Sept26-27 – NJMP Lightning – GWS

Mary back in the drivers seat, our first trip to NJMSP!

A couple video’s to cap the weekend before we dive into writing:
Mary Around the Lightbulb
Mary Passing Before the Bridge
Kyle Passing Before the Bridge

Mary writes:

September 25th-Friday
Kyle and I were very excited for our 1st track event in New Jersey on Lightning. We began our journey north out of Vienna at about 8pm- Kyle leading the way in his M and me following close behind in mine. Kyle had chosen the quaint “Country Inn” in Millville for us to stay on Friday night- (although he toyed with possibly pulling into one of the many “shady” motels along the way just to get a reaction! )

We hit the bar for a night cap- Kyle enjoyed a couple of dixie cup sized Crown on the rocks- then off to sleep for an early morning at the track.

September 26th- Saturday
We arrive at the track, recognizing some of the Mercedes club members from my first event at Shenandoah. I was trying to scope out a good instructor. We were approached by a guy, who appeared to be on a mission directly towards us- he asked who was driving the BMWs- we both fess’d up as being the guilty ones. Turns out he is also a BMW guy and wanted to drive with us. He introduced himself as “_____”. (Neither one of could remember his name). I quickly told him he could be my instructor and Kyle chimed in as well. He was off to do his 1st run with the instructor group so I joined along to get a feel for the track from his POV. I jumped into his E30 and awkwardly tried to hook the harness- he pointed to what I needed to connect so that he didn’t have to reach any inappropriate areas (haha!) and off we went! It was much faster than the track I was used to but that made me even more excited to be behind the wheel- could I possibly be this fast too???

Time for the Green group. “___” seems to be a bit cautious with me. I’m sensing that he is uneasy about my skills as he keeps telling to take it easy and slow down around the turns. He points out the line, I listen closely and feel like I am getting it-yet he is still being cautious with me. I want to go faster! Patience! Learn the track- get the line down. He tells me after the 1st session that it was good that there were no white knuckles- “from me” I ask, “No” he is talking about himself!- I am his first female student!

After a few more sessions I’m feeling more and more confident and getting impatient with him being cautious- turn 5…I don’t fully track out- he waits…pauses… then asks what I was doing. Uh-oh, did I actually just start to day dream?? I seriously just mentally drifted away with lack of adrenaline!
I have to stick with his plan if he is going to trust my excellent driving! It just feels like I am going slowww. He wants me to let people pass-but I want to do the passing.

Finally! Session #4 he lets me pick it up! Oh yea, Kyle has confessed that we forgot his name and tells me it is “Rob”. Now I’m having fun! Get to 125m I think on the straight. After the last run of the day, I finish feeling fulfilled! Can’t wait for Sunday (weather forecast is rain!)

We leave for Sea Isle to stay at Michelle’s family beach house with her and Wynn. We’re exhausted, go to the Lobster Loft for dinner- then back to her place for an early night to sleep again.

September 27- Sunday
Up at 6:20am and RAIN. Get to the track- looks like a lot of people may have bailed out but the show must go on! I’m a little surprised that I had no apprehensions about the track being wet- off I go!

“Rob” is cautious again but appropriate to the conditions. He was testing the grip of the car and pleased with the results. He lets me push it a bit more. Over the next couple of sessions I’m having fun with turn #6- getting a little slide in the rear and happy that he says I handled it perfectly!

Session # 3- yellow flag is out- yikes- someone in front of me goes off track- grass is like ice and into the guard rail! I take special note of that!

I have just discovered that “Rob” is actually “Bob”!! We really need to get better with names!! I have also just discover that Bob- who is from Jersey- knows one of my best friends Billy from Baltimore through work! Small freaking world!!

I complete my last session with Bob with his special test- he “claims” that he closed his eyes for a whole lap to see how I handle it- aside from one more rear dance in #6 on the wet track which I caught him with one eye open on- I pass the test! I’m back up to top speeds (for me). I had to ask if he was ok- I hadn’t any talk out of his mouth for a few laps- I guess that means I was doing a good job! Then we start chatting a bit more, I’m passing lots of people-(that’s how I think I remember it) and we are just chatting and telling stories as I am racing around the track. Bob reminds me to keep both hands on the wheel-oops- I talk a lot with my hands!!

I have decided to finish the weekend with that great last session and skip the final round out! I’m exhausted and fulfilled the adrenaline rush I was looking for during this event.

The rain that I thought would put a “damper” on our driving turned out to make the weekend so much more exciting! I definitely learned from it and look forward to advancing these new skills to other events!

My overview of this is that while Bob was cautious with me in the beginning- I received many claps from him during my sessions. I think I made him proud!

Mary @ NJMP

On to the next…maybe I can get solo’d at Shenandoah next weekend!

