• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am

Fine tune driving skills on race circuit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 February, 2010, 12:00am

A recent survey of drivers in Europe showed that not only did they overestimate their driving skills, but they were unwilling to accept even the most obvious errors as their fault.

It's sad to say, poor driving is all too prevalent on Hong Kong's roads. Bad lane discipline, reluctance to use indicators, speeding, inability to merge on motorways, and inattention to other vehicles and road conditions can been seen daily. While accident fatalities have dropped over the years, this can be attributed to the increased safety features of modern vehicles. The number of accidents has barely fallen during the same time, despite government road safety campaigns.

This shows the best way to improve safety on the roads is to improve driver skills. But finding the limits of your driving abilities, and the limits of a sports car, is foolhardy, dangerous and most likely illegal on public roads. To improve skills and road safety, the Porsche Sport Driving School was established in 1974. Since 2005, Porsche Centre Hong Kong has been organising beginner Precision and intermediate Performance courses at the Zhuhai International Circuit (ZIC).

Just north of Macau, ZIC was designed to be the mainland's first Grand Prix circuit, and hosts the Hong Kong Touring Car Championship, the Macau Touring Car Championship and the FIA GT Championship.

The two-day Precision course is a combination of driving theory and practice that enables participants to get the best out of their Porsches, finding the limits of both themselves and their cars.

With expert guidance from professional Porsche-trained racing drivers, skills such as precise steering, effective braking and cornering, correcting understeer and oversteer, understanding weight transfer dynamics and acceleration out of corners are monitored and corrected as needed.

Instructors assess individual driving styles and performance tailoring the course for individual needs. Despite the courses taking place on a racing circuit, this is not a racing school, and attention is paid to the potential dangers of everyday driving and taking the appropriate evasive action for given scenarios.

Successful completion of the Precision course is required to participate in the Performance course. The focus of the Performance course is the practical application of the theory with lots more time spent on the circuit. Apart from fine tuning braking, cornering and acceleration skills, one of the main focus points of the Performance course is lapping. While lapping may seem to be specific to racing, it involves acute awareness of other cars and their positions on the track, leading to safer overtaking on the road. As anyone who has ever driven at a racing circuit knows, the initial sensory overload of driving at high speed, while monitoring other track traffic, can be overwhelming, but practice makes perfect and the mind quickly adapts to the skills needed.

There are just two driving courses scheduled for this year - the Precision course in the first half of the year and the Performance in the second - and the courses are limited to 30 participants. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but will be in the region of HK$30,000 per person. The price includes processing documents for vehicles entering Zhuhai and returning to Hong Kong, two nights accommodation at the Holiday Inn Zhuhai, lunch and welcome dinner on the first day, and breakfasts, lunches and snacks on the second and third days. In order for the cross-border arrangements to be processed, membership of the Hong Kong Automobile Association is required, as is ownership of a Porsche. Applications for the Porsche Sports Driving School can be addressed to mabel.wong@porsche-hongkong.com and more details can be found at www.porsche.com.hk.

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