The day started pretty much like any drift day, get up at an insanely early hour and head to the track.
This time Lucy would be taking the Laurel for it’s first proper turn around an actual track, and I would be there to offer advice/ have a go in her car too!
We arrived at the track just after 8:30am and fellow Death or Glory member Craig had saved us a space in the pits, being local he got there before us. The sun was already beating down as we set up ready for her first session.
Briefing took place and after a couple more checks on the car she was ready to go!
We focussed on the West course, being tighter and more technical we felt it offered a better place for Lucy to learn how to control the car around the corners. If you’ve only ever done donuts and figure eights around cones, moving to a track changes things completely!
We started out just driving around getting a feel for the layout, and getting her back in the mindset of her previous drift day (at Santa Pod) or at least this was the intention… To my surprise on her first run she was already trying to get the feel of those clutch kicks again.
Over the course of the morning she managed some good skids and also worked on undoing some of the habits she’d got into at Pod. Nothing major, just little things, for instance, when you start out by learning donuts you can often get the backend to break loose by turning in tighter, however if you do this on a race track one of two things happen:
- If you don’t have enough speed you either end up cutting the corner and coming off track (and smashing aero, the front bumper was the first to go!)
- If you have enough speed but don’t quite get your clutch kick right, turning in tighter causes you to understeer and the car to go straight on (I did this a lot on my first few times out and its a real pain to get out of the habit of doing!)
Having said that it didn’t take her long at all to realise this and start to correct herself. She put in run after run, pushing herself every time, some times getting frustrated at not getting something right, other times getting hyped when she held a good skid!
If you’re thinking of starting out drifting, or you’re new to it and you’re reading this asking yourself “is it common to get frustrated in the early stages?” I would say yes, it is especially for those who don’t start out using the handbrake but instead opt for the clutch kick.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that initiating with the handbrake is the easy option but out of these two ways to get the car sliding it is definitely the option with the least to remember.
I know I went through that phase (probably several times) and others I have spoken to also agreed that feeling frustrated plays a big part in the early days, its all part of the learning process! But keep at it and things will eventually fall into place!
As the day wore on I watched from the passenger seat as Lucy progressed more and more, each run thinking about what she did in the last time and where she might need to improve or change tack.
Overall I thought she did amazingly for her second ever time out! On my second drift day I was still piddling around in the playpens at Pod (big mistake on my part!)
The first corner of West course did prove an issue for her, but after speaking to a few other people who have driven Teesside they all said that they had issues with that corner too early on.
In spite of this it didn’t put Lucy off and she continued to push herself on turns two, three and four, showing some real signs of promise!
Towards the end of the day we did have one fight with a tyre wall. This led to the rear bumper being smashed, however we knew this might happen so we were (sort of) prepared for it.
It was down to not having the car in the right place for the transition and running too wide as she went into the uphill section after turn three, hitting the tyre wall, pushing the rear bumper out of line, and creating a new exhaust hole on the opposite side of the bumper as well as adding a few tyre marks up the rear drivers side 1/4 of the car.
It was great to see her out there, it was as much a learning experience for me as it was for her. I definitely think she will be back on track again, however next time she will more likely be using my Skyline as we have since decided that the Laurel is in far too good shape to use as for skids.
What’s next for the Laurel? The damaged bodykit will be replaced, and much more, but you will have to wait for my future posts to find out more.
Laura Johnson and Andz Smith of Aperture Arts Photography.