I was having such a great weekend, too. Saturday was a full day in the advanced group of drivers and a new instructor. My instructor was a very enthusiastic guy who really enjoyed what the Evo could do. We found the cross-over of the North Course at VIR was just made for my car as it climbed the hill like a cat clawing it way up drapes.
After the day and three sessions out on the 2.25 mile course I was beat, but I really enjoyed the growth in my driving.
Sunday morning the instructor came over and let me know that I had been signed off to be solo, or sans instructor for Sunday. So off I went on the first session on my own. Believe it or not, you can feel the difference with another person’s weight gone and I found being on my own allowed me to really focus my attention on the driving. Not that instructors don’t have their benefits, but it does take attention to listen to their instructions as you make your way quickly and smoothly through the track.
After that session I met up with him and reviewed my run. He suggested that we pair up again for my second session so he could see for himself how I was doing. When it was time for that session he jumped in and we headed back on the track.
He was very pleased to see how smooth my driving had become after my solo session and was interested to see how I would do trying a little different line through a set of turns known as Hog Pen. It was a little later entry to turn 16 than I had been taking and provided a chance to pick up more speed through the turns leading to the front straight.
I set the car up for 16 and then as I cleared 17 I could see I was going wide on the turn. I kept hoping that I could pull it enough to stay on the pavement, but I slid off the left side of the track and knew it was all over. The car started its inevitable spin and I headed to the opposite side of the track and the tire wall. The car was facing backwards as I hit the tire wall with the left front corner of the car and I said “Shit!”. Then the car careened back across the track and into the grassy area. Everyone was OK and the instructor had me pull further off just in case another car might copy my move.
We were very lucky that no traffic t-boned me as I came back across to the grass.
The corner workers and rescue folks were there very quickly and there was no fire to worry about. I was pissed, but not damaged and the instructor was fine, too.
After being checked out by the medical staff I sat in the driver’s seat as the car was towed back to the pits. It could run and I parked it. The hydraulics for the active center differential was busted and leaking and the driver’s side of the car was a mess of bumps on the sheet metal.
After I talked with the event staff I gave my auto insurance company a call and they dispatched a roll-back to pick up the car and get it to a body shop. Life goes on.
The instructor and I talked about it quite a bit that afternoon. I’m sure he was concerned that I was pissed at him. No matter, I was the guy behind the wheel and ultimately responsible.
There will be other track days for me, but it will be a while as I get the Evo repaired.