Kyle writes:

After a 3.5hr drive from DC to Millville, NJ on Friday night Mary and I check into the Country Inn in Millville just 5 miles from the track…we have to be there for tech and registration at 7am on Saturday morning. Dreams of racing fill our heads until the alarm sounds at 6am.
We will be driving the Lightning track at New Jersey Motor Park, a highspeed circuit, 1.8 miles long, 7 turns, 5 right handers and 2 lefts, the slowest of which we find out shortly can be taking at 50mph.
Mary is in Green group (Novice) and somehow I get put in Blue (Advanced) … having never driving this track before I was a bit nervous! After a tech, registration and a short 8:15 drivers meeting Mary and I unload the cars, check tire pressures and check to be sure all our tire lugs are torqued to spec. During our prep a fellow BMW instructor comes over introduces himself and offers to be our instructor. I’m relieved because now I have someone to “show me the line” on this new track.

Day1 – learning a new track
Session 1 – going slow, learning the track, drive at 4/10ths, nice and easy…a line is always easier to learn at low speeds when it’s easy to place the car where you want on the track.

Sessions 2&3 – got the line down, keeping it smooth and going quicker, up to 7/10ths.

Session 4&5 – head out solo and start pushing 8/10ths, a few extra mph out of the lightbulb and I’m hitting nearly 130Mph on the straight.

Day2 – rain, rain, puddles and more rain

Session 1 & 2 – back out with the instructor, more grip than expected in the wet, still hitting 120mph on the main straight.

Session 3 – solo in the rain, taking it easy, get the DSC to engage a few times on the tight left turn #4, definitely leaving DSC on while it’s wet out!
It stops raining, the sun comes out and the track dries up with the exception of a few puddles at the edges where are easy to avoid.

Session 4 – this was going to be my last session of the day, DSC off because it kept killing power out of the lightbulb (turn7) and the blind right hander (turn1). Pushing hard 9/10ths, passing my red Porsche buddy (not David) and others, now I’m taking 2,3,4 & 5 in 3rd, putting the peddle all the way down between 4 and 5 and between 5 & 6, passing under the bridge at 105mph, then braking hard for the tightest turn (6), up to 110mph before the lightbulb.

Session5 – over ½ the drivers in attendance have headed home announcement is made that Blue and Red groups will be combined for an extended 30minute session, yup that’s right I’m headed out with the other advanced drivers and the instructors…wow, a few of those instructors are really quick in their race prep’d cars, I’m humbled, pit in after 20 minutes, want to avoid the Red Mist (end of day mental exhaustion) and call it a great weekend!

Kyle @ NJMP

Track WalkThrough
Entering Turn1 from the back straight, hard on the brakes at the faded white line between start/finish and the #3 braking marker, last part of the braking zone is uphill which means you can save yourself during those late braking moments by holding the brakes just a bit longer and digging into the incline before turning in late for Turn1. No need to hug the inside apex, ½ a car width away is fine, up over the crest then tracking out all the way to the left. I wasn’t getting back to WOT until after the crest of the hill but I see myself in the future putting the foot down prior to the crest, DSC was consistently kicking in after the crest as the car got light and would 4 wheel slide to the outside of the track with good speed. Having downshifted into 3rd from 5th during braking you can wind out 3rd and shift into 4th before a quick 1second but firm brake before entering turn 2, a sweeping right hander, shift down to 3rd. Another corner best not to tight apex, a car width from the curbing feels about right, heading about ¾’s down the track before turning in harder for turn 3. Import to get parallel with the right hand side of the track to set yourself up properly for a tight left hand turn 4, once turned into 4 crossing the apex tight knowing you are in the clear to track out just as the right side of the track comes in you can put the pedal down and start winding out 3rd as you head for the turnin point (left side curbing) before turn 5, medium 1second brake before turning into 5, important to apex late and very close to the curb, track is off camber and downhill to the left as you are turning right, back to WOT! Track out left straighten the wheel a bit as you are parallel with the curbing on the left and shift to 4th, continue 5 a long sweeper to the right that straightens out just before going under the bridge, I was hitting about 105mph here toward the end of the weekend, I could see 115 coming easily as you carry more speed through 5. On the brakes hard midway between the bridge and #3 braking marker, downshift to 3rd, late apex the sharp left hander and track out at the end of the right hand curbing, wind out 3 going uphill, shifting into 4th as you run out of gear and head back a gradual decline toward turn 7, the lightbulb…hitting about 110mph, medium braking for a second to pull speed down below 90mph (at least this weekend), entering the lightbulb about ¾ track left, looking around to the very late apex at the bottom end of the lightbulb, if you are looking there you will naturally and gradually turn in to meet the right hand apex at the curbing as you move from maintenance throttle to WOT at the lowest point on the track. Trackout after the lightbulb shouldn’t happen until after you crest the hill on the back stretch and are into the passing zone, then shift into 5th, I was cresting the hill at about 100mph, winding out 4th and shifting to 5th will put you upwards of 130mph before braking hard and returning to turn #1.

Lightning at NJMP


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