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Well, I was finally able to get to The Friday at the Track (FATT) on October 12, 2001. This is an event that Summit Point Raceway in WV holds about once a month. The track is OUTSTANDING! The event begins at about 8am and goes until around 5pm. After a tech inspection, all drivers are herded into a class room. There were 3 different groups on this day. I was in the novice group. We listened to classroom instruction for approx. an hour. Afterwards, drivers head out to the parking lot and sort of meet/greet each other. I noticed a couple of other Impreza owners and introductions followed. Of the 4 Impreza's present, I was the only one with a WRX. The others were 2.5's. 2 of the guys had been there before, so I tried to milk them for info as to technique, tire pressure, speeds, etc... Soon, it was track time! 3 of us were in the same group, and we staged together. It was an amazing site- there werre all types of cars at the ready. Most impressive were a Ferrari F355, 2001 Viper, a coupla Z06's, a smorgasborg of Porsche's (911,968, 928, Boxers) and some sweet BMW's (M5, M3, M coupe, old school 850i). As a novice, I had an instructor with me (Bob King). Luckily, he had test drove a WRX a few weeks before and was familiar w/it's layout, characteristics, driveability... We then donned our helmets (which SPR can provide) and our mic/earpieces and were ready for "driving school". School was deffinitely in session. He drove initially and instructed me on apex's, braking, "occular vision", passing and seating position. After about 3 laps, we headed into the pit. It was my turn to drive! We swapped positions and were ready to go. Adjustments were made, I was given the go ahead and that's exactly what I did. Entering the track is similar to entering any road: look over your shoulder, slowly enter the straight away, check rearview mirror, and then FLOOR IT! I reached about 85 mph before slowing down to enter turn 1. Braking brought me down to 35mph and I entered the apex then soot out of it at around 50. There is a slight hill that turns into a long S curve. I followed my line and came out of it at about 70mph shifted and entered the infamous Carousel. This is something everyone h as to experience. You start in from a slow downhil curve, go into a long right hairpin, then into a left s curve, finally entering a right turn. This all happens in about the span of 15 seconds (conservatively). You finally get a short straight away were your allowed to pass (there are only 3 such places), then it's into a high speed right onto the long straight away. Here is where speed is finally brought into play. I was able to get my WRX up to 115 down this stretch. Over all, I stayed in 3rd for a majority of the "race" with only 3 places were I was able to get 4th. Every now and then I drop down to 2nd due to traffic. You get 4 sessions of 20 minutes of track time spread out over the course of the day. 2 mandatory class times and a lunch break. I filled my tank before I reached the track. By the end of the day, I was down to a 1/4 and gone a mere 90mi. That's a lot of flooring and heavy braking. This is an incredible experience. The cost is $175 and worth every penny (I am lucky enough to have friends who gave this to me as a Christmas present!). I have a yellow 2002 WRX with a Thermal Research exhaust, 16" BBS rims with STOCK tires. The RE92's actually held up very well (my instructor even said so!)-"They're supposed to screech like that. It's when they stop screeching that you have to start worrying." I strongly recommend this event and any others that are like this to all WRX owners. You get to drive the car for what it's worth and take the experiece into the real world. I plan on returning soon....
 
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