After the wettest September in Texas history we’ve got an even wetter start to October, so most of my trackdays have been wet. Last Saturday was no exception, we had multiple lightning delays and it was raining for most sessions and wet for the rest. The roads dried out after the track closed, but even then there were probably still streams across portions of the track.
I volunteered to instruct with the APEX Academy, one of the best trackday groups in the area. They focus on maximizing track time and running a safe, no nonsense event. They’ve never had car to car contact and rarely have any incidents (none in our wet and slick day, no one even needed a tow out of the mud). I only ended up running 3.5 sessions (I did a partial session while giving a student a ride-along). Without lightning delays I would usually have 6 scheduled 20min sessions and I usually drive 5.5 of them (I usually come in early in the last session to fill out student evaluations and/or change tires).
Motorsports Ranch Cresson has 4 configurations and we were on my favorite, the 1.3 mile short course. The 1.3 sees less use than the main 1.7mi course so it is better in the wet (the 1.7 is polished on the driving line from all the use and it becomes downright treacherous in the wet). There are a few tricky spots in the wet, but that’s just the nature of a rain event. Rain typically means the high horsepower cars are hugely hampered, but my 178whp BRZ is well behaved even with my aggressive autox setup (I should probably swap to the smaller stock rear swaybar, but I have an irrational hate of understeer from my old WRX days).
I instructed a novice in a new Civic Type R and an intermediate student in a 2009 Boxster. The Type R was easy to drive in the wet and could give the awd STi’s a run for their money, its driver was at his first ever event but took to the instruction well. The Boxster felt strong even though it wasn’t an “S”, and was better behaved than I expected from a mid-engine roadster in the wet. I ended up giving both drivers a ride before the end of the day and both were impressed even though I felt like I was driving painfully slow in the wet (it helped that both drove before I gave them rides so they knew the severity of the conditions and could appreciate the lowered limits and limited grip).
I had a one full spin, one half spin, one 2 wheels off, and one 4 wheels off during the day which was a bit embarrassing as an instructor (especially since I did the half spin and 2 wheels off with my intermediate student in the car, that’s the first video, and the full spin with my novice student in the car after I got a point-by from a Camaro). I was one of the fastest cars during the rain, but during the half-dry final session the higher powered cars could finally accelerate in the straights while we all struggled with the corners, which made them noticeably faster around the track (I had no problems keeping up in the wet, and I’m within 3-5s of anyone on street tires on that track in the dry but the half and half just killed me).
The cancelled sessions made for a relaxed day and since I was instructing the track time was free, so I was happy to hangout in the clubhouse and take an extra long lunch during the worst of the storms. No one seemed too upset about the rain, but we’re all ready to be done with it. I’m scheduled to instruct both Saturday and Sunday with the Porsche Club, there’s a chance of rain Saturday morning but Sunday is forecast to be dry (at least for now, this time a week ago the forecast was dry for last Saturday).
At least the wet conditions are greatly reducing my brake and tire consumption.