What If You Had A Racetrack All To Yourself?

Imagine you have a racetrack. Nobody’s on it but you. And nobody’s going to be on it. It’s 100% empty. What would you do?

If the answer is “screw around in a four-cylinder Camry and upset your brother,” then you are my kind of person.

This short video is one of many we took today during a day today at Nelson Ledges. My brother and I, along with SCCA ProSolo National Champion Marc Pfannenschmidt, had the track for the better part of the day. We wrung out my bro’s 2013 Boss 302, Marc’s Fiat Abarth 500, a mystery car you’ll have to buy an issue of R&T to find out about, and, of course, “my” car.

A Camry. A 2012 Camry LE, courtesy of, um, a local firm.

It can do the Kink at Ledges flat-out. Because it can only do 108mph going into the Kink.

Today was just one of those all-time great days. And this was some silliness at the very end. I don’t recommend that you drive around a racetrack no-handed, okay? And I don’t recommend that you use the E-brake on a racetrack. So you won’t do it.


12 Replies to “What If You Had A Racetrack All To Yourself?”

  1. AvatarTre Deuce


    If I ever win one of the those big Lottos, I will have my own track… and at times, all to myself. I guess I better start playing the lotto…

    Me and my brother have been scaring the shit out of each other for years, but never on the track. Memorable moments were when I bought my new Red 70′ Tr-Spitfire and he a new 240Z.

    Running a twisty road from Seattle, back home from the dealership, and growing with over optimistic confidence in the car and my prodigious wheelsmanship, I came around a hi-speed corner and encountered a farmers field sprinkler wetting the road.

    Piloting a brand new car, with your precious brother sitting next to you, while looking out the drivers window, while going side ways at 70 MPH is something you don’t want to repeat… if you get the chance.

    The back story on that is, our father and his brother(driving) did the same thing 13 years earlier, in another brand new Red Triumph, a TR-3, and our father didn’t survive. They had the car less then 24 hours, and were driving it home from the dealership in Seattle.

    Thankfully, we survived the day. I can’t imagine the hurt on my mothers face had I had to tell her, that she had lost another loved one, in another red TR.

    A few months later, my brother and I were driving back from a dealership in Seattle on the same road and the same corner in my brothers new Datsun 240Z, when a car entered the road in our path. My brother put it sideways around the car, now stopped, and again sideways to keep us out of the ditch or telephone pole, all at seventy plus MPH.

    Narrow high crowned country roads are a bitch to go sideways on and recover, triply bad when wet and, or, with obstacles in the road. Luck and just a little bit of skill saved both days and our poor mother.

    My mother loved sports cars till my dad died in one. When I was seventeen, she wouldn’t sign for me to get what would have been my first sports car a 53′ Jag XK-120. And she wasn’t happy when at 18 I bought a Red 59′ Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, and then I bought the Red Spitfire at 23. Her pained, disgusted comment each time, was, ‘Couldn’t you have least bought another color?’. I never have, been Red Sports cars ever since. Only my GT’s have been another color … Gray.

    Take it easy on your brother and your mother, Jack, by always delivering him home in one piece.

  2. Avatarshaun m

    Jack, you sir are the man.

    Consider this is a non-homo love letter from your biggest asian fan from the great white north. Ever since discovering your work on TTAC, I’ve obsessively followed your musings. It’s one thing to be a car journalist, but it’s absolutely something else when you yourself know how to drive, and know how to extract any potential in a car. Those who do not know how to balance and manipulate a chassis via driver input at will have little place reviewing cars…but you sir, are another animal.

    Wherever possible, I quote you in my daily life. Whenever I need inspiration, I watch your videos. Whenever I’m left with a decision to which I cannot decide, I think to myself “What would Jack do”? ….JOKING!!! nohomo. But honestly, your work is refreshing. I’m glad to see someone like you in the car biz giving their 2c, and it’s pretty awesome to have found your blog.

  3. Avatarshaun m

    Feeding into Baruth’s ego? I think so…but deservedly so!
    This man gets a standing ovation from me over here in Canada!

    here here for the no handed sweeper 😀

    • AvatarTre Deuce

      ” No handed sweeper” Are you Kidding, that pig under steers so bad anybody who realized the wheel was neutral in a neutral groove, could have done it.

      Jack understands the dynamics involved, where most Pig drivers, don’t and would never think of taking there hands off the wheel in that situation. Four passengers probably helped the neutral dynamics giving a little more corner weight to the rear tires.

      Enter Sweeper, find neutral steering angle, take your hands off the wheel, control with throttle… videograph it… collect kudos.

      Jack is just demonstrating how dumb/numb/boring, FWD’s are.

    • JackJack Post author

      You’re right and Tre is wrong (for once!)… you can see me dial in the steering and hold it there with my left knee. At corner exit I “unwind” by releasing my knee pressure. Since I wasn’t totally certain about how fast the steering would unwind at that speed, I did it in two stages.

      • AvatarTre Deuce

        Must have been your left knee and the wheel indicates it it still is free, at least to a degree.

        Damn! I hate giving undeserved credit… You all have a good weekend and clip and exit some apexs with extreme counter steer…Ya! Whoo!


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