Now that the car was prepped for the track, it was time to qualify the driver (me) for racing. There were a couple options for licensing, a WHRRI (Waterford Hills Road Racing) License or a SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) license. The Waterford Hills competition permit would limit where I could race but for the time being I only intended to run at Waterford Hills. I obtained Oakland County Sportsman Club and WHRRI memberships and registered for the school.
Before they set us loose on the track, we had a classroom session where they covered some of the safety requirements: flagging, tech inspection and much more. After we completed the class we walked the track and had the SCCA approved tech inspector take a look at our cars. I had a couple small things to fix such as a catch can rather than just a breather on my valve cover and the Master Switch needed to be marked on the outside of the car. As this class was weeks before the first on track session, I had plenty of time to fix issues and get everything ready.
For the on track sessions, I decided to show up the day before and drop my car off. I loaded the car with all of the parts, tools, tires and anything else I would need and set off for the track. After rolling the car to the tech line (No race engines due to noise ordinances), I went up to registration to make sure everything was set. My car was then issued a log book, and I was told to put my name on my helmet before I could get it checked. I parked the car for the night and unloaded a few things before heading home.
Saturday morning came quick. I never wake up early, excited and full of energy like when it’s time to drive a car. I got up, loaded some waters in a cooler and some snacks in my daily driver. Showing up early is always something I strive to do. I would rather make a mistake and have time to resolve it than show up late and rush around. I unloaded my car and started checking things before the 9:00 AM drivers meeting. At the meeting, they covered flagging, communication and how we would be broken up with instructors.
The on track sessions Saturday morning started much like a track day. There was no passing except when pointed by on the back straight and taking it easy was stressed because it was very cold out. As we progressed through the day we were shown different flags to test us and the passing areas and driving speeds increased as well. My car was smoking heavily during the first 2 sessions and I was Meatball flagged (black flag with orange circle) and asked to fix the issue.
I missed the third session of the day so that I could run to the local parts store and resolve some of the smoking problems my car was having. I ended up bypassing my PCV valve into the catch can with a T fitting. After the event I removed the PCV and ran the crank case breather straight into the catch can.
Sunday was where things got pretty interesting. The first session was just a warm-up and we were asked to take it easy because it was cold (my car cover was frozen solid in places).
In the second session, we were asked to ride side by side at a moderate pace to get a feeling for driving off line around the track. We switched sides on the back straight to get a feel for both sides of the track.
The third session of the day was a practice start setup. We did stop halfway through due to a car crashing into the wall on turn one. Then were re-organized and re-started the session.
The fourth session was the practice start and race. Things got a little hairy but I kept on rolling.
After the last session, I started packing everything up to go home and went to the tower to receive my competition permit. When all was said and done, I had been on the track for quite a bit and had a lot of seat time. I was ready for the next step; A competitive race at Waterford Hills.
Credits for picture : Unknown (please contact me)