LIKE MANY OTHERS, I was eagerly awaiting the 2020 PCA UCR Driver Education season. I prepped the car over the winter and tried to drive the car whenever I could. However, with the pandemic, things changed. As a driver in the yellow run group, I was suddenly left with getting a bit more creative for my “track hobby” this year, and I think that was a really good thing.
I recently attended an autocross event that was hosted by the Trillium BMW club with both BMW and PCA volunteers. I had done an autocross in the past and thought it was really fun because it challenged me in ways that would help complement my skills as a driver.
Now, there were two things I was a bit wary of — memorizing the course and doing an event outside of PCA. The first one is a little bit embarrassing but can be tricky. Knowing the track or course is crucial so one can get a rhythm and be smooth. Second, having never done an event outside of PCA, I didn’t know what to expect. How would the event be organized? What is the BMW club culture like? And also what safety measures would be in place?
I am glad to say, all of these things were nothing to worry about. The event was very organized and this is clearly something they have a lot of experience doing. The people were all very friendly and brought all sorts of fun cars, not just BMWs, not just Porsches.
Finally, the safety measures were clearly explained both for driving the course and for COVID-19 protocol. Driving the course was challenging, I certainly hit a cone or two, but I really became aware of how important being smooth is versus brute force (power!). Even with the twisty tight turns, when you’re smooth with your inputs the car is settled and far more balanced.
It was really nice that PCA has such a great partnership in place with Trillium BMW because it helps expand the opportunity to get behind the wheel of these great cars and explore their abilities, especially with many UCR driving events having been cancelled this year.
Of course it was very nice to see a number of Porsches and fellow PCA members at the event. I would encourage anyone to explore options like this and have some fun. My instructors have always said getting “seat time” is the best way to improve as a driver. It’s nice to know for those in the green and yellow run groups, the track season is very much alive and well, in a different way for now.
Upcoming autocross events are as follows, all Sundays, go to the PCAUCR.org website for more information and to register: July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 20 and Sept. 27. </>