by: Roy A Swaringen, Jr., Ph.D.
Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the Q1_2021 issue of quattro Magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro Magazine, please join Audi Club here.
Editor’s Note 2: With Audi Club Potomac-Chesapeake’s 2021 Fall Finale rapidly approaching, we decided to post the quattro Magazine article about last year’s event.
If you, like me, occasionally feel the need for speed, the best solution is to attend a High Performance Driver Education (HDPE) school where you can fulfill this desire in a controlled environment. Fortunately, Audi Club offers such events and a member favorite must certainly be VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).
Weather was dry and warmer than usual for this year’s Fall Finale. Peaking in the afternoon, drivers were specifically warned that as the sun angle became lower, some grip would go away. The second day’s morning fog burnt off but left the painted corner “gators” wet and slippery. With a track as technical as VIR, experienced instructors and advice such as this makes all the difference.
The COVID pandemic definitely affected how some things were done, including in-car registration, on-line waiver signing, option of Lead-Follow instruction, and the cancellation of the usual evening banquet. Wearing masks was mandatory as was social distancing. Classroom sessions were held outdoors.
Drivers were assigned to 5 run groups based on experience and demonstrated ability on track. This grouping means that in every run group there will be disparity in the horsepower of cars. There were a total of about 34 cars in a group. As a driver, if you see any of these cars closing in on you, you give them an acknowledging wave at the inside mirror and look ahead for the next safe passing zone. Passing is by “invitation”. Activating the left turn signal indicates the faster car may pass on the left. A right turn signal means pass on the right.
The 3.27 mile course has 21 turns numbered 1 to 17 with 4 of them having 2 numbers such as 5 and 5a. In addition to the 3 basic and longer passing zones, passing is also allowed in shorter straights but the car being passed needs to back off to enable a safe pass.
With everyone cooperating, it was an enjoyable weekend that included a minimum of spinouts or other off-track incidents. It’s great fun when people play nice. Audi Club Potomac Chesapeake runs a well-organized event and does a thorough job addressing precautions for the benefit of everyone’s health and welfare. Pandemic procedures do reduce the comradery element a bit but it’s great just being able to get out to enjoy your Audi at a circuit like VIR.
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