's for you
A lot of you might have seen the odd photo of my car, and heard a few stories about me having fun on local tracks (Zandvoort, Nurburgring, Assen etc).
Last year, after a horrible break up with my ex (she left me for her boss, we lived together etc etc)I decided to literally not give a toss about females, and follow my dream to race in official races here in Holland and Germany.
But in order to do that, I needed an official EU recognized racing license.
Here is my story:
June 1, 2011:
She had already gotten her stuff out of the place and I had decided to leave the house as well (Too many memories etc etc).
Where was I going to live?
in a nice place back in Amsterdam with my step-mom, paying cheap rent so I could save money for my end-goal.
Here is the last of my stuff in the back of my SUV
(literally a sports utility vehicle haha)
Months and months of savings went by, and many adventures were had in between.
I upgraded my car with MUCH better suspension:
(as the old ones did this):
Poly-bushings(which was ironically my xmas gift from my ex):
Uprated engine mounts:
And a much thicker anti-roll bar up front from H&R (cant find a photo)
Fast forward to:
I paid a large amount of money to my racing school:
The RensportschoolZandvoort (RSZ).
I got my study material a few days later
Unfortunately for me, the test would take place NOT at my home track as it normally would, but a 3 day course at a circuit in Belgium called Zolder.
There are 2 different tests you have to pass to get your racing license:
1-Written: 20 Questions about general procedures, Flags, Safety car procedure, Pit procedure etc etc
(The test was in Dutch, which for me is a second language...I was nervous about this!)
2-Practical: A 5 lap race between yourself and 6 other cars, with judges from the KNAF (an offshoot of the FIA basically) on every corner, watching your every move.
(this part I was more confident about!)
I decided that for something so important to me, I should take my best friends with
(In case I failed/crashed or in case I Passed and needed to celebrate)
I took my cousin, Kieran:
and my best friend, Cyriel:
They would drive in my Daily Driver Daihatsu ("Daihatskak") to Belgium with me, as I only have 2 seats in my Vw
To make sure I could keep track of leaks and other problems, I decided to make sure my car was completely clean, inside and out!
All packed up and ready to go to Belgium!
We all left at about 5 in the morning on Friday the 24th, as I needed to be ready to sign in at 7:45, in Belgium.
I was one of the first cars to arrive (The MX-5 picture was one of the few road cars, along with myself who participated in the race course. About 85% of the cars participating were dedicated race cars!)
I signed in and received my number and a transponder.
It looked like for this weekend, I'd be known as Number 41
I was excited and the reality that "this is finally happening" was beginning to set in
The morning started with talks about the program for the weekend, and words of advice from the school owner: Huub Vermeulen
[Photo you'll see later].
He is a fantastic guy with a great way of story telling and is at least 70 years old.
It was easy to stay paying attention to him as you literally felt as if your wisest of grandfathers was telling you a story the whole time haha
The group of people were very friendly, (except for a select few people who didnt interact much with the group->hint->see those with their helmets still on for this photo lol)
but my Polo had some work to do, to keep up with all the very serious looking race cars!
The track is beautiful but SUPER slippery.
Its been known to catch visiting competitors off guard with how slippery in can get, if there is moisture.
I have never in my life locked-up the brakes so much before.
There is no feeling like:
-Braking while approaching a turn
-Feeling the car not slow down/tires locking up for an instant
-Releasing the brake pedal to unlock
-Pushing the pedal to apply force.....only to have it lock again!
It was a learning experience, and while I've handled slippery situations before in my life as a driver, this was completely insane.
Zolder is apparently known for being dangerously slippery when wet, and have caught many racers off guard who didnt know this!
On my 5th lap ever, of this track, this happened:
Took this photo while driving after the first chicane of the track
I would go on to do over 200km's on the track alone on day 1.
Afterwards it was time for practice with oversteer!
Luckily I have quite a lot of experience with oversteer in this car as it tends to do so when things get very intense haha
I ended up making it look very smooth even for a front wheel drive car, on the skid-pad and it resulted in my (once) very clean car, getting a slightly more rugged look:
Slalom on the paddock!
A course in the paddock was set up and we were given 3 runs.
The best of 3 runs would be counted and results would be told at the end of the day.
Result: 10th place (out of 45 cars).
Not bad, but I wanted better!!!
End of day 1 and i was so tired:
Driving in my car since 5 in the morning, until 6 at night! I needed my bed.
If I see that you guys are interested, I'll post the rest of the story a bit later on today
I'll just say now: Day 2 ends up being VERY difficult and one of my biggest unexpected challenges ever comes up.
Let me know if you'd like to know more
Hope you've enjoyed so far!
Last edited by Swapped6n; 10-25-2012 at 04:12 AM.
As far as being split up was concerned, we were loosely organized into groups of about 5 cars or so.
We had loads of instructors, and in order to be an instructor, you needed to have raced in at least 3 seasons of motorsport, AND been in the top 10 of whichever class you raced in.
On the final day, our individual performance would determine what kind of license we got
(If you were good, you got a Club-license which enables you to drive on tracks in Holland only.
