944 CORNER – A DE lap in an N/A 944

Darren MG_5454By Darren deRoos, Provinz Assistant Editor (from Provinz February 2015 page 43)

If you’ve been following this column, you know I drive an NA 944 and that I just went through the process of supercharging it. As of right now though I have yet to flog the current iteration of my car at one of our local DE events, so this article will talk about a lap in my stock, normally aspirated 944, which is truly an exercise in maintaining momentum, not always an easy task at our busy DE days.

Because I drive a 944, I tend to have a bit of an inferiority complex. It may be the constant jokes about water cooling, front engines or VW-Audi heritage. Sometimes though it makes it that much sweeter when I’m able to run up on, and sometimes over, one of my car’s rear-engine brethren.

Here’s a brief description of how a lap at Mosport (CTMP), feels to me. I am not an instructor yet.

Exiting the pits, it’s important to check your mirrors, some cars can approach at terrific speeds out of turn one. The last thing I want to do is alter somebody’s lap, especially if they are also in a lower powered car. Full throttle upshifts are a must, while respecting cold tires and cold brakes and depending on the time of day, a cold driver.

Turn 2 is frightening enough without adding variables, but cold tires means a delicate balance of brake and throttle to avoid getting into trouble. It’s far less daunting with the current paved runoff than it was “back-in-the-day” with only grass to guide you to the tire wall, but it’s still no fun to spin.

Up into turn 3 and now things are getting going. Moving over to the far left before turning in and “cresting” the apex while getting on the gas will hopefully carry enough speed to go full throttle on exit and use every last millimetre of track while clearing your throat and contemplating your upshift into fourth and the decision must soon be made.

Do I lift slightly into turn 4 or go full throttle? I have done turn 4 with my gas pedal mashed to the floor but over the years I keep telling myself that this is Driver’s Education, not a race, and with age and experience, I usually lift off a quarter throttle until I see the bottom of four and then mash the gas again going down the hill. This is one of my favourite places at Mosport and where I catch many faster cars. Just as I start to fly, now it’s time to slow down.

Turn 5. HARD on the brakes as you start to head uphill. It’s a blind right-hander and I like to keep fairly tight to the right and go straight up before drifting left and then the hard right for 5B.

If done correctly the amount of speed carried through this section can be huge and I have surprised many a faster car exiting 5B with them thinking I must have a turbo car. I may even get a point by!

I then retrieve my oar from the hatch and start to row my way up the back straight. All the while getting point bys resulting from my blistering pace through 5 and then people getting tired of pointing, thinking I’ve encountered some massive mechanical failure and they take off like a CF-18 on an aircraft carrier while I am still rowing my boat.

Time to wake up! Turn 8 is approaching, and that much faster car that got tired of pointing is now in my sights again. Because they had to brake at the 150-foot mark and I just tap the binders to set the nose, BAM! Back on the gas and I’m gaining again. It’s time to set them up for turn 9 so I can graze their bumper into 10 and hopefully get the point by exiting onto the front straight and if the wind is just right, pass going downhill into turn one, or not.

It’s the middle of winter, cut me some slack. I think I’m fast out there, but I’m really just having the best time possible in a 140-HP car. I’m sure there are faster ways around the track, and with our fantastic instructors in UCR I hope I will continue to learn them.

Happy Cornering!

Darren deRoos and RennBear

(my prize at the December social)

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