Solo Drivers, This Track’s For You

I THOUGHT I WOULD START this month’s column with an important request. It’s unfortunate that our country has been plagued by this pandemic, but we play the cards we are dealt. It’s sad that after all these years of asking members to join us as students, that they are the ones most affected by the health restrictions. It would appear that most, if not all, of this season may be nothing more than solo lapping. I can’t imagine that, without a vaccine, we will be able to do any in-car instruction. At this point there is no other way to teach the complexities of high-performance driving and maintain our high safety standards.

In order to continue providing track lapping weekends for the signed-off drivers we need your support. With three events left in the 2020 season we need as many signed-off solo drivers to sign up as possible. The club is contractually obligated to support the balance of our track dates and the added expense of providing meals for everyone is straining our budget. So if you can, please sign up for all three events so we can get through this difficult season unscathed. We are all in this together, so please support your DE program.

I would never survive in the marketing game. I make it my habit to describe things exactly as they are. Less confusion and more clarity let people know exactly what something is and what it’s for. I have to say that I was surprised when Porsche announced the quarter-million-dollar Taycan Turbo S. While the Taycan is a brilliant piece of technology, that doesn’t offset the fact that it doesn’t have a turbo. I would think they could have come up with another term for the hyper-version of their electric car.

These bizarre marketing ploys certainly aren’t new to the automotive world. During the ‘70s Ford produced the exploding Pinto. Later they produced the Mustang II, which wasn’t a Mustang. It was another car built on the Pinto chassis that didn’t explode as often. I understand why they didn’t call it the Pinto II, but why they called it a Mustang is beyond me. They just managed to damage the brand for years.

Decades later Dodge produced the Dodge Ram Sport. It was a pickup truck with some stripes on it. Nothing makes you feel sportier than going through the esses in a raised half-ton pickup with knobby tires. I can feel the wobble from here. They were so ungainly that if you touched the soft shoulder they immediately rolled over. I guess you could call that a sport.

In the past few years several automakers started marketing their low-roofed sedans as “four-door coupes.” The very definition of a coupe is “a car with a fixed roof, two doors and a sloping rear.” Just because you eliminate anyone over four-foot tall from sitting in the back seat, that doesn’t make it a coupe. Maybe you should call it a sport sedan and put some stripes on it.

What I don’t understand about these marketing gimmicks is why you would spend all the time and money on a brand, just to change it into something else and waste all that effort. The Thunderbird was a perfect example. It started out as a two-door sporty coupe with some panache. Like a heavy eater, it gradually grew every year until it was a big wallowing land yacht. Then out of the blue it became a mid-sized sedan. It was then reduced again to a turbo coupe followed by a retro two-door sport coupe. Having been all things in its history, Ford finally threw in the towel and just stopped making it. What a waste.

One thing that I forgot to mention at the beginning of this article is that Mosport (CTMP) has been completely resurfaced. The track management saw the cancellations at the beginning of the season as an opportunity to lay down some asphalt and have enough downtime to allow it to cure. Slick tires are very sticky so whenever they have patched a problem area previously the next event would tear it all up again. There were times when corner five’s surface was as washboard as a country road. There are still some areas that have unusual dips or tracking as the base settles, but for the most part the grip levels are much higher.

That change alone should be an incentive for all the signed-off drivers to sign up for the remainder of the season. It’s like having a new track to learn on. If you were accustomed to using the patches as a visual reference you will be in for a surprise with them all gone. New grip and new sight lines with some pitch changes should be a challenge and a lot of fun for everyone.

It doesn’t look like anything on the health front will improve before the August event, so once more we will be cancelling all the students who require Instructors. If you are a solo driver, please sign up and enjoy the new improved track surface.

See you trackside! </>

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