Well things are picking up here in VroomGrrl land! I had a great 911-centric weekend! Saturday was our annual multi-car-club winter drive. As usual, there was snow and ice the week before the drive. In front of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, we assembled a great collection of about 40 cars from the British, Mercedes and Porsche clubs. While we had a Plan B, we took off on the planned route to the summit of Alabama’s highest peak, Mt. Cheaha, assured the roads were clear.
Of course, we found out soon enough that there was some treacherous ice to be navigated. We had about 40 cars and miraculously, we all managed to stay together until about a mile short of the mountain summit, where a good bunch of us bailed out in the face of a passage that looked like an uphill glacier, and we headed down the “clear” way. It turned out to be not so clear when we set out, but once we got off the mountain, the roads were fine.
Whew! We were ravenous at lunch, and passed the time waiting for our meals by reliving our most grueling “pucker moments” from the drive. Everybody made it to the designated lunch spot except the Brits, all of whom tried to make it to the summit, but had to be pulled out by the rangers (four of them, I believe). No cars or people were injured, and everybody who participated had a good time. The organizer had some stickers made up, and as we picked them up, we joked about how we’d just earned our merit badge in ice driving. Another great Winter Fahrt is in the books!
On the way home, I stopped by Barber to see my buddy at Porsche Sport Driving School. I’d given him my copy of Vic Elford’s 911 High Performance Driving Handbook which he thought he might be able to get autographed by the author for me. It’s been about a year, and I have seen Vic Elford twice since I left the book with my friend! I thought the upcoming Daytona might present another chance so I stopped by to get the book back. He was there on Saturday because PSDS was having a weekend school session.
I had never seen the 2011 Porsche 911 GT2RS in person, and really enjoyed ogling this one, along with all the other awesome cars out there. After the day’s driving, I was exhausted, and headed back home after a quick visit. Sunday I got a call from my friend – when I picked up the book, I dropped my gloves! Dammit. Did I want to come pick them up? I was still in my pajamas and since I had to be back out there next weekend anyway, I said I’d just come get them next weekend. Did I want to come pick them up at 3:40 and take a hot lap ride? Oh hell yeah!
Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I quickly got my shit together, hopped into my 1988 911, and zipped over to Barber. My buddy lined me up for a 911 Turbo ride with John Lewis at the wheel. As I got into the car, my friend said to John, “OK, she’s done this before, she’s ready for the advanced ride if you know what I mean!” and they both laughed. I was in for a good one! And a good one it was! It took me a minute to get comfortable, but holy hell the launch on that car just about peeled my face off! It was awesome!!
John said he’d been dying to cut loose and I was his last ride of the day. We were going twice around, and I was sooo tickled about that because it meant that I got to experience how he’d tackle Turn 15 into the front straight. This is a famous spot for folks to do a little hot-dogging, aka drifting, if they are of a mind to do a thing like that. John did not disappoint! Then he took a rather…playful line down the front straight to amuse the guys standing at the track wall, and ended up on a rather…interesting approach to turn 1! WHEW!!
This was a great reminder for me as the year begins. Once again, I am reminded of what the world is like at speed. What Barber is like at speed. Man, that is a fun little track. My favorite turn is the corkscrew, the roller coaster, Turn 8, the “Museum” turn. LOVE that thing! Obviously, it’s very different from my 1988 911 to the 2011 911 Turbo. Man the speed we carried into that thing, the drama of the weight transfer with some rotation at the bottom, the thrill of shooting out of there…fun, fun, and fun! More fun to drive, of course, but I absolutely enjoyed it as a passenger with John. I would never see it quite like that in my car!
Things are getting very busy with my local PCA, and as the Secretary this year, I have some work cut out for me. These guys are fantastic, and there is some great energy to try new things. The leadership that’s transitioning out are all racers, and they were not much on recordkeeping. It’s a nasty job, but somebody’s gotta do it! I hope to institute some document retention policies and put some simple systems and templates in place to cover our recordkeeping bases. Having more and more people coming out to new events is, hokey as this will sound, all the reward I could want for the time spent on the back-stage paper-shuffling that comes with a big national organization. It’s not just the cars, it’s the people!
Wow that was boring. Moving right along, things are falling into place for Daytona. I’m bringing my SCCA-worker whites and buddying up with the same friend I did last year to sign up in with SCCA as Worker Support Workers. Last year, the work was about the most fun I have ever had, riding around on a golf cart from midnight to 7am delivering water and hot coffee to corner workers, and ferrying corner workers to and from their corners, while the race was ongoing. I loved it, and hope to do that again. Finances are not as tight as last year, and while I have not plans to spend a wad of money, it’s just going to be nice to take this trip without the stress of pinching pennies like I had to in order to make the trip last year. More boring! The best part is I’m driving the 911. I got fresh wiper blades today, and everything else is good to go.
The really really best part is the 24 Hour Race, of course, twice around the clock! And your team in a DP car flying the #45 Flying Lizard colors! I wasn’t sure if and how involved Thomas Blam would be, but I shot him an email after Roar and sure enough, he’s all up in the middle of the Daytona effort. I’ll definitely take him up on his invite to come by and say hello in the pit!
And to add to the excitement, a friend I’ve talked about here, my buddy Mike Skeen, will be in the GT class in the #56 Bennett Racing Ferrari F430 Challenge along with Jonathan Allen, Michael Davidson, Jean-Francois Dumoulin, and Glynn Geddie. When I ran across him in the GRM corral last year, he was so excited about a plan he was hatching with his buddies to do this race. The guys who ended up on the team are not the guys he started the plan with, and I will have to ask him what happened to the Grassroots Motorsports Magazine plan to document their truly grassroots effort. But by God, he’s going to be out there racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona! I’m over-the-moon thrilled for him, and so excited I’ll be there to see him race and cheer him on. Oh my and let’s not forget my buddy Spencer Pumpelly in the #67 TRG Porsche! I believe they posted fastest time in GT for the night practice.
And last but not least, Hurley is back! And a PCA-bred racer and local hero by the name of Leh Keen will be teamed up with him in the #59 Brumos Porsche GT3 along with Marc Lieb. They looked great in testing, posting the fastest time in GT in the 3rd session on Saturday.
Heaven only knows what you are up to between now and the race. I should be scouring the NASCAR schedules, shouldn’t I? Ha!
OK well that is quite enough for now, don’t you think???
Be well, drive purty!