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Old 16th September 2022, 07:09   #1
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Default Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9360.jpg

Skidpan :
Quote:
noun: skid-pan
a slippery road surface prepared for drivers to practise control of skidding.
What to expect?
Chance to drive around in a Lotus Exige on a skidpan track, with 1 on 1 instructor guidance.

Duration of event:
4 hours, with about 5 folks taking laps in each car

Safety considerations?
Being a skidpan event, the focus is on initiating and controlling a slide on a prepared slippery surface, therefore speeds aren’t high. Also, with a car like the Lotus Exige with a really low Center of Gravity, the chance of toppling it is… let’s say miniscule.

Pre-Requisites:
Anyone holding a current Australian Driver’s licence, and has experience with a manual gearbox. For convenience reasons, despite having driven manual cars all my life in India I only hold an automatic transmission licence here in Australia.
Checked beforehand with Paul who organises the event, who confirmed as long as my licence is current and I have experience with a manual, that’s more than enough.

Teaser Pics:

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9341.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9294.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 04:48.
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Old 16th September 2022, 07:11   #2
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

A few years ago, my wife had gifted me a RedBalloon adventures gift voucher (RedBalloon Adventures), which I was unable to use over the last 2-3 years as most experiences were put on the backburner owing to Covid regulations and various other factors. When I checked, the expiry date neared, and I quickly got down to finding an experience which would do justice. It had to be something unique, as I’ve realised life is about new experiences and not sticking to the boring template.

Finalised on the following:
Skid Pan Driver Training In A Lotus, which was to be held at the RACQ Mobility Centre skidpan track - Mt Cotton

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-fr_22696.jpg

I did the booking about 2 months prior as these tend to book out really quick. Once done, I embarked on the difficult task of waiting for the D-Day.

On D-Day, I am to arrive at the venue by 8AM, for an 8:30AM start. We wait at the gates outside to be escorted by the organisers to the track. I requested my family to come along and watch me either make a fool of myself in public, or else impress with hitherto unknown-to-myself skills.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-fr_22690.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-fr_22692.jpg

There are 2 Lotus Exiges available today for those who have signed up for this package, and for those that only opted for the skidpan experience in their own cars, they would be taken around the track by the instructors so they can learn the basics of skid control using their cars. There were 2 such participants who brought their own cars – a Volkswagen Golf GTi with a L plated driver, and a Nissan 350Z. The GTi was a FWD car, while the Z is RWD. Would be fun to see these on track.

A view of the skidpan track
Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9258.jpg

The instructors – Paul and Graham quickly take us on a quick briefing and this is followed by Paul doing a demo lap on the track to show what we are here for.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-fr_22694.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9276.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9268.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 05:07.
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Old 16th September 2022, 07:12   #3
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Not surprisingly, I happened to be first to head out on track. One participant per car, which means two cars are out on track at a given time.
For safety, cars are not to be within 1/3 track distance of each other. If the other car on track stops, or spins, you either use the cut track in between, or else stop where you are till they are going again. Cars should never pass each other when on track.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9329.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9366.jpg

To aid with loss of traction, in addition to the wet track, there was also some diesel thrown on to make it more interesting.

Lap 1 had me in the green Lotus Exige. The colour is important here in context, as I shall explain later.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9313.jpg

Graham took me around, giving a demo of how to initiate the slide, how to control it, and so on. Lap 2, I was asked to climb into the driver’s seat and get going.

Fitted with a rollcage, and considering the fact that you are almost sitting on the ground, getting in and out of these cars requires contortionist skills and is a sight in itself.
May I mention at this point that the last time I drove a manual transmission was years ago, and not on this continent. Unfamiliar car, parked on a slope and manual… the test began right away. LOL!

Managed to get it going with a slight backward roll before I navigated it onto the track. Shift to second, and this is where we would be while the action ensued.


Spent some time getting used to throttle response and so on.. and overconfident me pushed it hard the next corner, and rather than a presentable slide, I managed a 360 degree spin and grassed the car. With this being inaugurated, I completed the part of making a fool of myself in public. Now to see what comes next.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9290.jpg

Being a rear-engined RWD car, it was really easy to get the rear out, and in quite a few cases, facing the wrong way round.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9327.jpg

In my second iteration, I got the blue Exige. Straight away, the very first corner, I saw myself facing the wrong way round. Get it facing the right way, and the next corner the same happens. This car felt very different to the green one.

