip for the left turn. Rob is so freaking amazing, he went full out to show us what it should feel like at full speed. OMG he utilized all 700 HP!

We went back to the classroom and went over any questions, comments, or concerns anyone had. Also the instructor explained that at one point they will signal with their hands in a circular motion on the straight. Which means the student follwoing the instructor will be get over to the right brake and get behind the 3rd student. The 2nd and 3rd students will acclerate to catch up to the instructor. We would repeat this routine until each student got time to follow directly behind the instructor. 

Then we hopped in our cars and followed the instructor. We started out slowly and went faster and faster. After a couple of minutes we got to pit and take a quick bathroom break. After the break we were left to our own devices. Hehe I was excited but very nervous at the same time. Because I know how fast I go and I know how sensitive the throttle is in the Challenger. I have to be perfect every time or I will most likely oversteer. I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, I was scared s***tless. But I couldn't let those emotions get a hold of me because I had to be precise on the track. At that point I let my muscle memory take over and took a deep breath and attacked the track without fear. After a few laps the instructor waves me over to hop into my car. He comments, "It looks like you are having fun out there!" I admitted to him that I was scared. And thinking about it I think I was mainly scared of my ability. I take a big breathe and do my thing. I was surprised that he had only 2 corrections for me. He praised me for doing a really good job and that I should have more confidence, but not too much confidence. The only 2 turns I had to correct was 7 to get the tire in a groove in the candy candy to set up the car straight. The other turn was right before turn 11 he said to break straight. Overall I did good!

With the new found confidence I found myself catching up to people half a track away and passing them. I was riding an adrenaline high. Pushing myself and the car to the limit, there were a few times I oversteered. But it was just a gentle reminder to be easy on the throttle. I was having so much fun that I stayed out there the entire hour without a break! Can't wait for another track day tomorrow!

Ciao!

Bodurant Racing School-Day 1

I signed up for Bondurant's last minute deals, I figured since we were in the area might as well. I have been wanting to go to a racing school for a few years now. I got an email saying they had availability. The sales person was really helpful in helping me choose the correct course with my experience.  So I signed up for the 4-day Forza Motorsport Grand Prix Road Racing. 

 Looks like I'm not the only one not used to writing 2018, lol!

Looks like I'm not the only one not used to writing 2018, lol!

OMG first day of Bondurant was so fun! The first day starts with checking-in. The lady at the desk greats you with a warm smile. I see all sorts of people there. The demographics consisted of young, old, women, men, Asians, Whites, and I was the only Latino. Once everyone is there we all go into a classroom. I noticed that people were wearing 3 different color of badges. Later found out Red is for HPDE, Yellow is for Grand Prix, and Blue is for Advance Road course.

The chief instructor Mike comes in and ask us to do introductions most people are teenagers whose parents thought it would be a good idea for their kids to improve their driving skills. I agree 100%, we need more safe drivers on the road. I did notice that I was the only woman that was in the advance courses which is kinda interesting. I am curious if this is the norm or not.

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After intros Mike goes over some fundamentals and then we all headed out to the patio and followed Mike for a tour of the place. We got to see the shop and the museum with some of Bob Bondurant's cars.

After the museum tour there were 2 black vans waiting for us. Sixteen of us piled into the van, anxiously awaiting for what was going to happen next. The instructor takes all of us for the ride of our lives...in a van. He vigorously takes us through a slalom, shows us accident avoidance techniques...and then...around the Maricopa Oval and Lake Loop. He did things in that van that I didn't think was humanly possible. As I watched the van in front of us I thought surely it was going to tip over any minute and we would soon follow. I sat in the back so I felt everything, the ass wiggle, the weight transfer, the elevation change that made me almost fly out of the chair if it wasn't for my seat belt. After our crazy ride we went into the classroom to get some more instruction. After that we took a break and met out on the patio where Pat Bondurant greeted us and thanked us for being there. We then go take a class picture together. After class my Yellow Badge people were separated from the rest and we are paired up with our instructors. I was paired up with two dudes and our instructor Rob.

We hopped in the instructor's car and he showed us where we are going to practice heel-toe and how to heel-toe. Then we go back to pick out our Dodge SRT Hellcat. I got car number 37. My first impressions were mmm new car smell. The seats are super comfortable, the display was pretty cool. I learned that car has 2 keys a black key and a red key. The car let me know that the horsepower was throttled down to 500 hp because I had the black key. Also I learned the car was set up on street suspension and there was nothing I could do about it. The clutch pedal was pretty stiff compared to my car. The car is really well balanced for how heavy it is. The steering wheel was smooth but heavy, a good heavy.

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After getting a feel for the car we all go out to heel toe. I try my best to heel-toe and O...M...G... it was a disaster. Heel-toe is my arch nemesis right now. It is so freaking hard! The teacher explained the sequence. Brake with the ball of your foot, clutch in, downshift, pivot ankle to blimp the accelerator, once RPMs wrap down, let go of clutch pedal. Easier said than done. Heel-toe I will not let you win! I will concur you! After feeling a bit defeated we had an hour lunch break.

After lunch we went out to practicing consistent radius corner and increasing radius corner on Maricopa Oval. Now I was in my element. I got to practice the crap out of trail breaking. Which I know i needed to work on. The only 2 things the instructor said I needed to work on is letting the car go further right on turn 5 and be a little careful when applying throttle when exiting the same corner. I applied a little bit too much gas which induced a tiny bit of oversteer.


After lunch we went out to practicing consistent radius corner and increasing radius corner on Maricopa Oval. Now I was in my element. I got to practice the crap out of trail breaking. Which I know i needed to work on. The only 2 things the instructor said I needed to work on is letting the car go further right on turn 5 and be a little careful when applying throttle when exiting the same corner. I applied a little bit too much gas which induced a tiny bit of oversteer. 

After being on the oval our group and the HDPE got to practice accident avoidance. There were 3 lights depending what color and how many were green or red told us what to do. For example, if all lights were red we had to slam on the brakes to get used to what ABS felt like. I found this exercise easy but fun. After the practice our group got to try heel-toe again. During lunch I was practicing the movement. This time around I felt less discouraged as I managed to get heel-toe close to 3 times. I still need to perfect it. Now to go stretch, my ankle and neck are sore, lol! So stoked for Day 2!!!

Ciao!