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Empire State Ferrari Club at NJMP – A Re-Cap

On any given day at race tracks around the country, you will find men and women slinging their cars around corners and sharpening their driving skills.  These low-key events are typically called “Driver’s Education”, but this isn’t your high-school, passenger-side-brake-pedal driving instruction seminar.  These events are true high-performance driving sessions with high-performance cars.

So who’s doing the teaching? Organizations such as the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) offer certified high-performance driving instructors who often have years of actual racing experience. Auto makers such as BMW boast some of the most accomplished driving instructors who often work on a freelance basis. Needless to say, you show up in a high-performance car at one of these events and you will walk away with knowledge and a new appreciation for driving.

Just last week, the Empire State Ferrari Club set up such an event at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville NJ.   Just like any modern road course, it is challenging, but offers some exhilarating straightaways to stretch out that speedo needle. Chubb Collector Car’s very own Eugene Lim, an approved high performance instructor by PCA National, BMWCCA, and NASA, was on hand to offer assistance to the Ferrari Club and their members. Lim’s newly purchased ’05 Supercharged & track modified Lotus Elise also saw some track time with a new suspension and tire set-up. Here is his re-cap of the event:

The Lim truck/trailer/race-car made their debut to come play with some very SERIOUS machines. The Lotus ran #22 this year to honor my Mom whose birthday was on June 22.

At the track, the conditions were dry and hot- well into the 90s each day and we were required to wear driving suits per FCA rules for Advanced & Instructors.

The Ferrari Club event was incredible - lots of VERY GOOD drivers in the Advanced / Instructor group including the 2012 Ferrari Challenge champion. He's dominated every race so much so that even if he doesn't race for the rest of the year, he has enough points to wrap up the championship.  Who is this driver? He is 17 year old – Onofrio Triarsi.

On the track were lots of Challenge cars - 355, 430, 458s and Scuderias (aka "SCUDS").

Onofrio and a few others from his group (all great guys) stopped by at the end of Tuesday to check out the Lotus which was much appreciated. The Nitrons coupled with the Hoosiers made a huge difference from last time - VERY happy.

It was amazing how friendly and nice the Ferrari Club was.  Most everyone there had hired track support from cleaning windshields to catered meals.  A few PCA and BMW instructors were also there, and they said the same thing: those Ferrari guys are FAST!!  We were all scratching our heads in amazement.

I was invited to another event at Watkins Glen Labor Day weekend - there will also be Ferrari Challenge races going on.  

The yellow Challenge Car #37 (above) is my student's car.  Here is what he emailed last night (first event in the Challenge car - he was using a stock Ferrari 550 Maranello street car which is now retired from track use):

Thank you for your skilled instruction, Gene.  You made my transitioning to a dedicated road course in a new car both safe and pleasant.  I learned a lot during the day we spent together at Lightning Raceway.  It will serve as a sound foundation for more advanced skills I'll learn as I explore new tracks such as Watkins Glen.

I also appreciated how you observed me during my first solo session.  Your "thumbs up" was both encouraging and welcome.  I hope our paths cross again in the near future.  Please let me know if you can make it to Watkins Glen.

My best regards,

Barry

If all of this sounds fun to you, get involved!   Join a local club or go visit a race-track near you.  Driving events such as this may be the future of the car hobby. 

Jeff Walker

About Jeff Walker

Jeff Walker is a Classic Car Insurance Specialist and financial services professional; As the son of a Drag-Racer and auto restorer, he was born with a wrench in his hand and learned the trade at an early age. His specialty is 60’s and 70’s American Muscle but his mechanical ability has afforded him the opportunity to work on all types of cars from Alfa-Romeos to Gullwings and everything in-between. Jeff is also a motorcycle fanatic and maintains his own stable of classic & collectible bikes. He is happiest when a car or motorcycle project is underway in his garage.

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