I’ve never raced on a track before. Every type of stupid thing I have done in a motor vehicle up to now has been...unsupervised... Now that I know what is there and that I can do it, I have to keep going. Despite the reservations or limitations of my wallet.
I went to DriveExotic at the Motorsport Ranch in Cresson, Tx today. I had heard of the idea of rented sports cars being flogged around by any yuck named Chuck but I had no idea that there was such an opportunity near me. (Thanks, girlfriend!)
So this morning, I awoke to a beautiful if somewhat windy day. I warmed up my newly reconstructed vehicle and went immediately the Starbucks. After chucking my poorly selected banana, I started on my way, choosing the two-lane backroads while sipping whatever grande-swill I had ordered. I encountered Confederate flags and barns painted to reflect collegiate aspirations. Other monstrosity that seem to huddle just outside the edges of the interstates circling DFW. We’re off the map, over the edge.
Here, there be dragons.
After signing a few forms and agreeing not to sue once dead, we watched a short orientation video. It was simple and to the point - the basic gist was, “Pay attention to your instructor.” I had originally signed up for the Camaro ZL-1 since I was sure I could fit in it and I had no interest in driving the Porsche. Once there though, I reconsidered and thought that perhaps the Lotus Evora, if I could fit in it, would be fun to drive.
It was. Jimmy, my instructor, took me out on a few recon laps, something which I did not see the other people there doing. This might be why I picked up some confidence faster than others. Jimmy took the first turn, a hard downhill left, at a speed that seemed irresponsible.
For the the first lap I was unsettled since I felt we should be flying off the track at every corner. I realized that my butt had not yet been re-calibrated from driving the GTO to the track. The tiny Evora easily maintained grip and, even when being flogged by the self-proclaimed, “aggressive” Jimmy, did not complain a bit. By the third lap I could see the line he was following and agreed it was my turn.
My top speed was a 139 on the last straight, which I don’t believe since I felt like I was slow. I see a high-G of 1.12 and my top lap was a 1:26. I know I held back and am confident I could shave a second if not more off that time.
To be clear. I DO NOT FIT IN THE LOTUS. My feet don’t fit in the foot well on the driver’s side very well. I had to hold my left foot out of the way. My shoulders rubbed on Jimmy’s, who was easily 6'6" and seemed fine. Maybe I’m just too fat for the lean Lotus. I also had to almost crawl in and out of it. But I made it work and once I got rolling, I didn’t pay attention to anything but feel. All of these cars are automatic, to keep it more idiot-friendly, except for the Viper.
The Lotus is simple. Not over-powered and very well mannered. I never felt intimidated by it. I was exhilerated by it. It stuck and staid and required no extra input. I’m sure there is a limit somewhere for this car, but I will need more time to find it. I only got it a little sideways once on my last lap and by the time pucker-factor started, the car was already settled, required no input from me at all.
When I asked if 1:26 was good and several agreed and said that the track members laid down similar times on the 1.3 mile track. This made me inordinately happy since, I am a total idiot when it comes to track experience. Jimmy didn’t believe when I said I had none, insisting that I’ve, “obviously driven before.” Well Jimmy, if you’re reading this, keep that GT-R warm. I’ll be back soon for that.