Over the past weekend I had a bit of an “eureka” moment whilst attending a track day. No it doesn’t have anything to do with finally realizing that French cars are indeed scrap. I have attended a number of motorsport events in my time and thought I had experienced some very cool moments. From co-driving in my uncle’s Escort RS Cosworth, competing myself and also attending a number of drifting events and being lucky enough to sit in as a passenger with the likes of Mike Fitz, Brian Egan and Adrian Walsh to name but a few. Yesterday however sitting alongside Doug Neilson in his track day Porsche 993 Carrera was an experience I had not yet felt. That experience was GRIP.
In rallying, for the most part, you are trying to break traction especially on gravel and certainly on tarmac you do not often have the luxury of being able to lean on your tyre for maximum grip as you try to manage the condition and the unseen road in front of you. My time in the 993 has really made me appreciate the level of grip and just the sheer length of time cornering with that grip. It may sound obvious but until you experience it, and your past experience has been sideways on gravel or sideways drifting, you can’t appreciate it. The 993 is not massively powerful with Doug estimating it to be around 300bhp but the combination of great (street legal) tyres and a pilot who is evidently talented it made for an awesome first track and grip experience for me.
Autolifers’ Chris Gray has often waxed lyrically about “grip” and although I always nodded in agreement, I was always thinking “surely drifting is more fun…”. I really enjoyed the g-force and I must briefly mention Spring Mountain race track. We where on the western side of the facility and it was amazing. Undulations, bumps, s-bends, off camber, on camber, downhill, blind crests, straights, hairpins – it was non-stop and Doug had to work hard!! I will definitely be back to experience the track again!
Patrick McCullagh