Main a track shunt

Your correspondent, D.I., wanted advice for learning to drive a recently purchased Porsche Cayman safely on the road. You said that race tracks ARE a good place to learn. Back in 1976, even though I had passed the Advanced Test, I felt I needed more driver training. I owned a Triumph 2.5 PI at the time and felt I ought to learn to drive it responsibly. I had heard BSM (as was) retained a stable of high performance cars for teaching driving correctly so I gave them a ring. I was told that they did and would I like to take a preliminary drive with their chief instructor, John Lyons, who would assess my level (or lack) of skill to see whether I could take the 'High Performance' course? After an hour's run in a Triumph TR7 ("the only right-hooker in the country" at the time) Mr Lyons deemed me competent enough to take the High Performance course as opposed to the 'Chauffeur's course. As you said in your answer, a trip around a racetrack is very useful. One of the sessions took place at Brands Hatch where we had a spell on the skidpan, then a turn around the track itself utilising the join in the middle of the track as the white line. This allowed us to practice cornering. I loved the skidpan but failed hugely when driving round the bends. Some years later, while honeymooning in France, the lessons I had learned that day on the skid pan saved the lives of my new wife and I as we approached a downhill hairpin bend in the Pyrenees. I will never forget the experience of learning to drive on the High Performance Course and wish DI, the very best in his endeavours to drive safely to the best of his car's performance.

Asked on 19 December 2009 by

Answered by Honest John
I thoroughly recommend the £165 half-day ‘You Drive’ course at the Porsche Centre, Silverstone. You get a personal performance check, an interactive lecture session where you learn you aren’t as good as you thought you were, a white-line cornering session on the track in a Porsche, then you take our own car on a simulated ice slippery slope and simulated level ice surface where a kickplate throws you into a skid. More at www.porsche.com/silverstone In fact, D.I. took this course and was delighted at the improvement it made to his driving.
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