View Full Version : 2005 Shenandoah Circuit - Question

11-09-2004, 11:03 PM
We (the DSSC and the NCC Board) are in the process of developing the 2005 calendar of events and we would like your input.

As you know, for the last two years, we have tried to schedule one track event on the Shenandoah Circuit. In 2003 the cancellation came so late that we couldn't get an alternate location, causing us to offer only 3 driver schools that year. In 2004 we were able to make a last minute switch to the JC, allowing us to have 4 schools.

Well, the Shenandoah is now officially open and the NJ Chapter ran the first drivers school there this past weekend.

Please note that it appears that the skidpad at the SC is essentially not useable during a school format due to the configuration and location of that new skidpad. If we choose to request a school on the SC, we may have to skip the skidpad for that particular event.

The question is what do you (the membership) want for 2005?
(NOTE, I'm going to try a poll on this topic, but since I'm not really sure how that works, I'm going to list the question and answers below.)

Choice #1:
Skip the Shenandoah for 2005 and go back to our "normal" track dates at Summit Point - 2 events on the JC (with one weekend being devoted to the Highway Safety School) and 2 events on the main circuit. Do you want to stay with this format?

Choice #2:
Ask BSR for a date on the Shenandoah - skid pad REQUIRED? No skidpad = no SC. We would need to either figure out a way to use the SC skidpad or get use of the "old" skidpad (off the JC). Both of these options for the skidpad would require some creative planning and coordination and neither may actually work. One JC (Highway Safety School), 2 main track, one SC (only if skidpad is available).

Choice #3:
Ask BSR for a date on the Shenandoah - WITHOUT the skidpad (for this one event only)? One JC (Highway Safety School), 2 main track, one SC.

If you have questions or comments, please post a reply.

Note that BSR will offer us dates (and tracks) based on overall demand. We don't know what tracks they will offer at this time nor what dates.

Thank you,

1996 328ti
11-10-2004, 09:27 AM
I think we should look for a date late in the year although sun seems to be a problem. This may give BSR some time to make improvements. Or the middle of the summer when attendance is typically low (I think).

11-10-2004, 09:39 AM
I personally would love to do Shenandoah, but after the instructors are more familiar with it. I'd also like to have skidpad time just because it's a great learning tool-nice break in the day and good way to mix it up a little.

Jenson Button
11-10-2004, 05:05 PM
I instructed at the NJ school and I would like to report that the track is really fun. It is like a roller coaster. The skid pad is out of the question, but the track is still very much worth the loss of skidpad time. Anyone who knows me will know that I do not give up skid-pad time easily, but this is a great track to demonstrate car control skills. I do not think the track is any more dangerous than any other track. It certainly has risks, and the walls are frequently close, but this is true of most tracks. My only caveat is that this may not be the best track for a first time student. I think the club should SUGGEST drivers have experience on another track before driving the Shenendoah. This is mainly because the karosel could freak out neophites.
Please cast my vote for a Shenandoah date no matter what!

11-10-2004, 08:02 PM
I'm all in favor of an event at the Shenandoah circuit, with or without access to a skidpad. Maybe we would consider a later date in the season to enable lesser experienced drivers to obtain skidpad time and other applicable skills. I'm aware that along with Jenson Button, there were other NCC Instructors in attendance last weekend. Maybe we can learn some of the techniques the NJ Chapter used for their lesser experienced students. I'm really looking forward to running the circuit!! :grin:

Greg Nolte

11-10-2004, 09:01 PM
I agree with what Bob said about the Karousel. It freaked me out too.

It is possible that the Jersey Chapter didn't allow first-timers. I didn't instruct in their novice group until Sunday and everyone was going pretty dern fast.

For what it's worth, Brock Yates Jr came over from the NASA event on the main track and got a ride for a session. He said it was the first time he felt queazy on a track.

11-10-2004, 09:09 PM
I'm with Jed, would love to do the track but I'm going to wait a little while for the instructors to get the hang of it first....


11-11-2004, 07:52 PM
I say give it a shot. I am willing to try instructing on it. I love the Karrussel at the Nurburgring, although it freaked out our M-B rental's traction control system in 2001. Let's give it a try. The Driver's School participants deserve it, especially since we missed the boat on booking VIR when it opened. If there are three useable tracks in our own neighborhood, we should at least try them all. I trust the reports I have read from instructors I know. It will be far easier to stop using it if we don't like it than to get a date on it later when the other clubs have given it a thimbs up.

Greg Johnson

11-11-2004, 08:46 PM
I guess I'll speak up with the alternative view. I drove on the track when up at the Jefferson school a couple weeks back. Looks like a GREAT track to drive anda lot of fun, but if I consider the purist "is it a good environment to teach students, I'd say it's not as good an environment. Maybe I'm too recent a grad of the IA, but I'm a strong skidpad proponent, and feel it's an integral part of the schools. It's also a very busy track, and I'm not sure how much teaching you can do with a student vs. just orienting them to all of the corners.

Still, if we decide to teach there, I'll be happy to join in. I'm just pointing out that we've got a lot of votes piling up from experienced drivers that are psyched to play on the track, though we're supposed to be focusing on the learning experience for our students.

