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Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

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2019/02/08 Porsche Ice Experience Driving Course at Circuit Mecaglisse
π 2019-02-08 01:01 in Cars
Circuit Mecaglisse is 1.5h north of Montréal, and I was lucky enough to be accepted in their level 2 course thanks to the training I got at Dirtfish learning the basics of rally driving. As expected, my almost 20 years of track driving was mostly worthless :)

They had a professional photographer who obviously took better shots than I did :)




The busy photographer (40 drivers) got a few shots of me, along with my talented co-driver Alain. Alain was a great guy as well as one of the best snow/ice drivers in the group, which definitely made me feel self-conscious. He showed me what I should have been doing :)

Alain
Alain



for a short while I was also driving with Mark, the other star in our group
for a short while I was also driving with Mark, the other star in our group

Anyway, here are my pictures. The drive from Montréal was actually "interesting", a passing storm yielded some ice on the road and driving 20mph wasn't even safe anymore. Eventually it turned to snow, which was easier to drive on with the snow tires on the 2WD rental car I got:


the nice hotel where we were hosted, but it was 45mn away from the track
the nice hotel where we were hosted, but it was 45mn away from the track

they fed us well :)
they fed us well :)

Every morning, we got a bus ride to the track, which is specifically designed to have a layer of ice in the winter:


when I say ice, it really is ice
when I say ice, it really is ice

Kees Nerop, the head instructor we were lucky to end up with
Kees Nerop, the head instructor we were lucky to end up with

we drove both 4WD and 2WD 911s
we drove both 4WD and 2WD 911s



they had studded tires, but the studs were pretty short
they had studded tires, but the studs were pretty short

A few driving pictures:

Alain, showing me how it's done :)
Alain, showing me how it's done :)

I didn't expect things to be easy, and they weren't. The biggest problem is if you go in a bit too deep, there is mostly nothing you can do to fix it. In this oversteer turn exercise, I turned a bit too late and while I did mostly the right things, I was just a bit too late and smacked the snow wall with the car:

sigh. this was not a proud moment
sigh. this was not a proud moment

This is when I need to really recognize Porsche for offering this class at all and allowing students to make mistakes. Basically unless they deem that you were driving like an idiot, you aren't liable for damage. They apparently have a full supply of body panels and bumpers, are quite used to fixing/changing them.

seeing the cars eating snow as people hit snow banks, was also pretty common. At least the intercooler was cool :)
seeing the cars eating snow as people hit snow banks, was also pretty common. At least the intercooler was cool :)

that one wasn't me, but another cracked bumper
that one wasn't me, but another cracked bumper

The driving was a both fun and very hard. It definitely kicked my butt. Honestly, I sucked when I showed up. I couldn't even properly drift in a circle. By day 3, I was far from being an expert, but my proudest accomplishment was managing a 4mn power drift when I wasn't even able to manage a single turn without spinning when I started:

Now, this is nothing compared to the better students who could not only drift but even fit between cones, which I can't quite do yet:

By day 3, we were driving around most of the track. It was still hard as hell as there was very little recovery possible if you went too fast, but if you went too slow, it was hard to not possible to induce necessary oversteers for most turns, so the balance was quite hard to keep.
The last day, we finished with 2WD cars on a super icy track with killer downhill off camber turns. I managed to get one right a couple of times, like at the 1:45 offset and then smacked into the snow wall by getting my timing wrong the 2nd time (offset 3:10). What's terrible is that we knew what was going to happen before it did, but by then there is no recovery possible with a 2WD car (a 4WD has a small chance of pulling out with power):

The day ended with us getting a hotlap from one of our coaches to show us what we could have done if we didn't suck :) I lucked out and got a lap with our chief instructor (forgive the non optimal camera placement):

And just like that, it was over. We had a farewall dinner with prices for the best drivers in each group (i.e. not me :) ):


Thanks to all the instructors, to Porsche for letting us drive their cars and make mistakes, and the great codrivers in our group (blue group is #1 !) :)


More pages: June 2019 May 2019 March 2019 February 2019 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 December 2017 October 2017 September 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 July 2016 June 2016 April 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 November 2014 September 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 February 2014 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 September 2011 July 2011 June 2011 April 2011 March 2011 October 2010 August 2010 July 2010 April 2010 February 2010 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 November 2008 May 2008 April 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 June 2007 April 2007 December 2006 November 2006 May 2006 January 2006 July 2005 May 2005 April 2005 January 2005 December 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 February 2004 October 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000

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