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Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

(193 posts)

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Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 10, 2014 12:03AM

I was thinking this could be a thread where racing tips, tricks and evaluations could be shared. Most of us at this level are going to some level of amateur and are going to have a lot of holes in our knowledge base. It will also provide a place to post video links to impressive racing feats that you've seen online.

If you have additional ideas or critiques, feel free to post away.


In my opinion this is a short list the most basic principles -

1 - Stay as calm as possible.
There's going to be a massive adrenaline dump ( competition heart rate for Cup drivers is ~150 bpm for +4 hours, F1 can be north of 170, amateur should certainly expect +120bpm especially if he's green ) and the only way to get used to dealing with that is ... by dealing with that. Hopefully, by being aware of what your body is doing you won't lose your mind quite so easily.

2 - Analyze everything.
Racing is a *decision making* process. Those who make *good* decisions will tend to outperform those who are simply aggressive. Aggression has a purpose, a time and a place but if it doesn't serve your ANALYSIS you're probably wasting time and damaging equipment for no good reason. I have walled people ... and I have refrained from walling people because it was the last lap, I was in the lead and I could dispose of the problem lap car *while retaining the lead*. Best revenge is the trophy, destroying their car is far and away the second choice. And besides, depending on the series, totaling a competitor out might get you suspended.

3 - Be smooth
Smooveness is very important. *ROLL* into the throttle when coming up on the straight. Try not to jump on the brake pedal during corner entry. Keep steering inputs as minimal as possible. Concentrating on smoothness will help with #1. Work on doing things smoothly THEN work on doing things quickly.

4 - Check instruments at least once per lap
Same place, every lap, usually on the long straight ( circle track would be on the back stretch, on the front you need to check the flag stand every lap ). You can check them more often but don't check them less often. It can be the difference between a short day at the races and a short day at the races PLUS an engine fire and a rod out the side of the block. The habit is key.

5 - Reserve grip / speed is a thing
IF you are behind a slower car THEN you are likely taking the corner at LESS than your max side loading. How can you redeploy this additional cornering capacity to your advantage? Can you run a wider line or a later apex? Do you actually need to back up from the car in front in order to get your max corner entry and apex speeds so you can use that to slingshot him on the straight?

6 - Maintain concentration
Some drivers, especially in long races, have real problems with zoning out. This was actually a problem Dario had and was why I expected him to fail at NASCAR. If you can't keep your eyes open for a 200 lap IndyCar race ... how the hell are you going to stay awake for the Coca-Cola 600 ( which as recently as 2005 went +5 hrs )?
[www.youtube.com]

7 - Be aware of the track, do NOT target fixate
This is not same thing as #6 although the results can be similar. Be aware of your rear view mirror, do NOT watch it. Be aware of the car in front of you, do NOT get hypnotized by his bumper. Try to be peripherally conscious of what is happening at the corner exit while you're still in the corner entrance. Many accidents can be avoided and many passing opportunities can be exploited if you make a point of trying to be aware of what's happening further ahead of you.

8 - Racing is Dangerous, a threat to life and limb
This is NOT a joke. As part of your pre-race entry you will sign a release. This release will inform you of the above, IT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION. Do you need to tell the woman in your life otherwise to get her to leave you alone? Fine. Do NOT lie to me or any other racer about how 'safe' it is. I've watched people get seriously burned, I was flagging the corner for the wreck that got the Elkhart Grand Prix shut down, in 2009 a nine year old boy lost all of his fingers at Palm Beach International in a go-kart, I was airlifted into Halifax Medical Center in 1998. Death and dismemberment happen at all levels of racing. You are not immortal or impervious.


Oh yeah, in caution situations it's a good idea to OFFSET one lane from the car in front of you. I've never seen a requirement for the field to single file, one lane, you just aren't allowed to PASS. That way even if the guy behind you goes space cadet and rear ends you, at least you're not getting submarined under the car in front of you. Offsetting also gives you MUCH better forward visibility so you can see the accordion coming and gives the guy behind you an extra ~20' of reaction time he wouldn't normally have.

