Hold On To My A-Pillar, I'm Gonna Drive This Here Porsh

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

This is making the rounds of the driver-training people on Facebook right now. It’s interesting to watch for a few reasons. Critique it yourself then click the jump.

There are plenty of people dogpiling the poor (for certain values of the word “poor” — that’s a $200K car) driver on YouTube and elsewhere already, so I won’t bother to go over the errors in his, ah, technique. It’s enough to say that he has every bad habit known to man and some I had yet to see in real life, like the decision to hold onto the A-pillar when he gets scared.

More than any of that, I’m concerned about how this person got to the point in his life where he felt it was a good idea to hold the A-pillar and let Jesus take the wheel at high speeds in an expensive and somewhat tricky performance car on a Formula One-certified racetrack. You could argue that the entire trackday culture and driver-training system has failed him. It’s put him in a low-end helmet and completely unnecessary drivers’ suit instead of a high-quality helmet. It’s put cameras on his car instead of an instructor in his passenger seat. It’s encouraged him to drive a 600-horsepower rear-engined car to learn his craft instead of making him start in a Miata or Skip Barber instructional open-wheeler. It’s made him so paranoid and anxious about letting faster drivers by (because those drivers are bullying loudmouths in the meetings) that he nearly crashes his car twice trying to make that happen. It hasn’t equipped him with a single one of the tools he needs to enjoy himself or make any progress. He’s wasting his time and the time of others around him while putting everyone involved at serious risk of injury or death.

Fifty years ago, a guy like this would wind up having his lifeless corpse unceremoniously dragged out of a Jag E-Type somewhere. The fact that he’s still alive to be laughed at by Lemons racers everywhere is entirely due to the massive and nontrivial safety improvements made everywhere from the track, which has no deadly barriers close to the corner exits, to the Porsche GT2 itself, which has been tirelessly (and I mean that literally — the 235-width rubber on front is a joke) optimized to preserve incompetent drivers. It will even turn stability control back on if your foot is on the brake. That’s the only reason our friend in the GT2 will see his family again. But to make sure he sees his family at the end of his next trackday, he should consider seeing a qualified instructor first.

Mr. GT2 A-Pillar, I’m not scared. Contact me through this website. We’ll fix your problems and make your trackday experience the one you really wanted when you bought that G-Force drag-race suit.

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2 of 62 comments
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?
  • DenverMike What else did anyone think, when GM was losing tens of billions a year, year after year?
  • Bill Wade GM says they're killing Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Any company that makes decisions like that is doomed to die.
  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.