Bridgestone Malaysia recently organized the Bridgestone Potenza Driving Lesson (PDL) for the lucky customers who bought the new RE003 tyres and for selected members of the media. The Bridgestone PDL was retracted from Bridgestone Malaysia’s calendar since 2012.
A total of 29 participants was present, out of which 20 were the lucky customers and the remaining being those from the media. Four groups were formed, and each group had their own instructor. We started our course after breakfast and a quick drivers’ briefing.
For the first part of the Bridgestone PDL, I was introduced threshold braking with Razman as the driving instructor. Here, we were required to accelerate the car up to about 65 km/h and press the brakes as firmly as possible, stopping the car in the designated spot without the ABS system kicking in. Sounds easy, but with a slightly sandy surface, it was observed that not many drivers can manage to do so easily. The technique, while sounding easy, was much harder to execute. As mentioned by Razman, we had to floor the brakes hard, but not too sudden, as that will trigger the ABS system. The key is to press the brakes down firmly at first, then let go of the brake pedal slightly. If jamming the brakes is your thing, read on to the next part of the course…
Moving onto the second part of the course we have avoidance braking. Fadzil Alang explained that for this section, participants had to floor the brakes when he gives the signal, and avoid hitting any cones while doing an emergency maneuver. Here, I got behind the wheel of a Proton Preve 1.6 IAFM equipped with a CVT. Acceleration is lethargic at best, but brakes are strong. Upon Fadzil’s signal, I stomped on the brakes hard and maneuvered the car away from the cones. According to Fadzil, a lot of drivers focus on the cones instead of the escape route, which results in them knocking down cones instead. Here, the driver needs to let the ABS system do its work, while the driver should just focus on maneuvering the car. Speaking of maneuvers, let’s see the third section of the Bridgestone PDL, where we would need to learn cornering lines..
In the third part, we were taught how to take corners. Driving instructor Suhaimi demonstrated on the track how to take the corners properly, yet some participants missed and overshot some turns. While the corners may seem challenging, it is actually possible to modulate the throttle and steering, without using the brakes for most part of the course. The tip here is to enter the corner slowly, and exit quickly, hence the term “slow in fast out”.
The last lesson was the slalom course. Famed racing driver Admi Shahrul was the instructor for the slalom course. The biggest mistake nearly everyone made was the steering work, as many participants had their hands crossed over the steering wheel during a full lock turn with too much force. In the slalom course, my steering work was far from the cleanest, but with Admi’s guidance, my steering work improved. No longer was my steering jerky and too sudden, with the correct technique, everything flows smoothly.
After a quick lunch, we headed back to the open carpark, which has now been modified to feature a time attack-styled course. Participants were required to negotiate through a series of cones, complete a figure of 8 and repeat the course on the other end of the track. Penalties were handed out to those who stopped outside the box, or knocked any cones down. It was very entertaining to see participants giving it their all, with some taking the calmer approach, while other was very aggressive. Needless to say, those who did their run aggressively ended up with massive understeer which slowed them down. I had Gerard from Carlist.my as my opponent, and both of us finished the course almost at the same time, but with no lap times given. Bummer.
“The Potenza Driving Lesson was first introduced in Japan in 1985. As an industry leader that has been actively involved in improving road safety, Bridgestone felt the need to introduce the Potenza Driving Lesson in Malaysia to address the associated issues brought about by the increase in vehicle ownership and reckless driving behaviour in recent years,” shared Bridgestone Tyres Sales (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.’s Managing Director, Mr. Jo Takekawa. “In line with our corporate philosophy of Serving Society with Superior Quality, Bridgestone aspires to offer the best products and services to our customers and to society, while improving the safety and lives of our local communities.”
After all the participants had their go, Tengku Djan also had a go at the time attack. Watch the video below as he completed his run beautifully.
We would like to extend our appreciation to Bridgestone Malaysia for organizing this event for the customers and members of the media, and we are certainly looking forward to future driving courses!
Bridgestone Potenze Driving Lesson 2015 photo gallery