Think of the "cars in a line" that seems to form every time the pace car comes out as the reflexive, unthinking and NON-RACING default habit that most people have. You don't want to have that habit.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2014 09:50PM by Todd McCreary.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4299 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Moderator
Date: February 10, 2014 12:34AM

Cool idea for a thread. Good first post.

re: #4, I'd suggest a counterpoint. "Don't overload the driver with data." I'm going to risk ruffling feathers by saying I think most racecars have too many instruments. Way too many. Especially for sprint races. Yes, it's good to know if your oil pressure is dropping each lap. Yes, having a big red idiot light for low oil pressure is a good idea. Maybe a glance at the tach can give a driver a good indication whether the latest technique adjustment worked or didn't. After that, instruments are a distraction. You'd be wise to put tape over them. If you see something you don't like on a gauge, you'll probably drive like crap for a lap or two while you fret about it. Fuel pressure gauges, voltage gauges, even coolant temp gauges... they might be useful for test and practice sessions, but a data acquisition system would be so very much better.


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

(193 posts)

Registered:
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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 10, 2014 12:59AM

1979 French Grand Prix
[www.youtube.com]

Here, we have Rene Arnoux providing another example of #6 while Gilles Villeneuve shows an excellent example of the proper deployment of aggression and the benefit of being willing and prepared to endure contact.

If you watch from the beginning, Gilles had gotten a good start and jumped the front row ( who were dealing with turbo lag for their launches ) into first place. Gilles then stretched out the lead quite considerably ( it appears at one point that his lead over Arnoux must be the entire front stretch ) until beyond the halfway point of the race. at this point the Ferrari tires started to go off ( his team mate Scheckter actually pitted for tires after falling to 8th ) and Jaboille passes for the lead.

Gilles is now hanging onto 2nd by his fingernails and Arnoux, clearly faster ( after the checker the announcer notes that Arnoux actually set a new lap record ), runs him down with 4 laps to go and passes for 2nd at the end of the long stretch on lap 78. Over the rest of the lap, Arnoux stretches out a nice lead ( it appears to be well over 6 car lengths ) ... and then goes to sleep coming back to the stripe for the start of lap 79.

This provides Gilles with the opportunity to provide us with one of the most spectacular examples of attacking racecraft that you will ever see.

Arnoux fails to carry his full speed down the front straight AND fails to defend the inside line approaching turn 1. This allows Gilles to take the inside line and force Arnoux into a position that offers possibilities ... but possibilites which Arnoux is afraid to take advantage of and he drops in behind Gilles. Because the end of the long straight is "the only passing opportunity".

Arnoux passively goes back to sleep for the rest of lap 79, which is not really a bad choice. Because he has one more shot at the turn 1 entry and is much faster than Gilles. If I would fault Gilles for anything, it would be that I believe that he could have defended the low, 'attacking' line entry into turn 1 because I just don't believe that Arnoux had the stones to carry off what we see happen next.

Arnoux makes his 'standard' out-braking manuever attack at the end of the long straight. And Gilles demonstrates the possibilites inherent in most S curve corners. IF you can hold position in the outside lane through the front half of the S THEN the vast majority of racers are going to lose their minds when they find the situation reversed in the back half of the S. Of course, Arnoux also gets the short end of the stick when contact gets made in turn 2 and he goes off track. Repeated contact and aggressive moves are made until Gilles firmly establishes 2nd once more ... and the race is over. Because Arnoux is not going to make those kinds of hyper aggressive, four wheel slide moves that Gilles is going to.


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 10, 2014 01:14AM

re: #4, I'd suggest a counterpoint. "Don't overload the driver with data." I'm going to risk ruffling feathers by saying I think most racecars have too many instruments.


I would agree that for most races, people don't need any more than oil pressure and water temp. Maybe a tach for a road course on the long straights. But if you're in the middle of a *RACE* and are busy looking at the tach so you can figure out when to shift? Yeah, you're doing it wrong. By the time you get to a race situation you should have the practice necessary to know BY EAR / butt dyno when you need to shift.

Further instrumentation can be useful for troubleshooting or problem analysis ( if oil TEMP is climbing faster than water temp you need to get off the track in a hurry because you might be losing a bearing, voltmeter will tell you that your misfire is because you're losing the battery or alt, etc ) but it doesn't do a lot for you unless you're in radio contact with a crew who can fix your problem the next time you come down pit lane.


