Sometimes it pays to "know a guy."
I know a guy who organizes occasional track days so he and his rowdy friends can spend a day thrashing their cars at extra-legal speeds.
I also know a guy who knows another guy at Cadillac who can hook me up with a car to take to said track. The hook up worked, and this past Sunday I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with a 2016 Cadillac ATS-V in western Michigan on Gingerman Raceway's 11-turn, 2.14-mile track.
All of the aforementioned guys shall remain nameless. They're my guys, after all. Get your own guys.
My test car was ideal: a coupe with the manual transmission, the Recaro bucket seats ($2,300), the Performance Data Recorder ($1,300), and assorted other items for a total price of $69,935. The car only had about 200 miles on the odometer when I took delivery, and I started my track shenanigans with about 600 miles on the clock. Automakers usually recommend taking it easy during the first 1000 miles, but this car received a rather harsh break-in period. I could smell the brakes after my first track session, and the pads left plenty of brake dust on the wheels, but otherwise, the car was no worse for wear at the end of the day.
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The goal of the day wasn't to race. It was to have fun with performance cars in a safe environment. The track was open to our group of ten from noon to 5:00 pm. Of course, that didn't mean five straight hours of track time. Few race cars can handle that type of beating. To preserve the ATS-V and make sure I would be able to drive it back home, I limited my track time to five sessions of roughly 15 minutes each, including a cool-down lap. Given that hour and 15 minutes of track driving and roughly 550 miles of highway driving, I really got to know the ATS-V. Below are a few of the things I learned.