Later, the instructors explained an how they had set up each car differently, so we could get to experience both scenarios when we swapped cars.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9385.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9292.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9406.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 05:05.
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Old 16th September 2022, 07:12   #4
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9356.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9386.jpg

Watching the Golf GTi on track with a young learner driver was interesting, as it was almost impossible to get the FWD car to slide the rear out even on a slippery track and all traction aids disabled.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9391.jpg

The young driver did push hard and sure did enjoy her time behind the wheel.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9395.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 05:10.
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Old 16th September 2022, 07:12   #5
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9372.jpg

Watching RWD JDM magic on track was good fun. The young chap driving this was soon at home, and I suppose the familiarity of his own car for such an experience meant he was holding the slide and drifts way better than most of us.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9401.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9405.jpg

Soon enough, every time the 350Z stepped out on track, all eyes were on it as it slid it’s way across, the exhaust note further adding to the experience.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9412.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9407.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9410.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 03:43.
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Old 16th September 2022, 07:12   #6
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

By Iteration 3, I began to get better too.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9261.jpg

The better traction on the green Exige meant I wasn’t slithering around at random, but could manage throttle better, and focus on steering inputs rather than see the car spin even with the slightest user inputs on the throttle. I realised that it wasn’t all about powering your way in, but blips to ensure you went in with the right amount of speed and then as the rear slid out, hold back, allow the car to regroup and then throttle and steer as necessary to keep it going.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9279.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9297.jpg

Got encouraging feedback from the instructor on board, and my confidence went up as well. I soon realised how much more easier it was to control the green car, as opposed to the other one.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9337.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 04:45.
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Old 16th September 2022, 07:14   #7
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9396.jpg

Summary:
  • Day well spent, in the company of awesome instructors in Paul and Graham, and other petrolheads all willing to learn and understand vehicle dynamics.
  • Good opportunity to play around with the Lotus Exige – it’s amazing how hard you can push it and it just feels so stable. To be honest, the opportunity to drive something like the Exige was the reason I chose this particular course – other options were a Toyota 86.
  • An opportunity to understand and realise how it feels to be in a scenario with negligible traction, and steps you can take as a driver to bring the vehicle under control rather than depend on modern vehicle aids to save you – Back to the Basics!
  • I received a certificate for having undertaken this course.

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9307.jpg

Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience-img_9302.jpg

Last edited by benbsb29 : 20th September 2022 at 05:01.
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Old 20th September 2022, 11:14   #8
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 21st September 2022, 11:37   #9
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Looks like you have extracted maximum fun out of this experience. I have worked on a Lotus project in 2016 so was emotionally attached in this news.

Very well narrated, the story glued me to the core and i lived the experience myself.

Do you have any video of the drift experiences? If yes mind sharing those with us?
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Old 21st September 2022, 12:24   #10
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by UD17 View Post
Looks like you have extracted maximum fun out of this experience. I have worked on a Lotus project in 2016 so was emotionally attached in this news.

Very well narrated, the story glued me to the core and i lived the experience myself.

Do you have any video of the drift experiences? If yes mind sharing those with us?
Thanks for your comments, appreciate it.

I need to check from the videos my wife had taken, if there are any worth sharing. We haven't uploaded them anywhere yet.

Meanwhile, here's one from the same folks who conducted this event, done at the same venue - off a GoPro attached to the car.

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Old 21st September 2022, 12:33   #11
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Thanks for sharing your experience. Seems like a lot of fun.

What were the differences between the green and blue ones which made them drive differently?
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Old 21st September 2022, 17:01   #12
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

much fun to read through the experience.

if I may ask, could you share with us the cost involved for attending this event ?
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Old 22nd September 2022, 06:05   #13
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Default Re: Practicising skids with a Lotus Exige on track - Skidpan Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by carthick1000 View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience. Seems like a lot of fun.

What were the differences between the green and blue ones which made them drive differently?
The difference in the two cars was how they were setup with respect to tyre pressures. One to promote understeer and one for oversteer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rt363 View Post
much fun to read through the experience.

if I may ask, could you share with us the cost involved for attending this event ?
I can certainly share the cost. As my booking was via RedBalloon, the cost is A$275 per head. Here’s the link to one such session:
https://www.redballoon.com.au/produc.../STO562-M.html
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