If we make a bold statement, such as “wheel to wheel racing is college – training you for the real deal, and a lot of people hope they get a career in the industry”, then Mid-Ohio is the high school to like…early middle school of all of my local tracks (Gingerman, Grattan, and even Waterford Hills, which I’m sure some people will take objection to).

Mid-Ohio is just another level. It’s absolutely terrifying, more spacious than Gingerman, but more tight than Waterford in the turns – and way less forgiving.

Which is why I went all-out, renting a UHaul truck & full trailer; as well as packing every tool I could imagine.

Some online friends and I put in some serious work throughout the week practicing in Assetto Corsa, and even that barely prepared me.

I actually scrubbed the entire first session; it rained all night and a good chunk of the morning (until about 11AM or so), and as such, I knew the track would be awful.

So sure enough, on the outlap of the second session of the day, I did a full 360. Then on the very next lap hit standing water on top of the sealant (which is basically just black ice when wet) on the back straight, and slid with absolutely no braking control, four wheels off. Mid-Ohio is wild.

The last session of the morning, right before lunch, I did alone, and felt like a very small fish in a very scary pond. The Audi R8 that showed up to play made all the C7 Corvettes look like Miatas in comparison vis-à-vis horsepower and acceleration, as did the twin-turboed Nissan GTR. There were fourty other cars out there. I still felt like I was fighting the car to find grip, struggling to find a good, safe, consistent line, and all-in-all just riding white knuckled, which is not exactly the state of mind I want for a hobby.

I set a ~2:24, or almost a half-minute down from what I thought was my “ideal” based on Assetto Corsa.

Session “3” (four, but again, I skipped #1 entirely) went significantly better. Whilst, again, small fish big pond, I was playing lead-follow with a friend of mine, Chris Murray of Immortan Automotive (and an AutoInterests instructor to boot), while his girlfriend rode shotgun in my car just for fun; I was pleased with how in certain areas of the track I was able to keep up, and even more importantly, recognize where I could do things better and try those thoughts out on subsequent laps, instead of just praying that I don’t wad up the car lap-over-lap.

I set a ~2:14, instantly 10s/lap faster, due to confidence, changing conditions, the instruction/lead-follow, and overall just knowing what I, and the car, were doing a little better.

Session 4 (again, really 5) was the best yet, and a perfect note to end on. I got some nice open air with no traffic at some point in the session, and even when some very fast cars blew by me on the back-straight (like a Mustang GT350), I was pleased to note that thorugh the turns and the esses leading into another passing zone (Thunder Hill) they didn’t just disappear – I actually kept with them, if not gained.

I set a 2:12 right away, then followed it up with a 2:09:80 according to Harry’s Lap Timer & my Dual SkyPro 10Hz GPS. Again, not as good as the sim, but really quite pleasing.

I’m a big believer in ending on a positive note, and so rather than joining the open track free-for-all at the end of the day, I packed everything up, and trailered the Miata back home.

I think it’s hilarious that the one time I pack every single tool, and take extra care to trailer the Miata just in case something goes horribly wrong at a foreign track almost 3 hours from home…I never use a single tool, and I pull the track toy into my garage just fine at the end of it all.

YouTube: Session 1, GOPRO RECORDING
YouTube: Session 2, GOPRO RECORDING
YouTube: Session 3, GOPRO RECORDING
YouTube: Session 4, GOPRO RECORDING
Google Photos Album