Thursday, April 24, 2008

More car than driver

Let’s see. What was next on my list? My car has more potential than I am capable of harnessing. As you know I believe the driver is the most important part of the car/driver equation. In my case I am the weak link. The capacity of a 10 year old Ferrari 355 exceeds my driving ability so greatly that I would have to do something truly stupid to exceed the cars ability.

When Tony and I were going through turns he kept saying more gas, more gas. At the time I could not imaging applying more gas. Were the tires squealing? Was the car feeling loose? No. The car was flat and solid, the tires silent. Tony said more than once, the car has a lot more to give. He was right. My internal calculations of what a car can do are not calibrated to the Ferrari. I was close to picking the right line and was rolling on the throttle smoothly but I stopped well before the car was close to reaching its threshold.

I had several reasons for taking the driving course. One was to safely explore the limits of the car. I didn’t get there. I safely explored the limits of what I was capable. I wanted to improve my ability to drive the car. Job done there. I feel I greatly improved some of my fundamental driving skills. I will take another class and bet I see even greater improvement from the second class.

What will I do differently? Trust the car, listen to the instructor, push myself. I know this is verging into the “listen to your instructor” point. There were a few, fleeting moments when I got it right. Tony would immediately say “Did you feel that? Did you feel how the car unwinds more quickly when you are on the gas?” Yes, I did feel it. I tried to duplicate it but there was an invisible barrier in my head which was difficult to get through.

The video below is from the fourth session with me trying second in the chicane.

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