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A Report from Your Nor Cal Correspondent

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  • A Report from Your Nor Cal Correspondent

    Last weekend I made my first visit to Infineon to participate in NASA's HPDE program. Pierre Demartines, Woody Harris and Joe Hawkins were there. Sunday saw cameo appearances by Rod Swanson and a nice gentleman (name unknown) in a Westfield Seight.

    The NASA HPDE format is different to the format that I saw at the Alfa Club and Shelby events in So Cal. I believe this format only applies at NASA's Infineon events because of insurance issues at other tracks. There are four run groups. Groups 1 and 2 are for inexperienced drivers - passing only on the straights. Group 4 allows full track passing (including under brakes and in corners). Group 3, my group, was a transitional group that began the weekend with limited passing on straights and progressed to allow passing under brakes in designated areas and finally full-track passing in the final session. That was a learning experience for me, and it made the weekend much more exciting. I rode with Pierre as a passenger in group 4, and that was a real eye opener. It was amazing to see how quickly a well-driven seven can move through the field.

    Those of you who are familiar with Infineon will know that it is a spectacularly technical circuit, with huge amounts of elevation gain, blind corners, and many walls to hit. I have never seen so many expensive cars with panel damage. By the end of the weekend, I noted significant panel damage to a 911 (undriveable), Lotus Elise, Acura NSX, Evo Something-or-other and a smattering of lesser vehicles. Others had lucky escapes, like the M3 that looped out on the fastest corner on the track (turn 10) and lightly nicked the inside wall. He would have been doing 90+ when he lost it. I was following a few cars behind and was almost collected by an incoming missile (M5 I think) when I slowed to avoid the spin. So, you will have a lot of fun at this track but you must be careful.

    All in all, a great weekend, at a great track, with some interesting people. My car ran perfectly and got me home without incident. So, to any seveners out there who have not made the trip to Infineon yet - do it!

    Signing off...

  • #2
    Hi Michael, good to hear from a lost soul.

    I agree, Infineon is a great track, which is why I found the previous 2 year's trips up to the Sevens Festival worthwhile. Last time, in the rain and with a lot of clay splattered on the pavement it was, well, interesting. At the end I contributed generously to the splattered clay with a spinout in corner 6. Last week I took the sump guard off and found another hidden lump of that goo. Same under the passenger seat, don't know how it got there.
    For the folks who have not been to Infineon here is a GPS record of a track session (the individual lap tracks are not exactly the same due to the accuracy of the GPS device):

    and my speed profile (don't forget, I am not the fastest driver :roll: ):

    The format of the NASA events is AFAIK the same at other tracks. At least it was at Willow Springs. They are always running the 4 HPDE groups plus competition groups. So far I stayed with group 2 in an attempt to save the sheet metal but at some time I want to do time trials which means group 4.



    • #3
      I was there briefly on Sunday afternoon too Michael, but wimped out because of the cold and fog and drove over in my "full-bodied" seven, aka Z06, but didn't drive on the track. For me, Infineon is a particularly difficult track in the cold, when my tires never seem to heat up.


      • #4
        Rich, I am looking forward to seeing your R500 when it is running. Should be a wild machine.