First time on a track

Embracing the essence of Porsche's GT series while unleashind adrenaline, shredding rubber and learning the track trade

Redbullring Porsche Gt4

Okay, let me share the inside scoop – the racetrack wasn’t exactly my initial Porsche daydream. But thanks to some inspiring folks who knew how to push my buttons, I found myself forking over a trackday fee at the RedBull Ring near the quaint Austrian town Knittefeld. The car had nearly 3000 km, and the original oil had been swapped out just 1000 km ago. I had practiced enough laps in my simulator to make me want to race even more.

Where am I?

Early in the morning, I roll up to this state-of-the-art racing complex. Everyone else is decked out in full racing gear, their cars looking like they’re ready for a space launch on their trailers. I’m standing there thinking, “Why did I bring my amateur self to this pro party? I might as well have ‘kick me’ sign on my car.” To spice things up a bit, the weather decided to join the party, so I found myself keeping a close eye on the weather report hoping for as many dry laps as possible.

I was convinced I had the track memorized like the back of my hand, but when reality hit, I was utterly lost. For a few laps, corner counting became my own mysterious puzzle. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

 … but when reality hit, I was utterly lost!

Engaging in intense strategy sessions—just kidding. Taking a break, gathering intel.

Lesson number one

As I hit the track and explored it in real-time, it surprisingly started feeling like home. The initial curiosity turned into a joyride, and I found myself experiencing more significant G-forces than ever before in my own car. Of course, I fell into the common pitfall of not hitting the brakes aggressively enough, and my friend Jure, a true track day junkie, was there to break down my blunder. Oh, now we’re braking! And now we’re slicing seconds too. For the rest of the day, I was playing mad scientist, embracing Jure’s guidance tips and attempting to dance with the ideal lines while death-gripping the wheel during full-on braking. The car’s performance was exceptional and predictable. It never exhibited understeer or oversteer, leading to one inevitable conclusion: I was too slow, ha ha! And I was hooked, eagaerly waiting for the next event!

Fear not when rain comes

Hold up, the plot thickens! Here’s the lowdown: I pulled off a few spins while honing my maneuvering finesse on a wet track. The Michelin Cup2’s grip threw me for a loop – very solid during straight-line braking, but toss in a turn, and that grip disappears in the blink of an eye! If rain decides to crash your track day party, fear not! It’s the perfect opportunity to fine-tune precision skills at lower speeds. The laws of physics are constant!

Rev it up, Scotty!

I clocked in at a lap time of 1:49:xx, which isn’t too shabby for a first-timer, especially considering the occasional raindrops making the track less than bone-dry. Another unexpected revelation hit me. Striving to be fair and prioritize safety, I was more than willing to let faster drivers pass and at the beginning I was letting pretty much everyone by. However, at some point during the day, I found myself outpacing most of the suited gentlemen I had admired in the parking lot upon arrival.

Yet another lesson learned: Never underestimate yourself!

Stripped away a bit of that virgin rubber!