I completed the first day of a two day Advanced Driving, Handling and Skid Experience course yesterday, with Ride Drive. I have some time to practice now before my second day.
Taking driving instruction so many years after passing my test made me very nervous in advance of the experience itself, and having a heavy cold did not help much either. However, the day itself was great, as was the instructor (Andrew, a retired policemen, advanced driver, and keen golfer).
It was somewhat worrying that we started the day with me having to ask him to delay his arrival so I could get the tyres checking following a kerbing incident over the weekend. As it turns out, the new car has kerbing protection built into the tyres, a band/ribbon of rubber that protects the alloys and tyre structure from kerb damage. I need to use a little super glue to stick a small flappy bit of rubber down sometime.
Fortunately the fog that dominated the morning in my part of Shropshire lifted pretty quickly and the day turned out to be one of the brightest, warmest, driest of the year so far. We took as many back routes as practical without going too far out of our way to make it over to Bruntingthorpe proving ground.
I have never been into racing, track driving, trick driving and the like. My first run around the track, under the fuselage of some large aeroplanes, made me very uncomfortable, as did being instructed to go faster into corners and not break.
Eventually, I got the hang of it, found I was correcting understeer and oversteer very naturally and automatically (no idea when I learned that), and I understood how the car balanced both with and without all the traction control and safety gizmos. I am never going to push the car so hard on the public roads, but knowing how my car, an 2015 Audi A5 Sportback S-Line 3.0 litre diesel, handled at the extremes and just how much grip it had was incredibly impressive.
The drive back home was a lot more relaxed as I was able to go around corners at higher speeds (within safe braking distances) and more comfortably, and was also able therefore to plan overtakes more effectively.
Looking forward to the second day.