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 10, 2014 01:29AM

1971 Saloon Car race at Crystal Palace

part 1
[www.youtube.com]

part 2
[www.youtube.com]

This is great fun, an example of American speed on the straights vs English handling in the corners. I won't say it's the cleanest thing I've ever seen but it's interesting to watch that 350 Camaro get hounded into driving off the track.


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 12, 2014 02:33AM

No one else has ever seen anything interesting along these lines?

Jackie Stewart gives Captain Slow some ( very ) basic advice about driving
[www.youtube.com]


Jackie breaks down cornering into 8 subsections ( I think the last time I heard the NASCAR boys discuss this in depth they considered 5 )
[www.youtube.com]



F1 champions debate some of the finer points of racing in traffic, Jackie vs Ayrton
[www.youtube.com]

I suspect that Ayrton missed a little of Jackie's point due to the language barrier as Jackie was trying to get him to compare his record vs historical F1 greats and Ayrton seems to have wanted to compare crashes with the rest of the field.


DiDueColpi
Fred Key
West coast - Canada
(1199 posts)

Registered:
05/14/2010 03:06AM

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What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?

authors avatar
Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: DiDueColpi
Date: February 12, 2014 12:28PM

I'm in on the minimal driver distractions.
Data acquisition is the best way to go.
The driver is there to drive the car. It's not their job to babysit the engine.
All of my cars have FBI (freakin big indicator)
There are no guages in the drivers direct line of sight.
The FBI is a converted shift light on the dash just within the drivers peripheral vision.
It goes green 500 rpm before redline, yellow if temp, oil pressure or voltage hit warning markers and red if a shut down is mandatory.
Most drivers like it some don't. But it lets you concentrate on driving.
And really after some seat time you know whether the car is healthy or not.

All hail the mighty "B" cam.

Fred



Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 13, 2014 01:00AM

About the Senna vs Jackie debate

Senna was correct in the greater strategic sense of points racing. Prost HAD to make up 10 points on Senna's lead over the last two races of the season. While Prost needed to win the race the one absolutely critical criteria was that he HAD to finish both races. Prost could only get 9 points in one race and in 1990 F1 only gave points to the top 6 finishers.

As such, it is then Prost's responsibility not to provide opportunities for other drivers to dive bomb him and it's also his responsibility to back out of dangerous situations IF he is aware of them. Of course, there was no way he could have seen in his mirror AND reacted to Senna making that attack. The answer is that Prost must defend the low line into the corner before Senna ever makes the attack. If Senna wants to attempt some crazy move where he slings his car from the inside to the outside and then attempts to turn back to the right ... that's just not going to work. If Prost defends the inside line and Senna just runs into him it will probably result in a points penalty and possibly a grid penalty in the last race. Once Prost had established the lead for corner entry, turn 1 was his to throw away. And he did.

I suspect Jackie was correct with regard to Ayrton's overall recklessness but I wasn't following F1 very closely so don't know much about that.

[en.wikipedia.org]


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 13, 2014 01:42AM

Pretty much the same situation as Senna / Prost, only in NASCAR. The Gordon / Johnson / Bowyer fiasco at Martinsville 2012
[www.youtube.com]

Gordon allowed this wreck to happen.

1 - Gordon failed to properly assess threats. Johnson is his team mate and, while sometimes aggressive on taking the win away from team mates can be trusted not to take them out. Bowyer tends to lose his mind at the end of races when he's in the top 5. Johnson is also in the much slower lane and has no physical way to get to the bottom of the track.

2 - Gordon is pacing the field, he *permitted* Bowyer to gap back from him coming to turn 4. This gap ( + new tires ) permits Bowyer to jump Gordon on the start. It's Gordon's responsibility to recognize what Bowyer is doing and either back up to him OR start rolling into the throttle and jumping the start 'early' himself. He does neither. He even allows Johnson to hang back from him.

3 - Gordon could still have prevented all of this, even failing at 1 & 2, if only he had defended the bottom line for corner entry. Instead he stayed out looking for the wide entry to the corner and put himself hugely at risk because he KNEW that the second row both had fresh tires vs his old. Knowing that he and Johnson were both on old tires vs new AND being team mates, they should have coordinated between crews that they were both going to defend low on the restart.

