Where the Streets Have No Name

The #12 #Ford #FordPerformance #  FiestaST

The #12 #Ford #FordPerformance #  FiestaST

As much as I am a novelist for cheating on NaNoWriMo, and had a college band because of MDF and the bass I bought 14 years ago, I am pretty much right there with Niki Lauda and Jackie Stewart now, as a master of the racetrack.

Why? Because I bought a Ford Fiesta. An ST, not my usual boring SE. Ford., in its wisdom thought, "let's send these ST people to a real track to learn a couple of things and not embarrass the brand." Six months later, I found myself at the Tooele, Utah home of the Ford Performance Racing School.

Proof of Track. You'll just have to trust that I was not the slowest guy on it.

Proof of Track. You'll just have to trust that I was not the slowest guy on it.

My invitation got me access to the ST Octane Academy. This meant a bit of oversteer/understeer/apex/safety stuff in the classroom and then off to the tracks. Track one was an actual functioning racetrack. We know it is real because its annual losses are in the low 7-figures. The Ford Performance RacingSchool may also lose money. I don't know, but between the class being free and the set of Michelins I killed (or at least flat-spotted) and the broken axle on a non-#12 Fiesta (not me) and the dead wipers on a Focus (also not me), there are a lot of sunk and ongoing costs to indulge a bounch of hooners like me every couple of days.

Anyway, part one was on the track: follow the leader, drive with and without a coach, and then hold on for dear life while an instructor shows you first hand what the car can REALLY do (basically, 109% faster and smoother than the students at their best).

The (my?) #12 Fiesta ST in the hot pits. Shoulda brought a GoPro or my camera crew for something more scintillating.

The (my?) #12 Fiesta ST in the hot pits. Shoulda brought a GoPro or my camera crew for something more scintillating.

In the afternoon, it was a nitro pill under the tongue (just in case) and then off to the autocross course.

This is again not me, because my parking box powerslides were MUCH faster, louder, smellier (from tire smoke) and stylishly asymmetric. Same with the Front 180. I was bored with the figure 8s. Two of these maneuvers were tied together with three different slaloms to make up the course. The parking box served as a 0-4 second time reduction, depending on how many wheels were not on fire and were also successfully stopped within the box. I didn't win with an adjusted 52.xxx time, but I was closer to the front than the back.

At the end of the day, I had a trophy, some STOA-exclusive new badges for my actual car. My race car for the day? Well, that was inexplicably taken out of the rotation for the remainder of the racing, once I finished my thrashing - I mean my timed run.

Sidelined. Please note: it is not presently on fire.

Sidelined. Please note: it is not presently on fire.