Thunderhill Driving Event
1990 928 S4

December 04, 2000

On Monday December 4th, DEVEK sponsored their 2nd Driving Day at Thunderhill Park, 80 miles north of Sacramento, in the rolling hills 7 miles west of Willows, California. I drove up Sunday night with Dennis Kao ( 90 GT) and stayed at the Best Western, Golden Pheasant Inn, in Willows. On Sunday night many of us met for dinner at Franco's. At the end of dinner, Marc Thomas talk about the following days schedule.

I drove out to the track 7:30 Monday morning and signed in. All cars needed to sign in, and all drivers who were going onto the track had to fill out a special form/release and get banded. I then parked and unload all my stuff (tools, jack and stands, water, oil, other fluids, etc.) on to a green tarp behind my car. I put my pre filled vehicle inspection form on the windshield and then went to the mandatory driver's meeting. There track officials explained the course rules, flags, and schedule.

We would split into 2 groups, group 1 was for novices, and group 2 was for intermediate/advanced drivers. Each group would get 6 Sessions of 20 minutes each, 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Passing was limited to the front and back straights in group 1. Group 2 could pass anywhere it was safe. Jim and Brad (from DEVEK) inspected the cars before they were allowed onto the track.

Before the first session, Chris Novak lead Group 2 out onto the track in a lead/follow. We were suppose to follow Chris for 3 laps to learn the proper line. Marc then lead the Group 1 for their 3 laps, while Group 2 cars lined up for their first run. I ran all three morning sessions with Group 2. The car ran well, but I was black flagged on the first session for excess smoke. I told the race officials that I had a small oil leak that dripped onto the exhaust pipe in fast left turns. They just wanted to make sure I was aware of the problem, and that I wasn't dumping oil on the track. So they let me continue.

The front straight

After the third session we had lunch (sandwiches, chips, soda). Afterwards, Tammy made a special announcement, it was Paul's birthday (19th?), and provided a cake. From 12:30 to 1:30 DEVEK provided scales to corner weigh anyone's car that wanted it. My car was measured at LF-1013, RF-941, LR-892, and RR-876 lbs, with me in the car (180 lbs), half a tank of gas, no spare tire or floor mats.

Turn 5

Turn 6

Jim in the White Car

After lunch I ran in the next two sessions. The car still ran well, but the handling started to get squirrelly. I asked around and Don Hanson suggested that the warmer road and less weight in the rear (less fuel) was probably the reason. My lap times climbed from 2:26-2:28 to 2:35-2:37 seconds. During the second session after lunch my fuel light went on, so I'd used about 18 gallons in 5 sessions. I went to get more gas, but the track pumps ran out after only 4 gallons. I ran the last session, and got into a very exciting dice with 2 other participants. This was the most fun run of the day.

Me in turn 13

After the last pictures were taken and good byes said, Dennis and I left the track and drove back to the Bay Area. It was a very memorable day. Thanks to the Marc and Susan of DEVEK for sponsoring the event. I hope they have more of them.

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Copyright 2000, George A Suennen
written: 12/05/00
rev: 12/06/00