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Old 12-07-2012, 03:03 PM   #1
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NorCal Track Day

BUMP for 2014!

I think it would be fun to get a group together for a track day. I need to get back onto a road course and know there are others in the NorCal area that would like to track their cars as well. Since there are some options for tracks, dates, etc. I figured we should start a discussion.

For those that have never done one, track days are generally run by a track day group (Hooked on Driving, TrackMasters, etc.) or clubs (NASA, SCCA, PCoA, etc.). These groups rent the track and then charge a fee for each participant ($250-350 depending on the group, track, number of sessions, instruction, etc.). Events are typically broken into 30 minute sessions and divided between groups/classes based on experience (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, etc.). Generally you can expect to get 2-2.5 hours of track time over the course of the day.

The only requirements for participation is a SA 2005 or newer helmet and a well maintained car. Prior to the event you should perform a thorough tech inspection (check tires, brake pads/fluids, etc.) but no other modifications are required (unless you're driving a convertible).

There are three major tracks in NorCal: Thunderhill, Sonoma (Sears Point), and Laguna Seca.

Spots for track days at some tracks fill-up quickly, so it is best to plan ahead. Also, track days are rain-or-shine (and almost never give refunds if it rains), so the time of the year might be important for some. Most groups/tracks are available weekends, but others are often mid-week. Track days generally run from 8am-5pm and can be physically and mentally demanding, depending on the track I would recommend looking into a hotel for the night before/after (a 2.5hr drive to Thunderhill trying to make an 8am drivers meeting can make for a very long day).

So, questions for everyone... who's interested in doing a track day event? Which tracks are people interested in? When (season, day of week, etc.) would people like to have the track day? Is there any desire for a two-day event? What on-track experience do people have? Any comments/concerns about doing a track day?

-Todd...
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Interested. It would have to be a weekend event.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:32 PM   #4
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I'm in. Just tell me when and where now that I make my own schedule. I would like to do Laguna Seca but I don't think I could pass the DB requirement

Sonoma would be my second choice at is much closer than thunder, although I realize it is very advanced. I've run it a million times on Forza so I'm good to go
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merkle...View Post
Count me in. weekends for best.

You move to the Bay Area?
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #6
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I'm in. Just tell me when and where now that I make my own schedule. I would like to do Laguna Seca but I don't think I could pass the DB requirement

Sonoma would be my second choice at is much closer than thunder, although I realize it is very advanced. I've run it a million times on Forza so I'm good to go


You must have a newer version of forza then me, I don't have Infineon on mine.... I do have Laguna seca though and that track I'm a master at.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:48 PM   #7
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DE3/High Intermediate group ...done a few advanced days but ehh, not there yet.

Down for any track.
Prefer 2 day weekend events.
Track is crack.

As long as Ferdz are allowed to hang with the cool kids.

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Old 12-07-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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Look for the HPDE days offered by NASA out at Sears Point. I know they do a few of them each year and last one I went to was a 2 day event on the first weekend in May a few years back. I had 4 sessions per day and each was 20 minutes long. Wait for the 2013 schedule to fill up and contact the group putting on the event.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05GOATLS2...View Post
Interested. It would have to be a weekend event.

Have you ever driven on track before? Is there a track you would prefer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Yeti...View Post
I'm in. Just tell me when and where

Would you prefer a weekend or weekday event? Any interest in doing two consecutive days? What are your thoughts on rain... would a spring date (with a chance of rain) be better than a summer one (with hotter temperatures)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Yeti...View Post
I would like to do Laguna Seca but I don't think I could pass the DB requirement

Very good point, Laguna Seca has a 92dB sound limit for many track days (there are a few 90dB days as well). Anyone running long tubes and/or no cats might have difficulties with the sound limits. There are ways to work around the limits (like lifting on the straight next to the sound shack), but it's something to be aware of. With my supercharger and shorties I was OK, but I've not run there with LTs yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Yeti...View Post
Sonoma would be my second choice at is much closer than thunder, although I realize it is very advanced.

