Esteemed and Kind Readers,
This post comes to you from balmy, beautiful Sydney, Australia. My mother is undergoing surgery, and I have travelled here to be with her during the next few weeks. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking and I cannot help but agree. Only a mother would want an obnoxious twit like me around when they are feeling under the weather. I write these words from the ICU waiting area, with the backbround soundtrack of cardiac monitors and the Aussie twang of the nursing staff.
I admit it. I owe you an apology. Mostly for my abysmal sense of humor, but also for not posting anything recently. I have, truly, been interrupted by a combination of puppy kisses, the Pacific Ocean, and feeling sandwiched. Metaphorically and literally: Middle seat. Fifteen hour flight. Hot flashes. ‘Nuff said.
Fortunately, in spite of my myriad shortcomings, the Gods do smile upon me in thousands of ways. Here is proof: My dear friend and driving coach Larry Schmidt had graciously accepted my invitation to write his experiences during the summer of 2014, when he traveled to Europe to witness the return of Porsche Motorsports competing in the 24 Hours of LeMans. Fortuitously, his completion of the four volume account coincided with my trip to Australia. He is a member of the Northern New Jersey Porsche Club of America. Larry happens to possess a gifted eye for the lens, and is married to a lovely and glamorous woman, Mary. This is a photo of Larry, his wife Mary and their beautiful daughter Susan (right to left.)
Larry and I met in September 2014. He is an outstanding instructor and a generous soul. Larry is the only instructor who made me laugh so hard on track that I almost had to pull into the pits to recover my composure. His enthusiasm, gentle humor, depth of experience, and positive un-pressured instructional style all combined to make the September 2014 HPDE an event that was pivotal in my development as a driver. When I asked Larry for background information to use as an introduction, he wrote back inimitable off-hand and self-deprecating manner:
“Not that much about my background that I didn’t tell you at VIR. My first DE was in 1998, three days after getting back from LeMans trip #1. I will reach day 200 on Jan 28 while at Sebring. I have been an instructor since 2003. At the peak, I did over 20 days in one year and now I am doing to about 10 days per year – going for quality tracks rather than quantity.”
So, with deep gratitude to Larry of Le Mans fame I bring you his story: Le Mans and Beyond, June 2014.