4 - Bowyer, I believe, could have made this corner. Only he was unprepared for the contact which he should have known was guaranteed to be coming. I would actually suggest a slight swerve to the right just before Gordon hits him and then back into the corner just as contact is made. This would hopefully get the cars separated and allow Bowyer to manuever the corner fairly cleanly. There's no way Gordon can get through this because he's got Johnson in his right rear and he can't get off of him.



Morals of the story:
Try to figure out who the squirrels in field are and take extra prophylactic measures against them.

As leader, you are responsible for bringing the field to the restart. Learn how to do it.


DiDueColpi
Fred Key
West coast - Canada
(1199 posts)

Registered:
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What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?

authors avatar
Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: DiDueColpi
Date: February 13, 2014 03:55AM

Todd I agree completely with the post game analysis of the races.
And the strategies are spot on. But really, unless you are an upper echelon racer, is any of that going through your head?
And even if it is, your job is to drive the car. Position and strategy is someone else's responsibility.
You just push pedals and turn the wheel.
For us lower tier racers we worry more about getting an extra lap out of a set of tires before the wife starts screaming bloody murder.
And yes at any level, keep the weasels out of your ass!

All hail the mighty "B" cam

Fred


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Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4299 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

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71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Moderator
Date: February 13, 2014 10:30AM

Personaly, I enjoy reading all this stuff even though as a driver I only do very occasional "track days". I don't have any aspiration to drive like Villeneuve or Prost.

Thing is... I'd really like to see more RACERS discover this forum and get active on it! I don't see any reason this forum shouldn't become popular with the Vintage Racer guys. Our message board software is relatively easy to use, and the BritishRacecar articles should serve as both a handy reference and a magnet. In the other ("BritishV8") sub-forums we discuss technical issues that are frequently relevant to maintaining and tuning racecars too. So, I think this thread might be a VERY positive step in the right direction. The real key to forum success is to hit "critical mass". People will post a question or comment if they think it will get a response. Once they've gotten useful information or entertainment, they'll likely come back. Until there's a steady level of use, potential users are more likely to surf away and post somewhere else.

Nicki Lauda wrote a book on driving, and then lamented that people wanted him to discuss the "racing line". He basically said, "if you don't know, I can't tell you". (He explained that on a Grand Prix circuit, everyone drives the same line. If they leave it, they're on the marbles. He downplayed the rest.) I don't think there's much doubt that Lauda excelled in setting up suspensions (plus wings, tires, etc.) of his respective cars. Race after race, his cars were dialed in. If I could nudge this thread (or start another), it would be toward practical advice for improving car set-up. If you want to look to the real masters, what can we learn from them about set-up?


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 13, 2014 01:29PM

DiDueColpi Date: February 13, 2014 03:55AM
But really, unless you are an upper echelon racer, is any of that going through your head?
For us lower tier racers



a - I never have been an 'upper echelon racer'. Most advanced thing I ever raced was a mini-stock ( 4cyl ) oval track car. If someone with more experience, greater accomplishments or better analysis has something to say, I'm all ears.


b - This stuff CAN be used at any level. Do you need seat time? Absolutely. The race slows down a LOT after you get a couple of competitions in. Once you start getting acclimated to the environment you can start working on some of these other things. That's one of the great things about circle track, in season you're competing on a weekly basis.

The reason why I'm pointing these out is so you'll have some awareness of things to look for. It will really ramp up the slope on your learning curve, even if you just see something happen and can then think back and integrate that into something you've seen talked about earlier.

Book learning about boxing theory is nice but there ain't no substitute for having somebody punch you in the nose to help you figure out what the fight game is really all about.



DiDueColpi Date: February 13, 2014 03:55AM
Position and strategy is someone else's responsibility.
You just push pedals and turn the wheel.


No. That's absolutely the responsibility of the *racer*. If you're just holding the wheel? Please, keep an eye on your rear view and make a lane when you see a faster car coming. Because I can dump you pretty easily if it comes to that ... [ grin ]

If you're faster than me? You'll probably never see me.



Curtis Jacobson
(He explained that on a Grand Prix circuit, everyone drives the same line. If they leave it, they're on the marbles.


