November 16, 1999

Portland International Raceway
Driving School and Lapping Day
By: Neil McGarry

The North West Region of the Audi quattro Club held a driving school and lapping day at Portland International Raceway on November 5th and 6th. The event started out Thursday night with a classroom session about car control. Saturday included car control exercises and a track walk, with Sunday devoted to hot laps around the 1.944 mile track including the Festival Turns.

The event was attended by approximately 60 vehicles, which were almost exclusively quattro models. There were over 20 A4's, 3 A6's (one was a new 4.2), new and old S4's and many others. A few non-Audi cars were also there: A Porsche 993 and an older 911, a couple of Acura Integras, a Dodge Viper, a Ford Cosworth and a supercharged NSX with a 6 speed that ended up in a wall after it's brakes failed. Since I had just sold my PES-supercharged Avant, my significant other and I drove my chipped Turbo Beetle with coilovers and sticky tires.

Thursday night's classroom car control talk was mandatory for all the beginners. Approximately 70% of the attendees had never attended any kind of car control or lapping event before. Keeping the proper balance of the car and driving smooth were the main focal points of the session. Afterwards a raffle was held for Audi logo'ed apparel and keepsakes.

Friday's car control exercises included an emergency lane change exercise, a skid pad for under/over steer control, a slalom course and threshold braking exercises. In the afternoon, the quattro weather arrived (rain) and made all the exercises a little bit harder. We also walked the track in the pouring rain to talk about the proper line for both a dry and wet weather.

The rain had stopped early Saturday morning, but the track was still drenched. Four run groups were created and the advanced group was sent out to help dry the track. I helped instruct many students in other run groups and some of them became very competent track drivers in a short time.

Audi drivers really don't like a New Beetle to pass them--both an old and a new S4 wouldn't even let me by. They could accelerate much faster than me in the straights, but I would be right on the tails through the turns. It helps that my car is setup for the track. I drove Leszek's 1.8T A4 with KW coilovers and g-Force T/A KDW's on 17" SSR wheels. The car handled beautifully, sticking in the turns and accelerating out of them with the help of a Wetterauer chip. I scared him a little when I turned in late for the Festival turns and back end came out from under us, but I caught it just in time and straightened it out. There were quite a few other modified cars including an A4 with a K04 turbo and many other older Audis with chips, suspensions and wheels/tires.

Only a few off track excursions were made with an A6 spinning out on turn 9 and the NSX loosing it's brakes and going off track between turn 7 and 8.

I think everybody who attended learned something about car control for the real world and on a track. I encourage all Audi owners to take a drivers school to help learn the limits of their own cars and have a great time doing it.

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