by Zach Maskell
As cars become faster and more capable, there seems to be fewer places where you can really hit the pavement and let-er-rip. Well, our Over the Edge guy Zach Maskell is a genuine problem solver, and he tracked down a pack of enthusiasts who hammer around a 2-mile road course almost every week.
ZACH MASKELL: There’s some inline 4s, flat 6’s, and surely V8 power plants. Par for the course really… but for us… we wrote in “plus 2” on our invite.
ZACH MASKELL: “Ten cylinders, to me that is without a doubt the best feeling and sounding engine on planet Earth. Now should you happen to buy yourself an Audi R8 V10 Plus, you get a splash of Lamborghini inside. It’s the same engine out of the Huracan. It’s a 5.2 liter V10 good for 610 horsepower. Today we’re at Dominion Raceway and we’re going to check out the members only Driver’s Club.”
For my trip to Virginia’s newest motorsports park, Audi answered our prayers, supplying a smooth cruiser… one that transforms into a precise and quick attacker on the track. Located about an hour outside Washington, D.C., I was able to add a few highway miles… and it’s easy to see why it just might be the number one “Best of Both World’s” supercar.
“So Jim tell me just a little bit about this track.”
JIM LORIMER: “Well it’s a 2 mile track. 12 turns, about 70 feet of elevation change. 36 feet wide, a half mile long front straight.”
ZACH MASKELL: Driver’s Clubs have been around for years, but many are relatively new. This one gives you all the seat time you want, and now you don’t ever have to worry about taking a vacation.
JIM LORIMER: “There’s very few things that you can do that can take your mind off all your trouble in life. When you come out here, and drive all day in your car or even a couple hours, I guarantee you’ve forgotten about anything that’s heavy on your mind.”
MIKE POWELL: “A little secret, I’ve never actually finished an entire day because we all get so much track time that by the end of the day you’re just spent. Because you’re a member of the club – you get 40 days a year so you’re back next week.”
ZACH MASKELL: Sure, we had one of the fastest cars at Dominion this day…but straightaways are for fast cars… corners are for fast drivers. Whether a low or high displacement engine, there’s no replacement for the body behind the wheel.
MIKE POWELL: “It’s addictive. If someone had told me how much money I was going to spend on brakes and tires three years ago, I would’ve told them they were crazy.”
ZACH MASKELL: Not only can you drive the car the way it was meant to be… there’s instructors and other aids available at every event… to help these racers break any bad habits.
STEVE HUNT: “Anybody that’s serious about high performance driving is going to reach this point. Where they’ve kind of plateaued. They’re not really gaining time. They’re not getting any better. So this is that next step up to improve their performance on the track.”
ZACH MASKELL: At Dominion Raceway, telemetry systems monitor vehicle speed, braking, when the car is turning… and so much more. You can literally look at every inch of the track and figure out where you need to make a change. The drivers are also put into appropriate groups by skill level.
HOWARD KORN: “It’s just fun. You get some skills, nobody pressures you, it’s really about a nice day.”
ZACH MASKELL: Some basics like looking ahead, keeping your hands at the “9 and 3-o-clock position,” and braking early… will all help you get the wheel straight again sooner, so you can get back on the throttle.
ZACH MASKELL: “When people first come out on to the track are they intimidated pretty much by all the things they need to remember other than how to drive the car?”
JIM LORIMER: “They are. Because it can be very overwhelming because you’re having to think about everything that you need to do. The more you do it, the more you can push those things down to the subconscious level and do them automatically. And, then you start improving, your times get better.”
ZACH MASKELL: So, maybe it’s time to put that golf club down, and instead of buying a new one… make yourself the better “Driver.”