If you were better than good, you got an EU license)
Thats pretty cool! I'm looking forward to my first real races this yearnismor32
Similar to what I had to do. 2 day course with classroom time and track time, then a mock race. After that I had to compete in 3 Novice races (boring as fark) before getting my full RR license. So much fun.
Thanks man! Things get much hairier in a bitNoDubJustYet
I look forward to meeting you at the 'Ring in April. It should be a fun weekend!
I'm looking forward to it as well! Its my next big fun event on my list haha
Totally! Peoples initial reactions were pretty indifferent.GTE77
SO MUCH WIN!
LOL, I can imagine all the people walking by the Polo when it sat between the dedicaded racecars and thinking...uh, wat....who parked this here........
Seems to be a hell of a clean car!
But by the end of the weekend, people were well impressed with the capabilities of the car (So was I!)
The car itself weighs about 960kg and has only about 150 hp.
But it repeatedly proves itself on the track to be a worthy competitor
More details later on this afternoon
Thanks for the interest guys!
Last edited by Swapped6n; 03-11-2012 at 02:35 PM.
Good for you man! Sorry about your story with the gf, but hey...things happen for a reason and here you go...you're getting something you always dreamed of.
When her new boss BF treats her like sht and comes back to you, all you gotta do is brush her off and be proud of what you've accomplished.
Easy like Sunday Morning.
Her choice, and there is nothing I can do about it now.
Which is why I'm pretty much zen about it now haha
I always remained as positive as possible because there was no use in making a bad situation worse really.
To this day she still admires how I handled her, before and after the break up, and that to me is really the sweetest "revenge" if one can call it that.
Funnily enough the guy she left me for (although he has lots of money and must be an OK guy to her) was actually not always the nicest guy to her. I wont go into private details but, indeed->
Karma works in amazing ways!
Last edited by Swapped6n; 03-08-2012 at 08:31 AM.
The Day of Drama
The weather still wasnt great and the track was still wet in the morning.
I went to the track from the hotel at 7.30 in the morning again and waited patiently for class to continue.
Today we'd be going a bit faster and by the end of the day, would be doing groups races
I knew I'd have to do two things to my car today:
-Shut up my exhaust a little bit, as it seemed to have developed a leak somewhere (probably where the pipes join, no big deal)
-Change my brake pads from my EBC Greenstuff to Ferodo DS3000's for some serious braking power
As a little background on the Polo and its brakes, I've always used EBC Greenstuff for the past few years, as they were the only uprated pads I could find for my disks (small 238mm).
They would ALWAYS fade and if I drove 1 hard lap, i'd have:
-1 clutch pedal
-1 gas pedal
-1 pedal that politely and slowly suggested the car would slow down.
In any event,
It looks as if I waited till JUST the right time:
The job was a pain to do on the floor but..I got it done.
As you can see, the new brake pads get VERY hot
(a nice blue color on my disk )
I switched to Ferodo DS3000 type pads and WHAT a difference
Absolutely amazing... zero fade and so much more "bite" than the old pads I used. The car was finally competitive and I could late brake if I had to!
Theyre expensive, and give off a lot of brake dust, but I will never use anything else!
Later on that day, the track was drying up, and they had set up a NEW competition: an On-Track-Slalom
(a lot like the autocross on Forza 4).
I was feeling good:
My brakes were better than ever, the surface was dry,
and I could finally show everyone that the car was not a joke (as it was useless in the wet).
Right before I did my first slalom run-> Problem #1
My engine literally just started running on 3 cylinders!
After resetting my ECU using my phone (Android app allows me to read whats happening in the ECU AND scan and erase fault codes) and letting the engine bay cool down, it seemed to be running OK again.
I put down 4 solid runs (er..and got some flat spots on my tires..no ABS plus new unfamiliar racing pads="oh.Whoops, locked up my tires in the dry") and went back for the next section:
Open driving sessions on the track!
This was the first time I could go fast on the track itself as it was dry enough.
I had brought my slicks with me but was saving that for the test day.
I drove for the first time about 4 real laps on the track itself when:
My driveshaft broke while going 150/kmh on the back straight
Here I am, in Belgium,
-Hundreds of Km's away from home.
-I paid a months salary to do this
-Its Saturday afternoon at 4:30 (meaning, no junk yards were open)
-I have no way of completing my racing exam
-I have no way of getting my dear Polo back home
I get towed back to the pits via my roll cage, as I didnt have a towing hook with me for my front bumper (my fault).
It seemed that my weekend and my mission was over
Last edited by Swapped6n; 10-25-2012 at 04:18 AM.
Tuned by GONZO TUNING http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...trol-included!.
I miss my GTI....
A giant success in mediocrity! - Bonneville 130mph club - PIR perfect(0.00) light club.
My 1988 S/C VR6 GTI
I didnt have my tow hook with me (very silly of me), so the guy got creative and wrapped it around my cage.
Worked a charm!
Thanks for the comments so far guys, really appreciate the support!
This all comes to a hell of an ending Will try to finish the story up later