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B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/2/18 9:08 p.m.

My name is Jon and I'm a "C list" driving instructor. You have never heard of me. I've never test driven any cars for a magazine or won any racing series. In fact, you may be a better driver than me all together. Im not an expert. But... My side job is pretty freaking Awesome. Im a pastor by day and driving instructor on Saturdays here in Florida. 

Yeah, I'm cool and normal... and a pastor... Believe it or not... But that is another story for another day. 

I have been really lucky to get the chance to do what I do. (Both on and off the track) My role as an instructor is for both rally instruction and HPDE Instruction at a motorsports park. This thread will be my attempt at giving you a taste of what it is like to do what I do and get a chance to see the cars I get to drive and instruct in. I hope to share stories, share experiences and even tell you what cars I hate and like. So follow along. It should be pretty fun. Unless its not and then you can go back to pinning things on pintrest....  Ask questions, disagree and enjoy the ride while I try to do the same thing. (Only im normally white knuckled in the passenger seat of super car with a doctor who has no idea what he is doing... yet) LOL

 

lll be posting about twice a month after the track days and Rally Intructions Mid week (these are rare but pay more than HPDE so I jump on them when I can). 

PS. YES pastors do work during the week. 

Here are some of my favorite cars I have instructed in lately. 

The 3 wheeling fiero. The owner has done AutoX for a while and lots of Karting. He understood where to be on the tack very quickly but we had to work a lot of his hands. By the end of the day he really got it all sorted and was looking more and more comfortable pitching the car into turn 1 coming off the straight.  This car was lightly modified and on stock suspension. The newly mounted RE-71s really made this thing stick... AND roll. It was very odd being a 240lb passenger and being lifted of the ground in the corners. It made for quite the ride. Driving the car first to show him the line and braking zones was fun, It was my first time in a fiero. It made me want to listen to the 80's hair band music that is required in a machine such as this. If the A Team had been chasing me in their van it would have been the perfect scene. 

Next up are two cars that I have really enjoyed driving and instructing in. While the S2000 and the Quadrifoglio are two completely different machines they both offer a equally wonderful and rewarding driving experience that couldn't be anymore different from the other. 

The owner of the S2000 purchased the car because his friend "bought one and well I had to have one too." They wanted to do track days together and found the track that I work at online.  He had never done any type of High performance driving and it really showed early on. But, after lots of on and off the track and back to the "class room" it clicked. This guy now attends our track days most weekends and has dropped his lap times by more than 15 seconds over the past few months. I am madly in love with the s2000. It has officially made it on my "must own at some point" list. 

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is some kind of machine let me tell you.  The interior reminds me of a many of the C class Mercedes that I have been in and the engine screams and garbles in ways that automatically increase your testosterone levels to something of a steroid infused Russians power lifter. There is something about this car that just feels like it shouldn't be allowed to do what it does how it does it at its size and weight. The paddle shifting was far more crisp and snappy than our outdated Lamborghini Gallardo in the pictures above. This car was awesome. I will never... I repeat... never make enough money (im ok with this aspect of my life) to afford a car like this. But I must say, if I could, I would. **Funny story about the TWO Alfa's we all assumed that the owners new each other and planned to be there at the same time when we saw them sign up on MotoSportReg... But they didn't know each other and came to the firm completely independent of one another. What are the chances of that?

One Thing I have learned is that 911's are incredible machines... One that are pushing 770ish HP must be respected. This car RIPPED. (At some point Ill share the story of the plastic surgeon that almost ended a few lives in a 911S.... NEVER LIE ABOUT YOUR TRACK EXPERIENCE

The BMW was great, I have driven many since the recent release. Again, Big car, Big power... not really my style but I get the allure. 

And finally. The most ludicrous car that I have ever driven and instructed in... the 800Hp Ariel Atom. This car was mind numbingly fast. It wanted to fly... I normally wear an open faced helmet while instructing so that my students can hear me more clearly. In this car however that was not so wise. The moment we got to about 130 on the straight away my left eye lid rolled over on itself .... We quickly went in and I changed over to my full face. What a day that was. 

