996 40th Model Anniversary 2004 Year January 2018 Acquired
As much as I enjoy driving on track with the Porsche Club, I enjoy serving as an instructor more.
While it is thrilling to learn new tracks and engage in the never-ending pursuit of the perfect lap at the highest possible speed, it is even more rewarding to introduce newcomers to this addictive sport and see them grow in confidence and ability lap by lap.
Luckily for me my local Pacific Northwest region hosts both High Performance Driving Events (HPDE) and Driver’s Skills (DS) clinics monthly from April through October, so there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer.
Since this is my first season running on two new tracks in the Seattle area – Pacific Raceways and The Ridge – I am participating in the HPDES just as a driver while I master these tracks and perfect the ‘school line’. I will definitely start instructing next season. Meanwhile, I have been very busy working as an instructor at the Driver’s Skills events. Unlike HPDES, where instructors have an opportunity to drive on track in their own cars as part of the Advanced Group along with instructing their student during the novice sessions, DS events provide no such opportunity for solo track time as they are all-day events with constant responsibilities.
‘All work and no play’, one might say, but while that deters some instructors it simply motivates me to keep volunteering. The only limiting factor on student attendance is the number of instructors who step up each month. We could book 45 to 50 students at every event, but occasionally have to limit the size of the class due to a lack of instructors. For my part I have already instructed at four events this summer, and will likely do several more.
During these all-day sessions the students develop basic car control skills on wet skid pads, slalom courses and high-speed braking and accident avoidance courses, with an autocross at day’s end to put all the skills together.
The huge smiles and warm thanks from these amped-up and excited students are all the reward one could ask for, but there is the added bonus of a satisfyingly warm feeling from knowing that you have most likely saved a few of these folks from a very serious road accident at some point in their lives. What could possibly be a better way to spend a sunny Saturday?