This past Sunday I went back to The Ridge Motorsports Park for one of their High Performance Driving days. The event was hosted by the Ridge Racing School and they had a great turnout on a beautiful summer day.
The Ridge Racing school currently lists a couple type of events, the High Performance Driving Day and the Ridge Driving Experience. The latter is their introductory course for new drivers while the one I attended is for experienced sport drivers or licensed racers only. I was able to attend this one based on my previous track experience which although not extensive, does include my being approved for solo driving on this track thanks to the Hooked on Driving (HoD) event I attended earlier.
The Ridge is an amazing track and I’d been looking forward to returning here since my first visit with HoD. One of the reasons I chose this date to come back is I’ve recently joined a team for an upcoming ChumpCar Race at The Ridge in a couple of weeks. ChumpCar is an endurance race series for cheap cars.
I’ll be writing more about this after the race but am very excited to be a part of it as this will be my first actual wheel to wheel race (as opposed to lapping days). So coming to The Ridge ahead of that was a great opportunity to refresh my memory of the track and get some practice before the big day.
One of the first things I noticed coming in to The Ridge this time around was the types of cars that I was lining up behind upon arriving.
Honestly, I felt a bit out of place at first as it looked more like an exotic car show than a normal lapping day.
So you don’t think I’m exaggerating, I’ll post a sampling of the types of vehicles I saw around the paddock below (say hello to Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, KTM, etc):
I quickly got over feeling out of place with my Integra and just took it all in and met a bunch of friendly people who happen to drive very nice cars. The staff at the event were great as well and there’s just a great energy hanging around with a bunch of car and motorsports enthusiasts.
Getting on track again was a blast. I hired an instructor for an hour to help me get back in the groove quickly he was very helpful reminding me about turn in points, track out and car positioning to clean up my line. I found I remembered a good amount of the track but there were a couple of areas I needed to work on.
Early in the day I got a good amount of passing done being pointed by much faster cars. One in particular I found to be a great deal of fun, almost comical. The Lamborghini pictured above was a first timer to the track and I kept catching him in the corners while he just launched away like a rocket in the straightaways. He eventually had to point me by as he was actually going much slower around the whole track.
Towards the end of the day I found I was getting pretty quick around the track. The other drivers had gotten up to speed by then but I was certainly holding my own in one of the slower cars on track. I had one other very memorable pass which was also the most exhilarating, being pointed by a late model Porsche 911 with both of us moving at speed on a straightaway. I just had a really good run through turns 3, 4, and 5 leading up to the straight and was going significantly faster. I can already tell I’m going to really enjoy wheel to wheel racing.
Unfortunately, that was short lived as I ended up spinning midway into turn 6 from carrying too much speed. I ended up taking a short off track excursion but luckily didn’t travel very far and came to a safe stop. I re-entered the track after the Porsche passed by, probably wondering what the big dust cloud was about.
I definitely got my money’s worth at this event, got re-acquainted with the track and feel pretty comfortable and fast through the turns. I even found the entry speed limit to turn 6, so overall a great day of learning. Until the next time!