This past Saturday, a coworker (Jason) & I, went up to Harris Hill Road (H2R) in his Mazdaspeed3 to see the goings on at a The Drivers Edge (TDE) 2-day school. We got there at 8am & they had already started the initial drivers’ meeting. I don’t know how many drivers has signed up, maybe 50 to 60 or more. All I know is that the main gathering area of Harris Hill Road’s Club house was full!
This was Jason’s first visit to H2R. It was The Drivers Edge’s second HPDE event at H2R (their first event took place last May). I introduced Jason to all sorts of people & showed him all around. We were both there in observation (“sponge”) mode. So, in addition to reviewing all the cool more-than-street, almost & real racing cars there, we had the great opportunity to sit in on a few of the good training sessions.
TDE divides it’s students into green, blue, yellow & red categories, in that order, from entry level to advanced. Unlike the other Texas road tracks TDE teaches at, no novices are allowed at H2R. That’s how technical their course is. Therefore, those who were in the green group were not true novices – they already had some track/HPDE event experience.
Unfortunately for Rick Schwalenberg, The Drivers Edge President & founder, he had previously broken his ankle in 2 places. He was on the mend & not able to get around very well. Fortunately for me, I was able to get some good semi-one-on-one time with him, as he was somewhat confined to the class room for most of the morning track sessions. We got some refreshing insight from him and the other instructors in the classroom.
Here’s what Rick said about the challenges of the Harris Hill Road club track:
I learn most tracks in about 3 laps; H2R took me a half day!
I shared with Rick that Bo Rivers (H2R owner/creator) had explained to me his track is even more technical in the CCW direction & doesn’t flow as smoothly, i.e., it’s that much more challenging!
By lunch we were able to get in “parade laps”. I accompanied Jason driving his upgraded Mazdaspeed3 (almost 300WHP!). He got in 5 laps & I was able to put in 1 lap, learning such a different car feel of FWD on-track, versus the RWD of Karlino on track 7 days prior…I gave Karlino the day off & rode up with Jason (thanks dude!).
There was a very nice silver Datsun 240Z, that was clean & looked like a “sleeper” racer. That is to say, it looked pretty stock, but the owner had completely rebuilt a new motor, fully upgraded suspension, brakes & exhaust. Unfortunately, after the warm up parade lap the car broke (no idea what happened). This is not the way you want to come off the track!
I can’t justifiably explain all the concepts & knowledge that was shared in the training sessions. I DID begin to learn a lot of new concepts & reinforced others. The advanced class was very interesting, with explanations of car attitude, how & why to settle the car in preparation for the next corner approach to the apex, & so on. At this H2R track, all but 2 of the 11 turns are of the late apex variety & many are off camber. It’s a thinking man’s track…
Tracks drives the car, cars don’t drive tracks.
That is, the track course layout dictates how you will drive the track’s best line.
Racing Ready enjoyed this day as a laid back learning event. I was also good to share all this knowledge with a friend.