Start Your Engines. Or, At Least, Clear Your Windshields!

Are you ready for the new season?!? This one looks to be quite full of amazing events. Dig out your calendar and start filling it with fun!

It's been an odd winter, for sure. No snow. Some fun karting!

Then some snow. Then 70 degrees. Then April snow. You've gotta love New England! But the sun is warm and that means it's time to get the slick tires out of the basement and get some heat into them!

So what do we have on tap? Lots. Let's start with the instructional stuff. I put driving school, autocross, and high performance driving education (HPDE) into this category. 

My favorite local driving school and autocross, ADSI, runs monthly events and the schedule appears to be shaking out a bit. The first session is Sunday May 1st. The rest of the season dates are 6/26, 7/31, 8/14, 9/18, 10/16, and 11/20 (all Sundays). It's 4 hours of instruction and drills from 8 to noon. And then 4 hours of nice, long cone-course timed laps in the afternoon to polish those skills in the afternoon. If you want to get better quickly, this is the best place to be. Last minute event date changes mean I'll miss the first couple, but hopefully I'll end strong. It's at Quonset Point right here in RI, folks. Come enjoy the local flavor!

A couple of us are headed down to Bertil Roos racing school in PA in a couple of days to get all licensed up this season (can't believe I'll be a licensed race driver by this Thursday!!). We had to sign up way back, but if you want to do something like it, you can also do Skip Barber (now at Thompson, only 45 min from Providence, as well as Lime Rock in CT!), Team O'Neil (Rally school), or just get out with your favorite auto club - BMW, Audi, and my favorite, Porsche (just about every make has a club...). Anyone can join the BMW and Audi clubs without having to own those makes. The Porsche snobs make you enter a Porsche VIN, but that is pretty easy to overcome for the motivated and you can take any (safe) car you want to the track. I'll be at all the local Northeast (NER) and North Central (NCR) region events at Thompson and Palmer. It's still hard to justify the trek to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Calabogie, and Mont Tremblant... Those I'll have to save for racing or retirement, I guess. Or for when the kids get bored with me. 

There are so many track event groups now that it's never been easier to find a group to run with - NASA (not the space guys) runs a good ship, Chin Motorsports, Apex (includes top notch instruction), and many more. I ran one event with NASA last year and had a good time. If you have any free weekends at all, chances are you can find a group to run with. All beginners start with instruction, so have no fear that you don't know what you're doing. That's what I used to think too. I still have no idea what I'm doing. But I think it a little faster now!

There will be plenty of car shows. If you haven't been to Lars Anderson in Brookline, MA yet, you are missing some good stuff. There is an Elm Bank car show in Medfield, MA on 6/26.

Beyond the instructional stuff, there are other things that are roughly on the radar. American Endurance Racing (AER) is coming to Palmer June 17-19. Chumpcar will do Thompson too July 1-2. The SCCA has a Club Racing Experience (CRE) series that is more like an open track day, but for race cars. You get a feel for being out there with open passing without all the racing pressures and preparations. Hopefully I can rent and sample some race cars at an event like that this year to get a good flavor for what I want in the future. This is a year of expanding the mind into the racing sphere. Slowly and carefully.

Life just seems to get busier and busier, so if you have a passion for this sport or an inclination to give it a try - I suggest you get something on the schedule now and then jump on in. It can be intimidating to get started so feel free to let me know how I can help you get out there to learn and have fun. Always happy to help.
For those who haven't seen the new look for #404 this year, here you go! Full vinyl wrap done by Alejandro at Veneton in Providence. My wife has been saying I need professional help for years, so I finally got some!