Day 2 was awesome, and again, better then the first.

The day started with a short review of passing and an on track passing exercise. During the classroom session, I had to admit I'd never formally learned passing at Bertil Roos! In that program all passing is saved for the advanced program. I knew about this difference but figured I could handle it. One thing I didn't know was that in the skippy two day advanced, passing is still generally restricted to the straights; I thought there would be open passing in the brake zones. Oh well. Anyway, for the exercise, we would split up in groups of 4 and follow an instructor around all in the formula cars. We would take turns doing staged passes back and forth with the instructor in the 3 major brake zones on the track for one lap, and after that the session became open lapping. Luckily, I was first in line behind the instructor so I got some extra open lapping while others had to cruise around at a slightly slower pace while others in the group were completing their passes.

The exercise went smoothly, and I moved on to picking up the pace. I picked up where I left of yesterday, and after just a few laps felt like I was faster then yesterday. I was carrying a lot of speed (for me anyway) through the back portion of the course, which is a fast rhythm section where you don't brake, but modulate the throttle through it. I jumped from almost no throttle to full throttle quickly, and before I knew it, I was sliding backwards through the grass at a pretty high speed. Bits of grass were flying everywhere, into the cockpit and my helmet, which I had the visor cracked open. It was my first spin in a formula car; I was pretty shocked and was not expecting to spin there.

I got it going again, pulled into the pits, the instructor near the corner talked to me on the radio, then I got going again. Pulling out, another car and I reached turn 1 at about the same time, and I decided to wave him by before the next corner as I wanted some time to work back up to speed. In a few laps I'd caught up to him; He was close to my speed but I felt faster in a few sections. I started pushing hard and he was too, maybe harder then me as he got it pretty sideways a few times but caught it. There was another car ahead of us, slightly pulling away that we were chasing too. Eventually the inevitable happened. I noticed he was taking a different line from me through one section were he pulled the car hard to the left of the track to set up for the next turn in a left-right sequence. Pulling hard to the left was hard as noted by a big slide there a few laps previous, and I found I could keep up just taking a more straight line. Finally he looped it, I was close behind but it was a low speed section so I was able to drive by. It was a blast finally running with someone of similar speed to me though.

Next we broke up into two groups and one group would watch the other from turn 1 with the lead instructor while the other group was on the track. This was similar to Bertil Roos and I really like getting to watch other students on the track. Phil was providing a lot of feedback, commenting on almost every car passing by. We saw a few spins, a lot of people braking a little earlier then I was, and a lot of people with minor footwork issues. This was confidence building for me as on the first day, I was getting passed a lot, but now, I knew I was better on the brakes then a lot of this group, and I was feeling really confident with my shifting and footwork. Too much confidence can hurt you though. When our group went out, within a few laps I managed to spin it in turn 1. I think having the other students watching had an impact, as I wanted to look fast and cool. I braked late, and carried a lot of speed into the corner, which is something the instructor wanted me to work on. This time, I carried more speed then I expected and the car started to rotate more then I expected as I was trailing off the brake. I made a quick steering correction, but it wasn't enough and the car continued to rotate. Instead of getting back on the throttle like normal, I didn't till it was too late and spun to the inside. I managed not to stall and got going again. I was kinda disappointed in myself as I felt this spin was easily avoidable and I thought I was pretty good with car control. Regardless, I went back out and felt I finished the session pretty solid.

After a quick feedback, we quickly got back in the cars again for a long session! I was feeling a little like I needed a break but that all changed once I got in the car. I ran a lot of the long session by myself and got in a good rhythm. I felt very focused this session, regained confidence from the spins earlier, and was still improving. I felt great after the session and not tired at all.

After the lunch break, we had a short classroom session about starts and restarts. Then went out in the cars to do a few simulated starts in groups of 6. The first start was a little sloppy! I was on the second row and was watching the row in front of me, saw them go and floored it, then saw them back off, then saw that there was no green flag yet, then finally the green came out and we all blasted off. For the next start, I rotated to the front row, and as we pulled on the front straight, I maintained the pace speed and looked down to the flag stand. Problem is, it is kinda far away and actually pretty hard to see. The green came out and the guy on my outside got a jump on me. I guess I need some more work on rolling starts.

To end the day we would do two more short open lapping sessions, with two instructors also out on the track to run with. For the first session, I was chasing down car 18 which was pulling away from me in the morning. Now, I was maintaining the gap to him for a few laps. Then I slowly started reeling him in as he started to considerably slow. I talked to him after the session and he said he got tired and was making a lot of mistakes. For the next few laps, I was all over him, but couldn't find the momentum to complete a pass on the straightaway. A few laps later he pulled over to let me pass. There was also another guy all over me know and an instructor in the mix. For the next few laps I continued to push hard but the guy behind was still all over me till the checkered flag. Afterwards, the instructor in the car running with us gave some good feedback as he was able to follow us around the whole track. It was really fun running close with these cars.

For the final session, me and car 36 (the guy who was chasing me at the end of the last session) agreed to run some laps together. He wanted to try setting up a pass on me, and I wanted to run some laps behind him to see if I could keep up and see if I could learn anything. I took it easy the first few laps and he quickly caught up to me. after a few laps he got a good run on me and was alongside at the start of the brake zone, but decided not to make the pass as to not break the no passing under breaking rule. Next time around, I decided to wave him by. Unfortunately I did not get to follow him for long as a super fast guy and instructor passed me and the three cars started to pull away. I decided not to push too hard as I didn't want to crash in the last session.

It was an awesome two days, and everyone made it through without any damage. I feel my driving improved immensely, particularly braking which was my biggest weakness going in. I know there's still improvement, but, as was evident towards the end of the second day, the faster you get, the harder it is to go still faster. I know I want to keep improving though and I'm absolutely driven to be the best I can.

Oops, I didn't really intend this to be that long. I wonder if anyone will actually read through all of it! And I'll probably write about a few more things later.