Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fun in the Civic with the BMW Club at Tremblant

I joined the BMW Club at Tremblant this on May 16th to instruct at their high performance driver education event. The forecast called for snow, which seemed hard to believe for mid-May, but sure enough, on my way up to Tremblant, I saw many cars headed south with snow on their roofs. Eventually, I came to areas where there was a dusting of snow on the ground as well. There was even a  bit of slush on the road at places and I saw a car that had rolled over into the ditch as well... not what one expects to see on the way to a track day.

As usual, there were many interesting cars on hand, many of them non-BMW's and most of them belonging to the instructors. My old Civic was usually one of the faster cars on track, even in the instructor group. After a couple of sessions on track, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the new Civic, although about 5 seconds slower per lap (2:03.4 according to my phone), is still in the mid pack. I always get a bit of an ego boost when people come up to me after a session and say "Was that you in the Civic? You were quick out there!". At St-Eustache, there are a bunch of really quick Honda's, most quicker than mine. However, at  these BMW events, there are usually only a couple of Honda's , so I think many attendees are a bit surprised when they get passed on track by a Civic, especially one that looks as unmodified as mine.

I was not comfortable pushing too hard because of the cold conditions, but the car felt really planted. The back end stepped out a bit once (first time ever with this car!) at the transition point between corners 4 and 5, which was a surprise, but generally, the car gripped. When it understeered a couple of times in a row during a session where it was snowing, I decided to pull into the pits. Constantly changing conditions are tricky, and I didn't feel like risking anything just to try to go that little bit faster. My car's top speed on the back straight was 182 km/h, which is as fast as I've ever gone on this track.

I took a video with my phone in a 99-cent Ebay phone holder, and the result was shockingly good. Here it is. It was not my fastest session of the day, but rather the only one I filmed.

I am pretty sure that in nice conditions, I will be able to go quite a bit faster, maybe even under the 2-minute mark. My minimum speeds in most corners are 85% of what they were in the race car when it was running in the 1:58 range, and my top speeds are pretty close. The new Civic was clearly making good power on such a cold day. The car felt really good: good acceleration good gear ratios, adequate brakes, good grip, predictable handling. I look forward to future events with the car at Tremblant.

Lovely E30 M3 from the instructor group
I love the 964 too.
Maybe my favourite colour for the E92 M3
Alex used to have an NX2000 just like this!
This Evo looked like a serious track weapon0
Another lovely 911
Nice wheels and an aftermarket wing make for a neat-looking 996 Turbo
There was no missing the only yellow Civic in attendance!

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