Now that I've gotten your attention with this stunning GT3 RS, arguably the most lust-worthy car of the weekend, let me share with you the good times that were had last weekend.
The Kansas City chapter of the BMWCCA hosted their "No Excuses" driving school for the seventh time, and I was fortunate enough to be able to join in. It was held at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit http://www.hallettracing.net/ near Jennings, OK. It's a great facility run by great folks (Connie is the best) and I feel very fortunate that it's only an hour down the road from my home.
By luck of the draw, my number was 314 (the area code I grew up with - go Cards!). Since I was rocking a fast four door, as part of my pre-track prep, I left my little guy's carseat in the back and strapped in one of my daughter's dolls (Lars, from IKEA) for the lulz.
We showed up early Saturday morning, and, as evidenced by the first photo, were greeted by a constant rain that stuck around most of the day. Our instructors told us that rain is a great teacher, and we forged ahead. I was very happy to have my car shod in brilliant Michelin Pilot Super Sports with the safety net of M Dynamic Mode stability control (several drivers had "offs" and many with R spec tires realized what that really means). My instructor, Dick, was an older fellow who gave good direction - we got along very well and had a great time together.
I was in the first intermediate group (it was my 4th time on track) and did my best not to act like a complete n00b. My very first time out several years ago (in my old Mazda 3s hatch), we also had some rain, and as it started to dry out, my confidence went up too quickly and I had an off. I was committed to not making the same mistake again. Thankfully, by the last session of the day, the track was almost perfectly dry, so we got to push it harder and listen to our tires squeal a bit before heading home for the night.
I got back in the morning bright and early. I couldn't think of a more perfect day to be at the track. It was unseasonably cool, and the morning sun was ideal to get some nice photos before our first drivers' meeting.
Here's my girl, patiently waiting her turn...
How can you not love the owner of this beautiful beast? Note the headlight covers.
This is Dick's 996 GT3 above. He was kind enough to give me a ride along (my first ride in a 911 of any kind), and it was incredible to experience first-hand a guy who has so much confidence in his own ability and in his car. We flew around the track, and the feeling of the weight of the car rotating behind us and them rocketing us out of the corner was awesome.
A friend of his owned both the 997 GT3 and prepped Cayman (with Martini stripes!) below. I did my best not to drool...
Respect. (Also, don't tell anyone, but that yellow SS was a rental - ha!)
This is a very fast shoe.
The day went great. I was smooth and decently fast, and Dick got me moved up to the second intermediate group after the first session, and then got me signed off to go out solo. I still have plenty of work to do to get faster, but by the end of the day, I felt confident and controlled around the track. Was great to get my fix for a while, but it's a pretty wicked drug... I can't wait to get back out there again.
My car performed great - I'll never get tired of wringing out the S65 past 8000 rpm! It still amazes me that I can flog this thing all day at the track, and then cruise home in comfort as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Love this car; hope to keep her in my stable for a very long time to come.
Is it wrong that I haven't taken off my solo sticker yet?
I did get some video on my new GoPro - here's my second run of the second day, if you want to watch 19 minutes of me lapping, getting and giving a few point-bys and chatting with Dick. I ended up leaving it the third this whole session - I'm sure there are a couple seconds to be had catching 2nd in a couple of the slower corners, and as I learn to carry more speed in the corners, I'll find 4th on the longer straights. If you want to see and hear two fast E46 M3s going past, check out the 12:00 and 14:00 minute marks.
I'll be back soon!