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Hendon Publishing

LEG Ride & Drive and EVOC Course

At each NAFA-LEG, the latest police package and special service package vehicles are available for a Ride & Drive. Sometimes, depending on nearby facilities, the driving portion is on a road racing course or superspeedway oval. Other times, the driving is more of a precision maneuvers course on a large parking lot.

This year, the LEG used a back lot at Universal Studios in Orlando for a tight and twisting, relatively low speed event. It was sort of like an emergency response in a densely crowded urban area, with driving lanes barely wider than the largest vehicle.

Here you go: accelerate hard from a stop in a straight line for about 75 yards, make a slight sweep to the right and brake hard from 40 mph for a full wheel lock, left hand, U-turn. Try to avoid the inevitable, extreme front tire scrub and stay off the gas.

Accelerate hard through (FWD) or out of (RWD) the U-turn for 25 yards where you have a choice of a left-right-left or right-left-right slalom to test for transitional handling, then accelerate to another tight U-turn.

Upon exiting the full lock U-turn, you have a full 75-yard straight run, braking carefully for a wide and sweeping right hand turn. Heavy braking here will make the back end very light. The end of the sweeping turn marks the end of the course.

Narrow driving lanes, laid out by pylons, severely restricted driver discretion, vehicle placement and set-up for the turns. As a result, there was no room whatsoever for any understeer or oversteer. This was, indeed, a precision driving course. In a FWD sedan, you had to learn to brake early and let the power pull you through the turn. On the sedans with less torque or slower throttle response for the rpm band of the turn, you had to get on the gas earlier than you think.

The police sedans, in the hands of smoothly aggressive drivers, complete the course in 25 seconds. That was on a dry course. Midway through the Ride & Drive, the entire course was drenched by a sudden downpour. And that gave everyone the chance to check out the advantages of certain drivetrain layouts and of the latest traction control technology.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jan/Feb 2002

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