TIM KAUGER
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blog

Welcome to my pedestal. 

I did a track day, and now I'm addicted

Turn in, apex, power out.

Turn in, apex, power out.

I was hypnotized, but present and lucid. The last time I felt like this was while staring out at landscapes in Ireland. Time compressed; as I began to go a bit faster and the car felt a little better, my time was done and I was waved in. My laps were done almost as quickly as they began, and judging by the acrid smell, my brakes were thankful.

I wasn't even that fast. Looking at my video, my driving comes off as a little cautious and relaxed.

I don't even care. It was some of the best fun I've ever had, and I can't wait to do it again.

I've been lapping racetracks in the gaming world ever since the Sega Genesis era. In the past few years, I've been using a steering wheel/pedal controller, which made it feel so real...I thought. Nothing can prepare you for the physical sensation of driving fast on a track, even at the tame speeds of an autocross circuit. The chassis jiggled when the car entered a corner too abruptly. At other times, I'd take a bit too much speed into a wide turn and feel the front of the car wash into understeer. The sensations I learned to recognize in racing simulators became amplified and direct. The smallest changes in direction were gargantuan as the car telegraphed them beneath me. It was like learning introductory French in the classroom, then getting thrown into Paris to have a conversation with a local. Practice trumps theory, and it always will.

So what's next? Well, I've purchased a few suspension components to rid the WRX of some body roll and understeer issues. After that, I'll be looking for another autocross session to see how the car behaves with a better setup.

After that, I'll probably get better brakes. Then a few more suspension components, then more track days.

I spend a lot of time wondering how I've managed to pick up such expensive hobbies. While practicing them, the trance sets in, and it all becomes clear.

Turn in, apex, power out.