Meet my Love hate relationship: our Lambo for the exotic car experience. Her name is "The Porcelain Pony" It's only cool for a little while as a driver. Seats are brutally uncomfortable and at 6'1 with a helmet on I drive with a bit of a "pimp lean." But how can I complain really? I mean who gets to say they drive a Lambo for work... It's so fun to see the joy that it brings people. It is honestly one of the best parts of my job to see people filled with adrenaline after they go for a ride in one of their dream cars at well over 100mph. 

 

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
2/2/18 9:10 p.m.

Jon, shoot me an email. tom@grassrootsmotorsports.com

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/3/18 5:44 p.m.

Some of the cars from today's track day. You might say we had a good mix. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
2/3/18 5:59 p.m.

I need to get my E36 M3 together and get out there. 

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/3/18 6:09 p.m.

I had the privilege of helping put on a NASA Rally Sprint recently.

Rally is such an incredible driving discipline. When I first started rallying I was a hot mess. There was so much drama with the wheel and my feet. I was fast. But uncontrolled and messy. Slow down, work the wheel and turn your head.... The rest follows. My first driving experience as a youngster was Karting and LOADS of motox. Both teach the driver to drive more instinctively, from feel. While many drivers tend to be cerebral and overthink entries and exits; Motorcross truly teaches one to drive from the "seat of your pants." This has helped me both in rally and even more so as an instructor. I can tell what the car is about to do far before the student makes a mess of it. More on this idea in a later post. 

My friend John Worked tirelessly to build the only Stage Rally Legal Miata in the US. This little car is a total hoot. It truly proves that "miata is always the answer" for just about everything. 

At this event I handled more of the event production side of things, However I did have the privilege to be in the "00" car. The "00" car plays an important role by starting each stage setting a pace time and scaring off any of our Florida critters. I have never been a co-driver before. I do however understand how to read notes. ROLE CHANGE. A friend of mine who is an accomplished co-driver and co-driving instructor got behind the wheel and I hopped into the passenger seat with a helmet far too small but it did have the Mic I needed (It ended up not working so I just yelled... a lot).  Lets just say... I was reading the notes. But man, they were far from pace notes. I was constantly missing notes. "Right 5 INTO Left 6 tightens into, into, uhh into... Ah crap sorry that was the wrong turn." I'm even more impressed with co-drivers now than I was before. Hats off to you friends! 

As you can see I was apprehensive about the entire thing. 

I am on a tight budget. As a pastor I don't make much money. My wife is currently in Grad school (let me tell you though, when she is done she is gonna be my sugar momma) I am currently building a "free" racecar (again more on this soon) I really appreciate the home grown projects. I find the ingenuity and grit that it takes to build a proper racing machine on a shoe string budget brings me far more joy than any supercar or high dollar build. I respect them and believe they have their place but im all about that budget build. So, with that in mind. Here is my favorite rally car of all. Here we have an early corolla that is basically stock. Its slightly modified in what most would would call.... well, dangerously "rednecktified". Rust holes covered with license plates and bondo. Random fasteners and a radiator vent tube poking through the the fender steaming like an early locomotive. The two brothers run a tight ship but don't take things too seriously. They are just there to have some fun and of course, finish. You can follow the owner on Instagram @avocado_brock  you will be  in for a real treat!

 

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit SuperDork
2/3/18 7:07 p.m.

Just want to watch. Looks like a fun job.

 

Paul

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
2/3/18 7:20 p.m.

Glad this thread is back. 

Stampie
Stampie UltraDork
2/3/18 7:39 p.m.

In reply to B13Birk :

I met your friend John today.  Nice guy, not many people help push a Pinto up on a trailer with a stranger.  Wish I had looked over his Miata more but we were distracted by the 69 Cadillac in his shop. 

kazoospec
kazoospec SuperDork
2/3/18 7:52 p.m.

