The sun is in their eyes, their tires are shot, they both have passengers, and they’re running the last session of the day. The circumstances are perfect for Jeff Cook and his talented student, Mr. Yellow, to put in a few drifty laps in their lemon-lime pairing of 991 GT3 RS. Cook, a former formula car racer who helps his students find frightening pace around Northern California’s best tracks, shows how to go quickly around Sonoma Raceway.
Though they’re putting in scorching laps, they are not setting record times. The conditions are better for a little bit of sliding and some laughter in the cabin. They’re both able to dial in a little bit of oversteer through the 2.52-mile track, and still cut very quick laps. Cook hangs back a little and observes just where the their styles differ.
Their differences are incredibly subtle, but this footage demonstrates the significant effect minor changes can make. Cook, following in the green RS, tends to turn in a little earlier and use a more economical line. This is obvious in their approach to Turn 2 (5:49), where Cook sets up further to the left by compromising the line slightly through Turn 1 before. This keeps Cook from having to pinch off the subsequent right-hander as much, which means he isn’t oversteering through it like Mr. Yellow is.
We can see this early compromise again through the Turn 8 esses. By sacrificing a little speed through the left-handed portion of the esses and hugging the first apex for an additional two car lengths, he gives himself the chance to turn in slightly later and straighten the exit. Prioritizing the exit, especially in something with traction and power like the RS, is usually a good idea.
Other changes are almost indiscernible. Cook is more progressive when trail-braking into The Carousel (4:32), and Cook’s softer brake application into Turn 10 (3:27) help keep the platform stable. Some of it is trusting the way the car rotates at speed, but part of it is that delicate touch that only comes with years of experience. “You’ve got to be careful not to overdrive the car at higher speeds,” Cook warns.
Cook can roll more speed into some corners without overdriving the car, hone his line a bit in the more complicated sections, and get back to throttle just a fraction of a second earlier. Minute differences like these are hard to spot, let alone execute, but Cook’s decades of experience make these minor mistakes obvious.