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2012 Car Control Clinic

Getting Ready for the Slalom Exercise

Scheduled for May 26th at Pittsburgh International Race Complex (PIRC, formerly known as BeaveRun, and only 27 minutes from Cranberry) the annual ARPCA Car Control Clinic is the PERFECT opportunity to learn more about you and your car in a very safe environment. We will be using the SIX-ACRE Vehicle Dynamic Area (VDA) at PIRC to provide a complete educational experience! The Car Control Clinic is hands-on, in-car training that consists of a classroom discussion of vehicle dynamics and human dynamics followed by four hours of in-car instruction in accident avoidance and defensive driving maneuvers.

The Clinic can teach students what typical driving schools can’t: what to do when something goes wrong in the car – and provide the opportunity to practice these maneuvers in a safe environment.

Drivers will use the VDA to learn and practice three key skills:

  1. Smooth steering on a Slalom course – Understand how to navigate your car smoothly through a set of cones. Recognize where you want your car to go. You will learn how to drive where the cones aren’t!
  2. Threshold Braking – Learn how to control your car in an emergency breaking situation. You will understand more about your car’s capabilities and how to manage them. Learn how to successfully maneuver around obstacles (just as if you have a deer in the headlights) while slowing your car.
  3. Skid-Pad Activities – Drive on a skid pad where you will have the opportunity to experience your car breaking traction and then learn how to regain traction in a safe environment. Feel the balance and learn how to steer your car with the throttle.

 

Running on the Skidpad

All types of vehicles are welcome! Bring your special vehicle or your daily driver. In addition to Porsches, we have Audis, BMWs, Mazdas, Minis, Subarus as well as mini-vans participate. All that is required is that you have valid state inspection.

A bit Nervous? No worries. Our club excels in making sure your experience is safe and enjoyable. You will be paired with an experienced instructor who will be knowledgeable in driving your type of car.

This is a great opportunity for new drivers!

CCC Registration: Here

Make it a weekend – Come Run the Autocross on Sunday!

On Sunday, May 27th, ARPCA will be holding our autocross at PittRace’s VDA – Sign up to put your new skills to work.

Autocross Registration: Here

2011 Car Control Clinic Recap

What a day

Luke Bittenbinder demonstating "no fear" in throwing around this highly decorated Golf GL


The day started out well. The weather was just beautiful. The drive up to BeaveRun was perfect. Traffic on 376 north (past the Airport) was very light. It allowed for quick cruzing. After some efficient travel north on 376 I exited onto the State Route 351. I was behind a number of interesting cars…. a BMW 740il, a Steel Gray Boxster and a Guards Red 911 (mid 1980’s vintage.) They were early (I might have been a bit late working the event.)
By 8:00 AM participants began to congregate. The Swanson’s were the first to strike a tent. I added mine to the group. These were going to prove to be very useful around 1:15 when the rain came down…

We started the registration process. Scott Morse arrived early and, as usual, volunteered to help. Scott again had something to say (and again – it was with the text on his shirt – you will need to view the attached picture gallery).

Seventeen students signed up for a delightful experience. They were not going to be disappointed. John Schrenker kicked the driver meeting off precisely at 8:45 AM. At 9:00 the students headed up for their first classroom session.

While the students were in class the instructors headed out on track. They wanted to make sure they understood the layout. We have planned for 3 exercises on BeaveRun’s Vehicle Dynamics Area (VDA).

  1. Slalom and Stop – An opportunity drive through a series of cones at greater speed. The objective is to “keep the rhythm” while driving at different speeds without hitting the cones.
  2. Avoidance – Drive towards a set of cones “in the middle of the road” and “avoid the obstacle” by driving around the obstacle as the instructor recommends – “go left” / “go right”.
  3. Finally, the Skidpad: This is the opportunity to feel the car understeer as well as oversteer and then react accordingly.
    Instructors Joe Serbin & Jim Kleeberger (see pictures) were the first out on the Skidpad. They were making sure they had the technique down before guiding the students through the experience.

At 10:00 the students started their on-course exercises. The day turned out to be perfect. The morning was overcast but dry. This gave all the students an opportunity to learn the basics. There was a short lunch break from 12:30 to 1:00 giving everyone an opportunity to grab a bit of lunch. The afternoon classroom started up again at 1:00 PM. Bob (who also taught the morning session) was a fantastic teacher. His materials (vide) as well as expert insight and instruction provided real insight into how each student could take the experiences from the morning and apply in the afternoon.

Mother Nature contributed as well. As soon as the afternoon classroom session was complete the heavens opened. We had a great downpour for about 30 minutes (the tents setup in the sunshine earlier really paid off.) After 30 minutes the rain subsided and everyone was back at the afternoon exercises. The rain ended up being very helpful. The Sidpad went from “good” to “fantastic.” Students like Scott Mores and Alex Schaefer learned a “real feel” for when the car will break adhesion.

Great progress was made by many students. Rose Pinkerton was throwing around a BMW 740il as if it was a Boxster. Freva Swanson is ready to give her mother (Kathryn) a real run for her money. In the end, a good time was had by all.

Take a look through the pictures. If you are 16 & have a valid driver’s license next year why not come out and spend a day learning how to control your car in many situations.

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