The thing with going to the Balcony… is that it’s just the Balcony. You get a handful of turns to practice car control, and when you have it all figured out, you’re mentally done for the day. And this can happen as soon as… Ohh… lunch time, if you’re good enough. But the GREAT thing about going to the Balcony is that there are so few turns that it’s easy to practice there. You’ve got turn 1, 2, and 3 (just as an example). And because you’ve only got those turns, it’s easy to revisit them again and again while burning the corners and different techniques into your short-term memory.
But once you’ve done that and you’re content with your abilities, you quickly want something more — like tandems with friends or giving passengers ride-alongs. The BAD news is that Willow Springs doesn’t allow either during open testing days. You’ll get a lot of time to yourself — a whole lot. That’s about it. The GOOD news is that you can join a 3rd party event organizer’s Balcony day, and you might get lucky. People like Extreme Speed allow tandems, and Just Drift allows both tandems AND ride-alongs. And even though you’ll be sharing the Balcony with many more people, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll still get lots of time, and now you’ll have more people to share epic moments (and crashes >_>) with.
Regardless of all that, Li and I had a pretty fun time at this open testing session. Much drifting was had, some friends were made, and chuckles were had at some self-proclaimed masters of the road. Would I go back again? Maybe… but definitely not for any price higher than $80 (Willow Springs open track testing cost [$100 for the day + $50 yearly membership]).
A few things happened… First, I kept on bursting these intercooler hoses. I guess rubber really doesn’t cut it anymore at 17psi.
Thankfully, Li let me borrow his Mustang to go into town several times to get replacement hoses. They kept on exploding though. I think I went through about 3 of them until I decided to call it quits and use the last in-stock hose to drive home. (11/17/2015: I’m upgraded to reinforced silicon hoses now, and there are no more issues.)
But some real drifting fun at Willow Springs, it’s all about Horse Thief Mile… just sayin’.