Misadventures of a Drift Newbie, Part 10: Another Novice Clinic!
Last weekend was a busy one for Team Lemon House! Saturday night we went to Spirit.JP’s Night Touge 3 event to spectate and show off the newly installed underglow kit on the Previa. We had a blast, these are my favorite events to go to. I can’t wait til I’m able to actually drive in one! I also got to go on a ride-along with Brandon, who would end up being one of my instructors the next day.
The next morning we were up bright and early for our second Novice Clinic. I was a lot less nervous this time around, I guess since I’d been through it once before and knew what to expect. I feel like that helped me get a lot more out of it, I could focus more on driving and learning rather than just managing my anxiety all day. The car had already proven itself last time, and we figured out how to set up and break down our pit area. If you’ve never done any sort of track activity before I’d suggest you consider doing 2 Novice Clinics as well.
This time my group started out on the skid pads, and I was doing pretty well getting Chizuru to do donuts! We haven’t had a chance to get the new differential welded and installed yet, so I was still running the stock open diff. That didn’t stop me from progressing though, and I was able to get a pretty decent feel for throttle modulation! You still get a lot out of seat time even if you’re running a less-than-ideal setup. At one point one of the instructors drove my car, and even he was struggling to get it to act right! It was incredibly reassuring to see that the issue was the open diff and not me.
I even shredded my first set of tires, and let me tell you… it was incredibly satisfying to hear the FLAP FLAP FLAP as I limped it back to the pits! It was then that I really started to feel like I was making progress.
Later on in the day when I was doing laps on the main course it felt like things started to click in my mind. The things I’ve been pondering ever since the last Novice Clinic, the stuff I’d started to notice in the countless YouTube drifting videos I’ve watched, and the things I observed while riding with Brandon the night before, it all began to fall into place. As I drove the course I started to instinctively clutch kick and let the steering wheel spin and feather the throttle and all the other little things you do to keep the car on the edge of control! If I tried to think about what I was doing, I’d end up spinning out. It’s like I was taking all the new knowledge I’ve recently acquired to heart, and it felt incredible. The instructors seemed to notice too, they told me it looked like I was starting to get it but I was just fighting the open diff! I can only imagine how much better it’ll be once I don’t have that to contend with any more.
It’s wild to think how quickly I’ve gotten to this point, and I know this is only the beginning. I’m so excited to see how far this takes me! As of now the next open practice day is in the middle of November, so that should give us plenty of time to upgrade that rear differential. The idea behind the build since day one has been to upgrade the car only as my skills exceed it’s current capabilities, and it’s safe to say we’ve reached that point.
As always, huge thanks to my team. Nate, Frank, Travis, you guys rule and I couldn’t do any of this without you! Thanks for reading, stay tuned to see what happens next.
Any updates on your drifting adventures?