This changes depending on the year of competition, tire compound, laps into the race, etc. In some situations it actually is true. OTOH, that turn 1 move Gilles made on Arnoux was the very definition of 'impossible racing line' and at the very end of the race with maximum 'clag' accumulation.

Also, with respect to marbles, you can widen the racing groove all by yourself simply by making a point to run the corners a bit wide in the earlier laps of the race. This has the effect of sweeping the marbles up the track.

In my experience, it's far more often true that people are afraid to step out into the upper groove than that there is no speed in the upper groove.

Also, if you don't push your car into a four wheel drift at least once in a race weekend you've got a LOT of speed left in the car that you aren't getting too. For one thing, how can you figure out if the car is tight or loose if you don't push it that far? You can't even make suspension adjustments if you don't push the car to the point where you're sliding.


Preform Resources
Dave Craddock
Redford,Michigan
(349 posts)

Registered:
12/20/2008 05:46PM

Main British Car:
72 MGB V6 3.4

Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Preform Resources
Date: February 14, 2014 05:59AM

As an old driving school instructer told my group " if the guy in front of you is taking the classic line ,then you will have to do something different" lol
Dave


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 18, 2014 12:11AM

Irish Touring Car looks to have the same mentality as the British Touring Car Championship series. Rougher than a corn cob in an outhouse. Seriously, get on youtube and look up BTCC races. They beat the living snot out of each other, which is hilarious to see from road racers. You just don't get that kind of thing from the SCCA.

Anyhoo, here's a couple of instructive ITCC races.

Notice the jump on the start that the black and pink car gets, I think he probably knows what he's doing.
I think it likely that yellow square with black X denotes a rookie, NASCAR uses a yellow stripe.

[www.youtube.com]

Around the 4m mark, Murtaugh starts to lose his cool. You'll notice he's overdriving the corners, shorting the apexes onto the dirt and pushing way too wide on the exit. This is actually costing him time and, more importantly, getting dirt on his tires. At 4:07, he overcharges the corner and has to lock up the brakes at the end of the straight. He saw the corner coming, he knew he wasn't close enough to get position on the blue car, CALM DOWN.

By 6m in, Anthony has calmed down a bunch and is getting much cleaner.

Around 7m in, he's starting to late apex and trying to time the corners. He then makes a pass through the esses at the end of the straight but I think the Honda actually screwed up. You notice that the blue car in front walks away from both of them at this time. Murtaugh makes it through pretty cleanly.

I figure at this point the red mist had kind of set in for the rookie ( who had been roughed up by the blue car earlier ) in the ( rental? ) white car and Murtaugh gets tagged at corner entry coming to the straight and then hooked on the straight ... and that's the end of his day.

Hey, it's racing. Sometimes things happen in a hurry.



[www.youtube.com]

This is a very short clip, demonstrating the dangers of not respecting your fellow racers.

You notice that the #8 is running very wide coming to the corner, allowing plenty of room for the camera car. The problem is that the driver of the camera car shorts the corner. Because of that, he hits the curb. Because of that, his car jumps ~3' to the left of where he should be in the corner. Because of that ... he whacks the #8 pretty hard in the RR.

Now, it's possible that getting hit in the LR was just the #8 trying to catch his own car. But I doubt it. I think it was payback. #8 was probably sitting there thinking, "I gave this bitch all the room in the world and he still beat the hell out of my car. Well, we'll see about that."

A little twitch to the right and he's fixed that problem right up.

The first rule of roughing someone up is, don't let them get back too you. If they can get back to your car by entry to the next corner? You're probably going to pay. And you shouldn't be f'ing with them that hard if you aren't actually faster than they are.


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 18, 2014 08:44PM

Your goal in racing should be to have 1/4 of the fun that Bill Caswell had.

[jalopnik.com]



Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: February 28, 2014 10:02PM

This is an F1 documentary released in 1975 and narrated by Stacey Keach. It's European and features footage from topless beaches in pt 1 and a VERY hard to watch death in pt 2 approx 30 minutes in. As such, it's Not Work Safe viewing. It does have numerous good points being made about the mentality of the racing driver.

Pay attention to the drivers being interviewed. Many of them died before this movie was released.

