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Phil Goeckler and Raelyn Raver: Trust and Respect – and a Couple of Porsches – Do the Trick.

One couple finds that track driving improves relationships as well as lap times.

Drive Together, Thrive Together

“To be honest, if I didn’t have Raelyn out there, I wouldn’t be driving,” says Phil Goeckler, one of the driving enthusiasts who, with his partner (now wife) Raelyn Raver, can be seen plying Pacific Raceways on a regular basis. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’m seeing so many more couples out there these days.”

A longtime Porsche enthusiast – Phil did his first autocross in a 1974 Carrera which he still owns – Phil moved to Seattle and started at ProFormance around 15 years ago. But then, as friends got older and had kids, there was no one to hang out with at the track, so driving took a back seat to other activities.

Then Raelyn Raver came into the picture about seven years ago. Raelyn always loved driving and rode dirt bikes. Once Phil introduced her to the joys of vintage Porsches, she acquired her own Cayman and a new hobby.

Raelyn Raver in her Porsche
Raelyn at the wheel

A Couple Gets Up to Speed

Raelyn admits to some trepidation at first, but ProFormance made the lure of the track irresistible. Moreover, Phil had loads of driving experience to share.

Couples, however, are not always at their best when engaged in pursuits involving instruction: if you want to find out if two people are compatible, it’s said, have them go sailing together. But Phil and Raelyn found a way to make it work. “Phil has a different name when he’s in the passenger seat at the track,” she notes. “That’s because I have to disassociate him as my partner. He becomes George.” George, it turns out, is a phenomenal driver whose only goal is to put Raelyn at the top of her game.

Phil Goeckler and Raelyn Raver driving their Porsches
They do their best track work together

The dissociation trick worked. “I learned it quick,” Raelyn says. “When I was going into a turn and he gave me an instruction, I told him, ‘I don’t want to do that.’ But I realized I would never tell an instructor that; I’d put my trust in him.”

Raelyn is now a skilled performance driver in her own right, but like Phil, she prefers driving as a couple. “I like the dynamic when we go out on the track together.” She has her best lap times when she follows Phil. “If I can go into a brake zone at a certain speed, so can she,” says Phil, “because our cars are so similarly set up. There’s no reason not to, as long as you have confidence in yourself, and she does.”

As Goes the Driving, So Goes Life

When they’re not doing one of their 20 or so track days a year, they find that racing discipline enhances everyday life, bringing balance and a certain patience to their relationship. They both agree that driving teaches you to “hold your line, be courteous, be consistent, be considerate.”

Phil Goeckler in his Porsche
Phil Goeckler in his Porsche

“When things come up in our relationship, we can go back to our track rules: patience, respect, looking forward, not looking in the rearview mirror,” says Raelyn. “To be successful, it’s not about looking at the past; it’s about getting through your next turn in life.” The last turn they rounded was a significant one: they got married this month.

As usual, ProFormance and its people come in for high praise, as does the track atmosphere at large, which has opened up their social life. “It’s such a beautiful community,” Raelyn says. “Don and Donna changed my life for sure. They keep re-inventing ways to bring people together.” And also, perhaps, to keep them together and enjoying life on and off the raceway.

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