Sonoma and Laguna Seca are a bit more challenging than Thunderhill, mostly due do to the close proximity of the walls to the track. If things go wrong there's less room to recover. I've never driven at Thunderhill, but I've heard it's a great track for those starting out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by City Goat...View Post
DE3/High Intermediate group ...done a few advanced days but ehh, not there yet.

Down for any track.
Prefer 2 day weekend events.
Track is crack.

Is there a group you prefer to run with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by City Goat...View Post
As long as Ferdz are allowed to hang with the cool kids.

The best track car I've driven was a Ford!




Besides, it's highly unlikely that we'd get enough people at a various experience level to block-out an entire run group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyGoatGruff...View Post
Look for the HPDE days offered by NASA out at Sears Point. I know they do a few of them each year and last one I went to was a 2 day event on the first weekend in May a few years back. I had 4 sessions per day and each was 20 minutes long. Wait for the 2013 schedule to fill up and contact the group putting on the event.

The schedules are starting to come together now... I've never run with NASA, but I hear they are a great group (especially if you want to move into racing). Do you know if they have instructors for beginner drivers?

-Todd...
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
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I'm down for weekdays. I prefer them over weekends, and I'm not worried about getting rained out. I don't need a two day event either. Just more likely to destroy a second set of brakes and tires...
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:00 PM   #11
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I've attended several driving schools and done one track day with my G8 at Laguna Seca. I'm often eligible for "open passing" run groups, but would prefer to stick with the "point-by" ones while learning a new track. I'm a member of CFRA, so can sponsor guests at their events (previous track day experience required).

I would prefer a two-day weekend event at Sonoma or Thunderhill. With my latest round of upgrades I don't think I'll be under the 92dB limit at Laguna Seca (and no way under a 90dB limit). While I'm not against a Laguna event, I might need some exhaust mods prior.

-Todd...

PS - I added a list of potential track day events to the second post. I'll try to keep this up-to-date as we progress.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #12
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I don't have any road race experience.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by City Goat...View Post
As long as Ferdz are allowed to hang with the cool kids.


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the OR, WA, ID, MT threads get lost in the NorCal section.

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Old 12-08-2012, 10:07 PM   #14
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NASA events have very good instruction and would be good for the first-timers. They're pretty anal, but for guys who don't want to go FlatOut(tm) and risk their cars, that's not a bad thing. The 4x20 minute sessions per day is not a lot of track time. But 8x20 over a weekend does feel like a lot, and making a weekend of it is a more enjoyable experience than a one-day quickie - that three-hour Saturday evening dinner can be epic. The main benefit of NASA is that redtopz06 and I get to hang with you guys

If the consensus is for a one-day event then, umm, dunno. You want an organizer who is laid back and has got decent instruction. That's a rare combination. TEAM Racing would have been great, but Bonni recently shut it down Trackmasters will be OK. NCRC are great guys but don't normally have instruction. You can arrange instructors with NCRC for some extra $.

And I do think Thunderhill would be best. The runoff areas make it a lot safer than Sonoma or Laguna, and the track's relative simplicity means that you can concentrate more on your driving and being safe and having fun. Whereas Sonoma is such a damn chess game that 110% of your thought and concentration will be consumed by the intricacies of the track itself. I mean, if the objective is "go fast" then at Sonoma, the way to go fast is to learn Sonoma better, rather than to drive your car better. Laguna is a very simple track and would be a great one for relative newcomers; but it's less safe and has the 92dB thing and fewer track days.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:12 PM   #15
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Big question I have is how can your car be insured for something like this ? you are WAY more likely to damage your car on a race track then you are doing the 1/4 mile.

FYI my rims came with some really nice track tires. Two are barely worn, the other two are pretty worn but still have some life. Unless there is a way to insure my car I will most likely be selling these tires. I have always wanted to race at Laguna Seca.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flink...View Post
NASA events have very good instruction and would be good for the first-timers. They're pretty anal, but for guys who don't want to go FlatOut(tm) and risk their cars, that's not a bad thing.

