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    level 4 (GT3 Road Car)-Sport Driving School -Aussi

    Last month I did level 4 of the Sport Driving School in Australia. The levels need to be done consecutively, but I enjoyed level 4 so much I've booked myself in again to do it next year along with level 5. Level 4 uses 2 GT3 road cars (with PS Cup tyres) and with a track suspension setup. There's a back-up car sitting waiting should it be needed. There's normally 8 drivers, although one no show on my day made it 7. There's 2 pro instructors, mine was last year's Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird Bairdo Web , and there's 2 full time engineers (diagnosing data) plus the support crew keeping a check on the cars.

    The day starts with a brief talk from the chief instructor (Thomas Mezera) about the basics. I was wondering why he was doing it, we all knew that well enough, or so I thought, but when I was later on the track I changed my mind about that. Every action in these cars is magnified so much that no matter how minor the sin, it get's noticed; coming of the brakes / when trail braking too harshly is a big no no, as is turning in too aggressively.

    Everyone had driven parts of the track before on Level 3, or the local Porsche Club members had already had some track days at Queensland Raceway. We then did a slow drive around the track in a Cayenne followed by Bairdo taking each of us on a 5 lap ride to show us the lines at race speed. The (best) data from his laps with us was used as our base case comparison data.

    Next we had five laps with Bairdo sitting beside us. Trying to even do 80% of what he had just done was impossible. His lap time was 60.2 X was 67.XX on the best of my first 5. I had the car all over the track like a dog's breakfast. After that you get wired up and there's a one way walkie talkie for you to list to. The lap sessions go 5, 5, 10, 10 and 5. The first thing to learn is the higher grip levels from the M PS Cup tyres. Like slicks they don't provide much warning (audible or otherwise) when they are about to let go. Having data after every session you knew exactly what to focus on. Was your line correct? Entry / exit speeds, when you got on the gas / did you over-brake etc all answered in an objective manner. We didn't get into the g-force part of the data. There was already enough to focus on.

    My favourite corner (turn 1 - ~150km/h sweeper) which went well in the morning ended up being difficult in the afternoon and I managed to lose it in style with a couple of spins. It's quite interesting heading backwards (sideways) down the track at 100km/h+ and seeing a stream of blue smoke from each tyre. Thomas said that because I had only done two laps post the lunch break the tyres wouldn't have been up to full temperature hence they would be totally stuffed after that. The first thing you're told is to get the clutch in and foot on the brake. Although when your slide speed is low, and you can turn the car to face the right way it (and you're certain of your position on the track) then it's a time to get off the brakes and get going again - and then slowly build it up. It takes a good lap to get back into the saddle after that.

    My times gradually improved but the latter part of the afternoon session saw most people having stable times as a little bit of fatigue set in. My best was 64.5X. The cars performed just like you would expect. Very reliable, always consistent. I think most people left thinking that they needed to buy a GT3 as a matter of necessity. The way these cars handle - it's just like pure magic that is so enticing.

    In typical Porsche style the catering was great, and we all received a small trophy.

    The tyres last for around 400 km of track time. (2-2.5 days). They were running 38 psi (hot) in them. They had tried 40 on some previous days but were leaning towards lower pressures due to uneven wear. I consumed about 6 bottles of water and 6 gatorades. I flew back to Sydney that evening, and somehow managed to get to sleep. I was still buzzing for two days after it. I've done about 30 track days now - this was the best. And I wasn't the only one saying that!

    Porsche just ( a couple of days back) released the programme for 2008. I'm doing Level 4 and 5 (which is a 997 GT3 Cup Car programme) during next winter (which is always summer-like in Queensland). The prices are reasonable. I didn't read the disclaimer which was no doubt about insurance, but I think you're covered. Feel free to ask any Q's. Here's the course info:






    Porsche Experience Driving Programs


    PRICES AT A GLANCE

    Precision $1,150 Day one: Porsche Experience and Advanced Driver Training
    (Level 1) + 10% GST Defensive Driving Techniques
    Total: $1265 (for drivers of all standards)
    ____

    Precision Plus $2,300 Advanced Driver Training, Car Control
    (Level 2) + 10% GST And Defensive Driving Techniques
    Total: $2,530

    High Performance Driving Skills
    Development (for advanced drivers)
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Performance $1400 Designed to develop your car control skills further
    (Level 3) + 10% GST With advance tuition on steering and cornering
    Total: $1540 On a racetrack circuit.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Master $2725 Specifically designed for drivers/owners to take their
    (Level 4) + 10% GST driving skills to the next level in a 911 GT3 road car.
    Total: $2997.50

    -___________________________________________________________________________________________________

    GT3 Cup Car $5450 This course provides coaching and instruction in
    (Level 5) + 10% advanced race craft and data usage.

    Re: level 4 (GT3 Road Car)-Sport Driving School -Aussi

    Very nice!

    Re: level 4 (GT3 Road Car)-Sport Driving School -A

    The U.S. program is not set up that way. I wonder why?

    Sounds like a great program and nice to hear that you have fun.

    Re: level 4 (GT3 Road Car)-Sport Driving School -Aussi

    Sounds like a fantastic course. Congratulations and I'm glad you had fun!

    Re: level 4 (GT3 Road Car)-Sport Driving School -Aussi

    i think Aussi is the only place outside of Germany to offer higher level driving class... i think they should offer it in USA and other places as well

    Re: level 4 (GT3 Road Car)-Sport Driving School -Aussi

    Great description and very informative.
    Thanks

     
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