***NSFW***


Champions Forever: The Formula One Drivers

part 1
[www.youtube.com]

part 2
[www.youtube.com]



***NSFW***


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: March 15, 2014 12:00AM

Here's another Jackie Stewart retrospective. This has a nice practice methodology starting at 18 minutes in which demonstrates what I was talking about when I said "smooth THEN fast".

www.youtube.com/watch?v=M09A3Iu-qfk

[www.youtube.com]

Martin makes a comment about this method at 19:14. Think about that and tell me WHY you think this is working. There's also an aspect of this which is excellent for competition racing which I don't see anybody talking about.

Notice also that Jackie's method doesn't directly teach you anything about 'apexing the corner' or 'proper line' or any of that.

I'll give you a hint as to why smoothness is so critical: your tires.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4299 posts)

Registered:
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71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Moderator
Date: March 15, 2014 12:32PM

I like that rig. Dead simple. A "G-Analyst" does the same job better, but isn't nearly as photogenic.

quote: "Think about that and tell me WHY you think this is working."

Things naturally smooth out when you keep eyes focused further away.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5261 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

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1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: March 15, 2014 12:56PM

Well I think it's all about the contact patch really. That's all you've got to do everything you want the car to do, four little spots on the pavement. And anything you do is going to affect those spots, most of which makes them smaller, discounting aerodynamics of course. Under almost all conditions you are shifting traction from one patch to another and it's a sort of dynamic dance you're doing there, and trying while you're at it to get the most contact from the patches that can best push you in the direction that you want to go. It doesn't much matter whether it's forward, back, left or right the forces are much the same and most times a combination of two plus up or down. And while it's quite complex if you're thinking about it, when you're doing it it's much more a matter of feeling the forces, feeling the contact, and balancing out those forces to keep the tire right at the edge of adhesion all the time. You would think that being 2 wheel drive complicates things but think of it as a dance and it gets easier. You can leap forward on your two legs much easier than you can back up but too much of an angle and your feet will slip. Same thing here, it all balances out. Once you know where your limits are all the way around the circle you can ride that line, provided of course you have enough power and brakes to get to the front and the rear of it. In other words, if you gave Jackie's bowl steeper sides to match the car's abilities you'd want to be right up at the rim all the time. But if you were, anything erratic (with the exception of straight line braking and acceleration) would have you chasing oranges. In short, you overload the contact patches. You watch those old movies, and you see the back tires hanging out quite often, but by doing that you know just where that hairy edge lies and just how far over it you can go. The road surface itself naturally plays a part. This is why I never was really comfortable with the idea of running over the rumble strips on the inside of a turn. Yes the inside tires have very little traction, but I simply have a hard time believing that giving up what little is there and upsetting the rest of the car is faster. Acceleration and engine braking can have a dramatic impact, even more so than using the brakes, because in addition to side loading you're trying to spin the tires. If you are right up on that circle coming through the corner and you mat the loud pedal that force adds to the side loading and the tires will slip and put you sideways and this was always my complaint with turbos because they were just unpredictable enough to make riding that line uncertain. Less of a problem on a closed course where you can practice your exit points. Likewise engine braking has the same effect. It can be used to good effect in a hairpin though and dramatically cut the transition time to rotate the car if you have the balls to put it into a half spin and recover smoothly but on race tires where the speeds are up there the amount of time to be gained by this maneuver steadily decreases to the point where the advantage is lost.

This is one reason I so fell in love with the MGB to start with, it was simply a joy to drive at the limits and very forgiving of mistakes, making that hairy edge at the limits very wide indeed compared to a lot of cars. Because of that it's a tremendously fun car to drive at it's limits and beyond. As you make it faster you often give some of that up, but it's still tremendously fun at the limits, especially with more power and better brakes. However, you can easily get by with testing the limits of a stock MGB on a quiet country road with no traffic but as it is improved it doesn't take long before a race track is really the only place for that sort of behavior because the speeds go up so dramatically. 20 mph around a hairpin while sliding is one thing but doing the same at 50 or more is quite another, and though race tracks have their hazards they are overall much more predictable. And repeatable. And safer.

As far as choosing the apex, if you're clear of traffic why wouldn't you use the whole track provided you didn't have to jog all over the place to get there, but otherwise I've always felt there were at least two lines through any corner and maybe more. The one to pick seems to depend on the tactical advantage.

