Jerry SuperDork
8/4/14 7:11 p.m.

Tomorrow after work eastsidemav and myself are heading out the 5hr drive to Joliet IL for an Abarth Driving Experience. Free track-day event we get as part of buying an Abarth.


" The Abarth Track Experience is a one-day performance adventure for FIAT® 500 Abarth owners. The event offers professional driving instruction sessions designed to maximize your driving skills on the street, strip or track. You will pilot cars from a fleet of FIAT 500 Abarths that are provided specifically for the Track Experience, and put their track-tuned components to the test. Each program consists of four driving modules tailored to the facility. Modules include Autocross, Head-to-Head Challenge, Driving Dynamics and Performance Drive.

You will also be served a catered breakfast and lunch during your time with us. Owners receive a one-day session as part of the purchase price of their new vehicle. Vehicles are provided on-site for your use. "

Free food, free gifts, free hooning in someone else's Abarth. What's not to love?

Datsun310Guy PowerDork
8/4/14 9:32 p.m.

Sounds like fun. I live 20 minutes north.

Once Hyundai had a Genesis test drive track day that Junior and I attended. Except it wasn't on the track - it was low speed on the go cart track. We had fun.

Powar SuperDork
8/5/14 6:52 a.m.

That rocks. Take pics.

pinchvalve MegaDork
8/5/14 7:54 a.m.


Jerry SuperDork
8/5/14 8:03 a.m.
Powar wrote: That rocks. Take pics.

Indeed. Taking the GoPro's just in case.

Jerry SuperDork
8/7/14 6:33 p.m.

Didn't need the GoPro's, they had an in-car system with front and rear facing cameras, and gave each of us a flashdrive on a lanyard that the instructor plugged in when we got into a car. Pretty neat system, overlayed MPH as well, but no RPM.

eastsidemav and I rounded a corner and the GPS said we were close. I looked up and said "hey maybe that's the place" when I saw a dozen or so Abarth's in a parking lot. Between customer cars and probably 20 race vehicles, that's the most I'll ever see in one spot.

We had two different sessions of track laps, one at lower speeds so the instructors could...instruct...and get a feel for our abilities, and ability to take direction. The afternoon session was faster and we could upshift if we wanted, but 3rd was good to mid 80's and you'd have to downshift for a corner anyway. ESM and I had the same instructor, I thought he was very good and very helpful, made me want to do a PDX even more now.

Head-to-head challenge- mirrored course pitted you against another driver. Like the autocross, but you had to come to a complete stop in the box, then hit it again for the other half of the race. Quickest driver wins but also the fewest penalties! If the other guy hit a cone or didn't stop completely, he got a penalty. If he finished first but had a penalty, and you were second but clean, YOU won.

I won 2 of my 3 rounds. Who did I lose to? berkeleying ESM, they just had to put us together out of 25 other driver possibilities. I actually had him until the very end of our run and cornered too hot & hit 4 cones...d'oh!

Autocross course was in the morning. They wouldn't let us turn of ESC, and we kept it in 1rst gear. I now know the rev limiter will hit around 30mph. Small course, and you had to start/stop within a box to avoid penalties, I stopped hard enough my last lap to activate the voice command thing somehow.

Afterwards, and after ESM won all his berkeleying awards lol, it was time for the 5hr drive home. That became 6.5hrs with two construction delays. So glad I took today off.

nervousdog HalfDork
8/7/14 7:55 p.m.

Sounds like a fun day. I've driven at Autobahn a few times, its a nice course. That Head to Head challenge looks awesome!

Were you running the full track?

mtn UltimaDork
8/7/14 8:58 p.m.

Don't tell me you got on I55 going south? Aresenal road is horrible right now, has been for the past 2 years, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Jerry SuperDork
8/8/14 6:45 a.m.

In reply to nervousdog:

No, we used what looked like 1/2. If you were coming from the parking lot entrance it was on the right. I asked how long it was, around 1.5 miles. Still enough for a few straights and a handful of turns. The other side was being used by others, we saw at least one Lotus, a Miata, and some Mustangs.

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