I'm getting in contact with the HPDE director, but if you know anything else about their events that would be great. Do you know if they things the same dates as the race weekend, or are they separate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flink...View Post
The 4x20 minute sessions per day is not a lot of track time. But 8x20 over a weekend does feel like a lot, and making a weekend of it is a more enjoyable experience than a one-day quickie - that three-hour Saturday evening dinner can be epic. The main benefit of NASA is that redtopz06 and I get to hang with you guys

I agree with this 100%. The first day you'll spend much of your time learning the logistics of being on track... the second day you'll really start to have fun. Spending time at night talking shop with others is also a great experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flink...View Post
If the consensus is for a one-day event then, umm, dunno. You want an organizer who is laid back and has got decent instruction. That's a rare combination.

My thought would be to choose a two-day event and those who want to only do a single day could just do the first day. Those wanting more can do both days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flink...View Post
I do think Thunderhill would be best. The runoff areas make it a lot safer than Sonoma or Laguna, and the track's relative simplicity means that you can concentrate more on your driving and being safe and having fun. Whereas Sonoma is such a damn chess game that 110% of your thought and concentration will be consumed by the intricacies of the track itself. I mean, if the objective is "go fast" then at Sonoma, the way to go fast is to learn Sonoma better, rather than to drive your car better. Laguna is a very simple track and would be a great one for relative newcomers; but it's less safe and has the 92dB thing and fewer track days.

Very good points.

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Originally Posted by dlively11...View Post
Big question I have is how can your car be insured for something like this ? you are WAY more likely to damage your car on a race track then you are doing the 1/4 mile.

Several groups offer insurance for the beginning run groups for an extra cost. Generally the distinction for most insurance is "timed events". I've discussed my track activities with my insurance carrier (State Farm) and my policy covers "non-timed events". For them it's not about being on-track, rather it being "a race"... so for me, 1/4 mile isn't covered (since it's timed) but track days are (since they are not timed).

I will also say, as long as you're being smart/safe and driving within your limits, HPDEs on a road course is not an overly risky activity. I feel safer on track than I do driving on the freeway with soccer moms in SUVs texting away on their cell phones.

-Todd...

Last edited by TCorzett; 12-08-2012 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:47 PM   #17
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I'm getting in contact with the HPDE director, but if you know anything else about their events that would be great. Do you know if they things the same dates as the race weekend, or are they separate?

Yes, HPDE runs at the same events as Time trial and racing. Not all NASA events have HPDE, but most do. Occasionally HPDE only runs for one day of the weekend. The July Laguna event is TT/race only, for example.

Here's the September 2012 event schedule: http://norcalinfo.nasamail.net/event...ptcombined.pdf - it's pretty typical.

Quote:
Several groups offer insurance for the beginning run groups for an extra cost.

Googling for "HPDE insurance" lists a few providers. The locktonaffinity guys are best-known and seem to have a decent reputation.

I wouldn't bother personally, especially if it's Thunderhill - collisions are vanishingly rare in HPDE and the most likely cost item is a mechanical failure, rather than hitting something. There has been a significant amount of damage in (non-NASA) HPDE due to doing it in the rain at Sonoma - don't do that!
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCorzett...View Post

Several groups offer insurance for the beginning run groups for an extra cost. Generally the distinction for most insurance is "timed events". I've discussed my track activities with my insurance carrier (State Farm) and my policy covers "non-timed events". For them it's not about being on-track, rather it being "a race"... so for me, 1/4 mile isn't covered (since it's timed) but track days are (since they are not timed).

I will also say, as long as you're being smart/safe and driving within your limits, HPDEs on a road course is not an overly risky activity. I feel safer on track than I do driving on the freeway with soccer moms in SUVs texting away on their cell phones.

-Todd...