I'm just jealous that you all are racing this time of year.  My automotive fun lately has been Gran Tourismo Sport and handbrake turns on icy patches in the back of the neighborhood.

759NRNG
759NRNG Dork
2/4/18 2:11 p.m.

Pastor B,  glad your back online.....

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/4/18 4:53 p.m.

In reply to 759NRNG :

Thank you sir. I look forward to being able to share with all of you. 

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/4/18 5:11 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

Talk about a small world. But helpng you as he did sure sounds like him! He is a great guy and an exceptional car builder. If I had a budget to build a cool race car. I would have him build it. 

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
2/4/18 5:41 p.m.

Awesome!  Glad we’re back online. I’m here to watch the updates. 

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill UberDork
2/5/18 11:10 a.m.

Absolutely loving this thread.  Glad it's back

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/6/18 9:10 a.m.

Here is some more Track Day Goodness for you. One of the many things that I love about HPDEs is the variety of cars. Humans by nature are diverse and unique. Our love affairs with our cars are just a unique as we are. There is something special about that. No matter how bizarre the platform may be there is someone that loves it, collects and cares for it. Track days are just another layer of the diversity that makes up the beautiful and messy world of car culture. So take your time. Slow down and enjoy these machines.  

 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
2/6/18 9:21 a.m.

Back in for future updates! I wonder if the driver of that LeMons-y pickup is on here?

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Reader
2/6/18 9:45 a.m.

It's a rather eclectic group of cars.   Something for everyone.   Pun is intended.  You do have "Heaven sent" jobs.   

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/6/18 9:46 a.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH :

Great question. Its a cool build. Its a Ford Ranger that was running a VG30 But is now sporting an LT1 If I remember correctly. Its a cool build, the owner races it in the ChampCar Series (Formerly ChumpCar)

aw614
aw614 New Reader
2/6/18 10:09 a.m.

I think it is an L98 with a 4 speed. I've driven it a few times at the brooksville airport when it had the vg30 in it.  Haven't driven it with the v8 yet. 

Oh Im friends with the owner with the spoon s2000 heh. 

APEowner
APEowner HalfDork
2/6/18 3:20 p.m.

I'm glad this thread was resurrected.  I'm really enjoying it.

Were they really running open wheel cars with the rest of the track day cars?  That always seems like a bad idea to me.

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/6/18 6:39 p.m.

In reply to aw614 :

Awesome that makes sense. Very cool truck. Which S2000 the blue one or the yellow one? 

In reply to APEowner :  I'm glad you are enjoying it. In regards to the little open wheeled racer. I have always felt the same way. At most other tracks I would completely agree. However, Because of how few cars we have on track at a time at these smaller events there isn't much car by car time. Additionally at this track there is only passing by point by on the straights. So again, it's the safest situation in a dangerous scenario. 

aw614
aw614 New Reader
2/6/18 8:43 p.m.

it was the red one with the hardtop in the first post. 

APEowner
APEowner HalfDork
2/7/18 12:13 p.m.
B13Birk said:

In reply to APEowner :  I'm glad you are enjoying it. In regards to the little open wheeled racer. I have always felt the same way. At most other tracks I would completely agree. However, Because of how few cars we have on track at a time at these smaller events there isn't much car by car time. Additionally at this track there is only passing by point by on the straights. So again, it's the safest situation in a dangerous scenario. 

That does seem like most of the inherent danger is mitigated. 

B13Birk
B13Birk Reader
2/7/18 1:07 p.m.

In reply to APEowner :

For the most part. I'd do it! I would love to run one of those things. That was the first time i'd seen an open wheeled car that small out there but but we do get alot of the Formula Ford and Mazda Folks. 

APEowner
APEowner HalfDork
2/7/18 2:45 p.m.
B13Birk said:

In reply to APEowner :

For the most part. I'd do it! I would love to run one of those things. That was the first time i'd seen an open wheeled car that small out there but but we do get alot of the Formula Ford and Mazda Folks. 

I would too under those circumstances.  What are those anyway?  Formula V?

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