P4-2018-10-11 – Sometimes, a change of the routine can be refreshing
By Steve Carbary
This year the SEM PCA DE team made arrangements that stray from our usual routine. As many of you know, we typically host four Driver Education events per year with most of them being held at Waterford Hills Road Racing Course. On September 28th, we had the opportunity to change this though and held our event at M1 Concourse and the Champion Motor Speedway. This marked our second time here as we did this once before back in 2016, the year it first opened. Our last DE for the 2018 season proved to be well worth the effort.
The weather was cool as the morning broke and the sun began to rise on the grounds. M1 provides an event tent for participants to gather in and the DE team to set-up shop. There was a flurry of action like every morning at our track events. Registration, car preps, track walk, and drivers meeting all had perhaps an air of more excitement than usual this day. Talking with everyone, both new and long timers with our group, gave me a good survey of the experience level participants had with this track. While not new, there were a number of both students and instructors that had never driven it. And even some of us that had (including myself) had only really done it the last time SEM was there. That day was a mixture of rain and dry though and the outlook of taking to this road with the sun overhead and blue skies backing it up was the thing bringing up the buzz.
The time had come for the track to ‘go hot’ as we call it. The routing through the paddock for cars going onto and coming off of the track took a little work to keep straight. To be honest, the first few run group transitions were a bit chaotic. A change of routine can be refreshing, but it also can cause anxiety and stress !! M1 is a work in progress. As I mentioned before, right now there is an event tent and a parking lot behind this for participants to use. The path goes around or next to this tent and is rather limited in space. Don’t get me wrong, the tent is very well set-up with tables and big screens and is a good place to hold both lunch and classes. This is temporary though. One look and the M1 Concourse website and you will very quickly see the future plans for the rest of the facility. While I’m sure these are subject to change and will evolve, one thing is for sure and that they are not done. Event buildings, shops, and more frontage along Woodward are all there in concept. I personally can’t wait to see where they go with the rest of the property available. It’s going to be something
Soon enough, drivers got the hang of the layout and the nerves had started to settle. People were finding their way and talk had started to convert to more about how the track felt. I caught several discussions of which ‘line’ was being taken or braking points for particular corners. Comparisons of the Champion Motor Speedway to other tracks that us junkies have driven was also a hot topic. Different tracks can have varying effects on the cars. Several regulars for Waterford were discovering this for the first time perhaps. Some of the talk was how the contrast was enlightening. THIS is what our Driver Education days are all about. Learning how and what to feel when a sports car is Driven. I was very pleased to be able to offer this experience and to hear that the information that all of us instructors are relaying is being received. The bottom line is we have a handpicked group of instructors who all feel that if they can help someone else learn to enjoy more of the capabilities the amazing cars, it’s a job well done. I cannot thank them all enough for all they do.
If that wasn’t enough to make a great day, some of our SEM members who have private garages at M1 opened them up for those who attended this day. They hosted several guests and gave them a different view of the track. These are really worth the visit if you get the chance. A huge “thank you” and gratitude go to Eitel Dahm and Porsche of the Motor City. They not only were open during most of the event but also hosted us after the track closed with refreshments and a great place to gather. This too is what M1 is all about. It’s not just a track, it’s a destination. It’s a place for like minded people to gather and feel welcomed. Eitel did just this making sure all were taken care of. Everyone was welcomed and the spirited conversations continued for several hours after the DE had “officially” ended. Remember it’s not just the cars, it’s the people. Porsche of the Motor City certainly know this all too well.
So as the Southeast Michigan HPDE 2018 season comes to a close I would like to say a few words here to thank all involved. I absolutely cannot express how much these events are the efforts of an entire team and I am grateful to them for joining me in these journeys each year. Let’s keep up the fun !! Also, our sponsors, Autocore Performance Group and Munk’s Motors. I feel we put on some of the best events out there and they are a big part of the show. These would not feel the same without them. Consider them for any and all your Porsche service needs both track and street. The depth of knowledge between them is staggering and the customer satisfaction is unsurpassed.
Lastly, for those who have possibly thought about but have refrained or been a bit shy to come out and try one of our Drive Education events, look for us next year. I mean hey …. sometimes, a change of the routine can be refreshing.