If we're going to use it, I'd bias the request to later in the year as Bob said to try to get a blend of more experienced students. the Jeff school with Highway safety is biased to newbies, this one could be biased towards more experienced drivers (though I suspect our enrollment tends to be fairly green).

It was entertaining to watch Derek burn laps on the dry skidpad...

Marc Plante

1996 328ti
11-11-2004, 09:24 PM
There is a skid pad. It is not known the feasibility of using it yet.
Car Guys will be there Nov 13/14 and will be using it.
There are some NCC instructors that will be participating so we will be able to get some feedback.

11-11-2004, 10:59 PM
I was one of several at the school with no previous experience. I had a great time. I didn't think the Karousel was a big deal. Of course, I didn't accelerate on it until the second day. One good thing about the track is that it is difficult to go fast unless you know what you are doing. This gave me time to learn my car and the track before I got going very fast. It was mid way through the second day before I was exiting the corners well enough to really get moving down the straights.

I joined BMW CCA over the summer. I missed out on the last NCC event this year and got lucky the NJ club had room. I plan on getting involved with NCC next season. If NCC doesn't run Shenandoah, I will probably hook up with a club that does for a weekend.

11-12-2004, 07:47 AM
For the instructors that instructed there, I am curious, there looks to be like 20+ turns, e.g., really busy. Do you really have time to instruct the student while he/she is driving?

Or is it more instructing the student AFTER driving is over?

Perhaps having the headset things mandatory would be helpful then?

1996 328ti
11-12-2004, 08:42 AM
Intercoms are required. They do try to schedule some time after the session for a debriefing. On Saturday it may not work out for some, but Sunday the run groups are usually reversed so there should be time.

It does look like a busy track. Woody can comment on that one.

11-12-2004, 02:55 PM
My vote is to drive it, then decide if it's not what we need. Best case, as noted, is to get the new track and the old skidpad. Next best is to get Bill S to somehow make the new skidpad useful. But if we don't try a school there, then we will always wonder...


Jenson Button
11-17-2004, 08:32 PM
It may be possible to use the skidpad in the future. Right now there is not enough padock space to run an event without using the skidpad for parking. It should get better as construction is completed though. There should be space near the building and some other areas. I do not know if it will be enough, but I think we need to be patient to see what the finish padock layout is. Between removing the tent and parking by the yet uncomplete main building, the padock will be better. The skidpad does have some problems beyond its current role as parking. There is a cliff upward at one edge and elevated outlets at the inside edge. The result of a spin off the skidpad could be ugly.

11-18-2004, 12:27 PM
The question I would like to hear the answer from by some drivers/instructors that have driven it, is this a course you would be comfortable putting a first time student on and being the co-pilot? Or potentially the student who is becoming comfortable and has greater "potential" then a student at the extremes of expierence. Is this track any worse then any other?

What were the experiences with the schools that were there? I haven't heard that the NJ school had any increased level of incidences that could be considered to disuade us from using the track. Were there any?

Here is an old photo tour of the track from when it was under construction:

Has the end of the pit wall improved in location since this photo was taken?

The loss of the skid pad is a huge let down for me, as I consider the skid pad to of equal fun/importance to me at these events.

I can understand the try it and decide after one school if we should use it moving forward, and I think Greg Johnson's point about getting on the register now is a valid one.

It will be far easier to stop using it if we don't like it than to get a date on it later when the other clubs have given it a thumbs up.

Greg Johnson

What is the thinking of all those who have driven/ridden this course about it's relative "danger" compared to other tracks? I think that a poll on that subject would be interesting to see.

-Noah Paci

1996 328ti
11-18-2004, 01:11 PM
I haven't driven it but was concerned about the concrete.
Then I had to think about Watkins Glen. People told me be careful about the concrete and all the armco at the Glen. I have driven the Glen 3 weekends. I had not noticed all the armco until I saw my in-car video. Mid-Ohio you track out against a concrete wall.

While the runoff doesn't seem as good as other tracks, Putnam Park, VIR, it is not any worse than say the Glen or Mid-Ohio.

By the time NCC takes to the track I would hope that many of our instructors will have had some time on the Shenandoah.

11-18-2004, 02:23 PM

As Steven says, by the time we actually run on the SC (if, we run on the SC) we will have much more experience.

The preliminary reports from the instructors are that the SC is a fun track that requires some degree of caution due to the number an proximity of the walls - not unlike many other tracks (Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen, regionally).

Skidpad is still an unknown, but again, we can wait and make a decision after other groups have used the SC.

We are not in a position to make a decision on whether or not to actually use the SC. However, if we didn't request a date for 2005, my concern was that we (NCC) might have been closed out from future participation. I started this discussion to get a feel for how the membership was thinking with respect to this track.

11-18-2004, 06:55 PM
Yeah, I agree about the reasons for doing it now with regards to future usage and I think that's really good foresight.

I also concur that other tracks have similar proximity to concrete walls and that this is not reason enough to eliminate it from our school.

If it turns out that there is a problem area we can certainly address that once we have our spot on the Shenandoah schedule.