Wow, no shit ? I need to find out if my Farmers policy covers non timed events. I have four tires sitting right here ready to roll. I would totally be down for a track day especially Laguna Seca. My car has a lot of good suspension mods done to it and I think it would be a lot of fun with good tires. Can you run regular street radials too ?
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:44 PM   #19
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Maybe not anymore it seems

Quote:
the industry began to add a new exclusion to its policies in the late 1990s, with most companies adding it within the last few years. Instead of trying to define racing, policies exclude damage at any location that could accommodate racing, timed or not. That eliminated coverage during high-performance driving schools and track days.

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Old 12-09-2012, 08:04 PM   #20
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Maybe not anymore it seems

I've heard various things from various sources... even within the same company. Best to double-check the specific terms of your policy. If your policy doesn't cover any track events, there is supplemental track day specific insurance available from various companies. If it's something that you're concerned about it's worth looking into.

When I took my driving schools I always opted for the insurance (~$100 more per day w/$5k deductible) just to have the piece of mind. I wanted to push the limits and didn't want to find myself needing to pay for a $75k race car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlively11...View Post
Can you run regular street radials too ?

I would recommend that someone with limited experience stick to street tires. They are much more forgiving and predictable than r-comp or slick tires. Besides, the first few times the driver will be the limiting factor by far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlively11...View Post
I would totally be down for a track day especially Laguna Seca. My car has a lot of good suspension mods done to it and I think it would be a lot of fun

Do you have any previous track experience? Would a weekday or weekend event work better for you? Any desire for a two day event? Would you prefer a spring date (with a greater chance for rain) or a summer event (with hotter temperatures)?

-Todd...
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Is there a group you prefer to run with?


The best track car I've driven was a Ford!




Besides, it's highly unlikely that we'd get enough people at a various experience level to block-out an entire run group.


The schedules are starting to come together now... I've never run with NASA, but I hear they are a great group (especially if you want to move into racing). Do you know if they have instructors for beginner drivers?

-Todd...

Couple more cents to add:
- NASA is great for your first year of track days. It's incredibly well organized, there are a LOT of cool cars to drool over, the instruction is usually fantastic and while pricey - it really gets you hooked.

- After going solo, I'd recommend running with the smaller groups. SpeedVentures for instance has been fantastic to run with for me. More track time, more laid back, less cost.

- Golden Gate Lotus club offers the best track days I've ever been to. TONS of track time, literally you can get 12+ sessions in a day for half the cost of normal events. But they don't have many events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 05GOATLS2...View Post
I don't have any road race experience.

The only thing you need is a vehicle and a good attitude.

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:21 AM   #22
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NASA is great for your first year of track days. It's incredibly well organized, there are a LOT of cool cars to drool over, the instruction is usually fantastic and while pricey - it really gets you hooked.

So far everyone has great comments about NASA, especially for their new driver instruction. I'm leaning towards a first event with them, just waiting to get some more information from them about dates, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by City Goat...View Post
After going solo, I'd recommend running with the smaller groups.

Agreed. Hopefully a first event with one of the larger groups with good instruction will move most of our guys into a solo run group. Then there are lots of options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by City Goat...View Post
Golden Gate Lotus club offers the best track days I've ever been to. TONS of track time, literally you can get 12+ sessions in a day for half the cost of normal events. But they don't have many events.

Good to know! I've seen GG Lotus and PCoA on track calendars, but didn't know how open they were to other vehicle types.

Reading about the GG Lotus run groups it sounds like an awesome way to go once more people have on-track experience. The ability for A Group drivers to drive B Group sessions would be a fun... also a good chance for some lead-follow.

All this track talk is getting me excited

-Todd...
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:29 AM   #23
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Get it going!

2012 was great for me, I did 6 events between May and September. Would love to double that in 2013.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #24
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2012 was great for me, I did 6 events between May and September. Would love to double that in 2013.

I did my 3-Day Bondurant course in December 2011, the 2-Day Spring Mountain course in February, and the 3-Day Miller Motorsports course in March. After some engine trouble in the G8 at Laguna in April I've not been back on a road course... it's killing me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by City Goat...View Post
Get it going!

