Hot Laps with Honda Canada

Professional Driver, Closed Course

Last Friday I got invited by Honda Canada to a parking lot behind the Pacific Coliseum to get some driving tips for driving a manual transmission. I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen but it sounded interesting and I haven’t driven a standard transmission in probably 20 years. I was helping a friend move from Seattle to Philadelphia and we were driving his Acura Integra, with a giant U Haul trailer attached, across the country. Unfortunately, I had never driven stick and it was a learn by doing trip. Needless to say, that trip was a lurch/stall fest and so the chance to learn how to properly drive standard was very appealing.

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I arrived during lunch and the first person I met at the lunch table was Daniel Morad. I would later find out that he would be my instructor and is the only Canadian in history to win the World Karting Association (WKA) Manufacturers Championship and recently signed on to Status GP running in the newly formed GP3 series, which is part of the global ladder system to Formula One.

Yeah, I was going to learn how to drive stick from a real race car driver!

The course

We were divided up based on our skill level and experience…I opted to be truthful and go to the newbie side and get the training as if I hadn’t driven before (which I pretty much hadn’t) and the other group did a different set of more advanced tips and tricks. I could hear that group from my part of the track and they seemed to squeal a lot of tires with lots of laughing while driving a more complex track.

The Cars

We were alternating between driving stock Honda Civic’s and Accord’s with manual transmissions.

The training was more fun and educational than I imagined…Daniel was extremely patient and offered plenty of tips to help me understand what the car was doing, what my hands and feet should be doing and how to pull it all together.

The Race Car Driver

After the training was completed, it was show off time. The course was reconfigured and then Daniel and the other instructor, Jeff Boyce, each got into a car and proceeded to do a ‘hot lap’:

Then, one at a time, everyone got to do a ride along as the drivers ran the course again. Each time, it got faster and faster as they got more comfortable with the course. I don’t think the videos convey the speed and regret not bringing my GoPro to the event, although I’m not sure it would convey it any better.

The giggling and laughter from me in the video should give you an idea of how much fun it was…even being a passenger. I joked that Playland should offer this experience as a ride…they’d have lineups around the block!

Huge thanks to Honda Canada and Daniel for a very fun Friday afternoon!

One Comment

  1. fotoeins says:

    In 1988, a friend and I set out from Vancouver to Ottawa for the summer. We split the driving, but the tricky part was that we had his 70s VW-Bug with manual transmission. High-gear wasn’t a problem, shifting “within the city” was a “problem”. I’m sure he’d bring it up here, too; I took a turn a little hard and I put the car about a quarter of the way into a shallow ditch. Fortunately, the car wasn’t in too far or deep, and we extracted the car just fine to be on our merry way. :)

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