I had my first real taste of high performance driving on a track at Pacific Raceways not long ago. I wasn’t sure if I would love it or hate it, but I had already registered for another PNWR Driver Education track day at The Ridge. Thankfully I loved my experience at Pacific and I was excited to have another go.
I’ve had more experienced drivers explain the differences between the tracks, and each person seems to have their favorite. The Ridge seems to be the overall fan favorite and I can see why. The track has recently been repaved, and it feels like a more modern racetrack. More turns, a wider track, “more technical”, some blind corners following elevation changes and likely safer if you run off the track because you have nothing but grass and gravel to contend with. Pacific has more walls and trees to greet you if you make a big mistake. I need more experience on both tracks before picking a favorite. Pacific is much closer and I felt like I did better by the end of the day at Pacific. The Ridge remained a mystery to me, but one that I plan to solve with more experience. My day at The Ridge was also very wet…it poured the whole time. I look forward to experiencing The Ridge in better weather.
It was a very early morning start (a theme with most of my car events) and I was happy that Shep was joining me for the day. He wouldn’t be allowed in the car while I was on the track, but he got to hang out at the race track all day and experience the sights and sounds of cars ripping around at speed. I also bribed him with basically unlimited treats for the day. Given the rain he had to put up with, he earned it! We enjoyed the 2 hour drive from Seattle to Shelton, fueled with coffee, breakfast sandwiches and go-juice for the Spyder. You can see how prepared Shep was for the wet weather…that is his swim team jacket and it was perfect for the day.
Once again, I’m thankful that a pro photographer, https://www.bouchezphotography.com, was there to capture some fantastic photos. He put up with cold, wet conditions all day to capture these images and I can’t thank him enough! These are all Christian’s photos:
Here are some videos from the day. Not because they are impressive…on the contrary, I was slow and terrible. I’m just putting them here so I don’t lose them.
Here is the first session where I’m mostly focused on just getting to know the trackJust getting to know the track.
The second and third sessions are wetter. I started to get to know the track, but never felt comfortable at higher speed. The car, even with good wet condition tires, still felt unsettled in the standing water. The straight felt dangerous to me given the threat of hydroplaning. More experienced drivers didn’t have as much of a problem but I have not mastered The Art of Racing in the Rain yet. Given how rainy and wet it was, I called it a day after the third session and Shep and I enjoyed the 2 hour drive home.