Sounds like we have some interest in an early spring date... even if there is a chance for rain? Personally I'd rather do that... then wait around for a hot summer day at Thunderhill with scorching temperatures!

What do others think... especially those who haven't be on-track before? Are you guys interested in doing something January/February?

-Todd...
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:24 AM   #25
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FYI - I'm likely signing up for the Sonoma NASA February 9-10 wtih Flink & GTO Fan. It's a weekend and close to home.

http://www.nasanorcal.com/index.php?/site/section_news/

I don't mind the rain...beats the heat.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:18 AM   #26
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FYI - I'm likely signing up for the Sonoma NASA February 9-10 wtih Flink & GTO Fan. It's a weekend and close to home. I don't mind the rain...beats the heat.

That might be a good event. There are a couple people who seem interested in a Sonoma event, myself included, and NASA seems like a good group to run with. I'll try to find out some more information on this, but if anyone hears details about this event (registration, run groups, costs, etc.) please let us know.

For everyone who would be interested in a Sonoma event, does February 9th (and 10th) work for you?

-Todd...
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:37 PM   #27
TCorzett
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Looks like CFRA will be having a 105dB day at Laguna Seca on Saturday, March 30th ($279). There is a very high likelihood that I'll be attending this event. I don't know if there will be guest registration, but for those who are interested send me a PM and we can discuss it more (previous on-track experience before the registration is required).

-Todd...
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:14 PM   #28
The Yeti
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I'll do the sonoma event with you. If that gives me the qualifications to run Laguna with in march I will do that too!
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:26 AM   #29
flink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCorzett...View Post
Looks like CFRA will be having a 105dB day at Laguna Seca on Saturday, March 30th ($279).

CFRA are a bit unusual - they have a screening process where you need to be recommended by a member or go through an application process.

It sounds like you've run with CFRA before? If so, how did all that go? They have a June event at Laguna which I might like to attend, to get my Laguna mojo back in preparation for the NASA July race weekend there.

http://www.yourprivatetrackday.com/ have an April event at Laguna. I've done one day with them and found them to be pretty good.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:12 PM   #30
TCorzett
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flink...View Post
CFRA are a bit unusual - they have a screening process where you need to be recommended by a member or go through an application process.

It sounds like you've run with CFRA before? If so, how did all that go? They have a June event at Laguna which I might like to attend, to get my Laguna mojo back in preparation for the NASA July race weekend there.

Yes, I ran with CFRA (as a guest) last April at Laguna ($99 track day I couldn't pass-up!). The track day went well other than my engine taking a dump at the end of the second session. I had a great time and everyone seemed very friendly. I had a mentor ride along with me for a session (I wanted to work on my line since I'd hadn't driven Laguna before), but it's not setup for new driver instruction. After demonstrating my on-track manners I was made a member. I've not had a chance to run with them again, but it's high on my list of to-do's. I should be able to invite guests.

They seem like a fairly strict group of people when it comes to aggressive driving, but I feel it's done to keep things safe and minimize the risk of vehicle-to-vehicle incidents. That said, they encouraged me to run in the open passing group (I chose to run the point-by group since I'd never driven the G8 on track and wanted to keep things slow), so they're not crazy about having to pass specific requirements (just showing good judgement). I've not been involved with their race run group, but from what I saw it seems well run.

My understanding is that you run with them as a guest once to demonstrate you "meet CFRA standards". If no members object, you're offered membership ($55/yr; my first year was prorated based on join date).

The March 105dB event at Laguna is a must for me, since I don't think I'll be under the 92dB limit with my new exhaust (without making turn-downs or adding supertraps). I don't know if I'd attend the June (92dB) date unless I do some sound checks in March, but I can ask about sponsoring someone if I'm not running that day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flink...View Post
http://www.yourprivatetrackday.com/ have an April event at Laguna. I've done one day with them and found them to be pretty good.

Cool, I'll add them to the calendar.

-Todd...

Last edited by TCorzett; 12-12-2012 at 12:20 PM.
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