January 20th, 2006, Foothill Ranch, Ca.
Staff track day. The staff at HPI Racing is nothing short of serious motorsports enthusiasts. You may already know from the extensive product line reflecting such. Enthusiasm within HPI Racing rolls from the top down and is truly reflected by HPI Racing owner Tatsuro Watanabe and HPI Racing president Shawn Ireland as their excitement for motorsports is what makes days like these happen. This track day took us to none other than Willow Springs International Raceway located in Rosamond, California. There are four major courses - Horse Thief Mile, The Streets, Big Track and the Kart Track. There’s lots of space to run R/C cars, but no R/C specific track on site. Today, the HPI Staff put down the digital proportional controllers and placed hands on 1:1 steering wheels for some full-size action.
The track of choice this day was “The Streets.” This 1.8mile road course is quite the challenge with very technical turns set on the hillside of the surrounding area. Lucky for HPI Racing staff, on hand was chief driving instructor of Fast Lane Driving School, Danny McKeever. Aside from training the Toyota Celebrity Cup drivers each year at this same track, he runs a driving school for drivers who want to learn the ropes of driving safe – fast. And with Danny behind the wheel, he simply makes it look so easy. If you listen to him, he will show you that it is easy, thus making your driving smoother, faster and safe.
The day started with Danny giving the staff the words of advice, rules and reasoning about being safe. Plain and simple, motorsports is dangerous and should never be taken lightly. Since the days of James Dean, Willow Springs is how we measure up to our hero’s on the track. Learning how to do it safely is of utmost importance for the HPI team, thus the services of Danny.
One ride with Danny around the track and you feel like you are on a Sunday cruise. A quick glance at the speedo will tell you that his skill is more like “master instructor” and further proved when Mr. McKeever can easily jump into the Super Taikyu prepared 2004 HPI Racing Subaru. Yes, the Subaru with the steering wheel on the right side of the dash thus placing the shifter on left side of the steering wheel. Sounds confusing saying it. Just think about driving it! With Danny at the wheel, HPI employee’s got the shotgun trip around the Streets of Willow for a few laps. HPI Racing also flew in both professional racing drivers, Kazuhiro Koizumi & Toshihiro Yoshida from Japan to drive the car as well.
Previously, Danny took the whole staff onto the track in their personal cars and did some pace laps (low speed) to learn the course as it has many turns that you cannot see until you make the approach. Danny treated the HPI staff to his famous orange cone course markings with a cone at the entry point, clipping point and exit point for each of the turns. Then, HPI was turned loose with their own cars, with Subaru Impreza’s well represented by several HPI employees.
The day ended on a high note as few of the staff members actually got the opportunity to drive the right-hand drive HPI Racing Super Taikyu Subaru! More importantly, every car drove home looking the same as it arrived, just a little dirty and tires with the trademark “scrub” look! This is how HPI Racing plays!
Info for Fast Lane Driving School: http://www.raceschool.com/
More about our previous track day: http://www.hpiracing.com/news.php?issue=2006010401
Site of our Super Taikyu team: http://www.jprova.co.jp/