The Spyder Goes to New
Hampshire International Speedway
On 5/29/02 I had the chance to bring my Spyder to NHIS for a day of high performance driving run by the Sports Car Driving Association. Cost was $175 for 4 track sessions and 4 classroom sessions. As a novice, I was accompanied by an instructor at all times. My instructor, Nick, had been racing for 10 years.
After some classroom work on safety, we did the first 20 minute session. Nick drove the car to show me the line and provide tips as he drove. This was intense as he really drove the car hard. I couldn't believe how far he pushed the car and how fast he could make it go around insanely tight corners. I asked him his impression of the car, given his experience and his first comment was, "It's got tons of power!" He also remarked that it cornered very well for its size and transitioned from one corner to the other nicely.
More classroom, then my turn to drive. Until you've taken your VR4 to a road racing track, you have no idea how this car will really perform. We all test acceleration (a lot) and braking occasionally, but putting it all together and driving the car as hard as you possibly can (without crashing it) for 20 miles at a time is an exhilarating experience. At the track, you test cornering, braking and acceleration continually. I must say, the car handled it all very well. I had brand new Yokohama AVS Sports on the stock chromies and I must have taken a few thousand miles off them. Imagine your tires almost continually screeching for 20 miles or so, interspersed with bursts of full acceleration followed by HARD braking.
The temp gauge never budged, the
engine never missed a beat and the anti-lock brakes never engaged.
These VR4s are phenomenal cars. I was blowing away BMWs, S200s and
lots of lesser cars on the straights, although I never tried to pass
on corners due to my less than accomplished technique and safety rules.
It is risky though. You are running very hard, very close to other
drivers and there were lots of spins and several near misses (none were
mine:) So if you do it, beware, but have a great time. I
recommend it to everyone at least once, as I also recommend going to a drag
track at least once. It's a great way to understand what your car can