By Jennifer Cranford
January 19-20 2019
I finally experienced my first Lone Star Region PCA DE and the first time using my own car at a track event. The later brought the anxiety with all that could go wrong with/to my car given the amount of drivers on the track in a session.
PDS Barber Background
My track experience up to this point had been solely at the Porsche Performance Driving School (PDS) at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama and it seemed like there couldn’t be something run locally I could feel safe running in my own car. Porsche PDS has the high-end track, professional drivers/instructors, low car count per run group, the classroom-type controlled environment on the track and last but not least, they provide the car.
I began to be put at ease and felt in completely capable hands talking to fellow LSRPCA members before the DE and the required safety check of my car. This ease continued from driving through the gates of MSR Houston on Friday afternoon thru the final car coming off the track Sunday. Tra Townsend, the LSRPCA Chairperson for Driving Education, the MSR safety crews, and the mass of volunteers made sure that in the hive of some 140+ cars everyone was safe, had an eye on safety, kept things organized and running smoothly.
An event of this size is going to have things come up and it’s how you handle them that can make or break things. The LSRPCA DE leadership handled things decisively when necessary and kept the weekend running along smoothly for everyone to enjoy. I think the only hold up on the track was for a few guys that wanted to go off track for a little off road mudding and had to get pulled out.
Green Run Group
The Instructor Program was another area of concern for me. I was in the Green run group, which has the first session driven by your instructor in your car. Even with my previous track experience this was a great way to start the weekend, letting me get acquainted with the MSR-CCW (Counter Clockwise) layout and get the driving juices flowing.
Every session after that my instructor in the passenger seat giving invaluable live feedback, teaching me the track, teaching track/driving basics up to advanced techniques and exercises all at a progression that was controlled by my confort level. As a woman driver, there was never a feeling of being rushed or judged just encouraged. Then after each session we got to spend time breaking down what happened on the track. Again the tone of “do it right, do it safe, and the speed will come” was everywhere.
Some of the best things at the DE was the comradery, the endless car stories, the opinions on driving lines or techniques and the willingness to jump in to help others. You could look around the paddocks at any given point to find a group pitching in to swap tires, fix brakes, work on suspensions or just check tire pressures before runs.
Not Much Downtime
Every garage and parking space seemed an open conversation, never a closed clique. There wasn’t much down time during the day with 4 run groups each day, classes to attend, and nonstop car talk available. Then even when the track went cold, there were still hot topics and the always wonderful cars to look at.
In short the Lone Star Region PCA members along with MSR track support put on an a first rate event. A safety first environment with an inviting atmosphere without pretentiousness is quite an accomplishment given the amount of “horsepower” all in one place.
The entire weekend was great and we can’t wait for the next one!