Jim


Todd McCreary
Todd McCreary

(193 posts)

Registered:
03/16/2012 10:57PM

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Re: Racing, Ars et Praxis
Posted by: Todd McCreary
Date: March 16, 2014 07:25PM

Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Things naturally smooth out when you keep eyes focused further away.



No. Well, at least not primarily, you should always practice looking WHERE you want to go. But that's something you should be doing whether you're riding a motorcycle or hang gliding or racing or skateboarding.

Martin changed his primary focus FROM the orange TO the corner rather than the other way around as he had been doing. Once he did this he was practicing splitting his attention as I was talking about in #7. Focusing on the orange to any significant extent at all is actually a mistake as the orange is a *lagging* indicator.

By the time you start sawing on the wheel or stabbing the throttle to keep the orange in the bowl you have already completely fubared the corner.

But the technique of splitting your attention is critical when running traffic two or three cars deep so I like this practice method for reasons far beyond what they were talking about in the video.



BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
Well I think it's all about the contact patch really.


True. But it goes beyond that.

Go out to the car you drive on the street and stand next to one of the front tires. Put your hand on the fender. Give the car a shove.

Notice how the suspension starts moving? If you pay close attention you'll probably see the tire *sidewall* flex the first cycle or two.

How much does your car weigh? +3000lbs?

How much do you weigh? 200 lbs? And you can induce movement in the suspension this easily.


Now, consider this: when you go flying into a corner at high speed AND YOU ARE NOT SMOOTH you are hammering the suspension WITH THE ENTIRE WEIGHT OF THE CAR. You're deforming the contact patch that Jim was talking about, you're wriggling the car around on the sidewalls but you're ALSO inducing transitional force cycles in the suspension.

To whit: the car is rocking back and forth.

IF you are smooth THEN you will significantly raise your max corner speed simply because you're not going to have these induced load spikes transitioning from contact patch to contact patch until your shocks get them damped out.

Martin claims to have been to many track days before this show and he still dropped THREE SECONDS off of his lap times. That's a HUGE improvement. He was able to do this because he was no longer inducing load spikes.

There's other ways of doing this as well. A trick my father taught me ( one of the few ) for Orlando Speedworld is that there is a small ridge in the track as you arc into turn 3.

The proper way to drive this is to begin your arc into the corner slightly early, STRAIGHTEN your front tires just as you hit the ridge, wait for the car to 'land' and then arc back into the corner.

The object is to not 'land' the front end with steering angle on the contact patches because that's just going to slide the tires.

The ridge isn't actually large enough to get air but you can certainly feel it from the drivers seat.



BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
if you gave Jackie's bowl steeper sides to match the car's abilities


I'm pretty sure that Mercedes could corner WAY above the g-forces that bowl it was equipped with would keep the orange contained. Also, if you get the sides of the bowl too high you're not going to be able to see the ball. And the whole contraption is going to interfere with your sight lines when turning to the right no matter how short it is.

Which is probably why it's never really caught on as an instructional tool.




BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
if you're clear of traffic why wouldn't you use the whole track


a - most applicable to you, is setting up for the next corner
b - rough patches of pavement ( the 'racing line' obviously sees a lot more use than the rest of the track and is often patched or rippled )
c - water / rain ( top of the track will usually dry first, it will always have less water during a storm )
d - bowl shaped corners where there is significantly more bank angle at the top ( often seen at high bank circle tracks, such as Darlington or Winchester IN, where the race line is actually up against the wall )
[www.youtube.com]
e - elevation changes

for a few reasons.



BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
This is why I never was really comfortable with the idea of running over the rumble strips on the inside of a turn. Yes the inside tires have very little traction, but I simply have a hard time believing that giving up what little is there and upsetting the rest of the car is faster.



It's faster because you're straightening the corner out. You're trading less grip for a shorter distance AND a much shallower arc. Yes, I know I just got done yelling at you to be smooth so you wouldn't upset the suspension. < grin > IF you can be smooth THEN you can always choose to *not* be smooth if the situation warrants it. If you don't have the skill set to be smooth ....

This will, of course, depend on the corner and the track as to whether or not you want to do this. It's also much easier on the car ... meaning less breakage over time ... if you don't short the corner.
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