7/15-16/00, by Tuan Nguyen
On the weekend of 7/15-16/00, the John Eagle Honda dealership
of Houston, TX sponsored a driver's education event at the 2.9 mile road course at
Texas World Speedway in College Station, TX. CS is only 1.5 hours away from
Austin, TX, so obviously I had to cover the event for the TOV. The $135
registration fee included two days of track time with four 20 minute sessions
per day and a free BBQ dinner Saturday night with live band.
Cars were divided into several groups based upon past experience
at road courses or other events and/or whichever level they are comfortable with. Green group
were for first time students or someone who wanted extensive instruction. Blue
group were for students with a little more experience, but still wanted a
driving instructor. Yellow group were for students with past experience at TWS
and other tracks and where an instructor was optional. The white and red groups
were for those drivers with much more experience and comfort in driving at the
limits and for the driving instructors themselves. For the most part, driving
participants were well placed so there were no huge differences in driving
skills on the track at the same time. Though some people had the experience to
drive solo in the higher groups, they chose to stick to the lower groups so that
they would get lots of pointers from the instructors. This was an excellent idea
because you don't often get this kind of personal attention at other driving
There was a very good classroom session which went over the
various car dynamics, driving lines, braking points, passing procedures and
zones, and general track etiquette. An excellent printout was given out which
included a very good drawing of the track. Subsequent pages zoomed in on each
corner and explained the appropriate lines. It provided students with an
excellent way to get to know the track better before they got out on it.
Honda cars included the NSX, some of them supercharged, the
S2000, Civics, Integras, Preludes, and a lone Accord. Other cars present
included: a heavily modified Supra, Boxsters, Miata, 911, BMW, and a modified
Maxima. Some of the instructors offered rides in the John Eagle Honda
S2000. Many students came back with tales of 4 wheel drifts, late braking,
incredible cornering forces, and just general amazement of what the S2000 can do
in the hands of a qualified racing instructor. There were your requisite spins,
but I don't think anyone damaged their cars. It was a very safe event.
It was amazing how many people braved the 103 degree
temperatures at the track. Luckily there were lots of shade and a cool misting
tent. There were also two trailers set up with air conditioning. At the end of
the weekend of driving, many people were telling me that they put 150-200 miles
worth of racing on their cars! For the most part, the TWS track was in decent
shape. Later in the weekend, one portion of the track did start to deteriorate.
A pothole developed right before turn 10. The transition from the banking on the
front straight away into the infield track was relatively abrupt. I'm just now
spoiled by how smooth the track at the brand new Motorsport Ranch is. When I get
the in-car video of the track, I'll post up the track layout and mark the turn
numbers in the video as I did before.
I commend John Eagle Honda for putting on an event like this.
More Honda/Acura dealerships should follow their example and dedication to
performance/driver education. Many of the people I talked to are looking forward
to this driving event next year should John Eagle Honda decide to host it again.
I for one will be there again and hope to have more TOV readers attending the