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Old 05-04-2011, 01:51 PM   #16
Veloce Raptor
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How do the pros (or very fast/talented amateurs) learn new tracks so quickly?

I've spent a lot of time on technique and professional driving instruction, and my pure lap speeds are pretty good at tracks I'm familiar with. But when it comes to new tracks, I'm like rainman... and not in the good card counting way. Any tips/advice would be great! Thanks. :-)

-mike

Great question! I used to suck at this. Really suck. And then I got a lot better after I realized that most corners at most tracks aren't that different. Yeah, the scenery is different, elevation changes happen, etc. But in reality, if you focus on where the car's mass is in every transition, and try to reduce the drama of these transitions, you can figure new tracks faster. As long as you force yourself to look way ahead!

Others may have a totally different perspective.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:53 PM   #17
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Great Thread!
My question; When are you coming to Tremblant?
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:59 PM   #18
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Great Thread!
My question; When are you coming to Tremblant?
Thanks! Hahaha...I would LOVE to. Whenever someone askes me to! Wonderful place...

I received another PM question, a very apt one, will post it & respond a bit later today.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleadh View Post
How do the pros (or very fast/talented amateurs) learn new tracks so quickly?

I've spent a lot of time on technique and professional driving instruction, and my pure lap speeds are pretty good at tracks I'm familiar with. But when it comes to new tracks, I'm like rainman... and not in the good card counting way. Any tips/advice would be great! Thanks. :-)

-mike
One of the real pros I worked with (Euro sports car wins, some paid NASCAR starts, etc) shared his method...

Each corner has 4 reference points - Brake Point, Turn-In, Apex, Track-Out Point. BTW, Tommy Byrne (Many championships, some F1 starts and professional coach for many years) talks about the same thing as Tommy's Targets for a given corner.

I have used this concept, and while I lack the natural talent of the real pros, it worked very well for me in shortening the time to learn a new track.

Last edited by SundayDriver; 05-07-2011 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleadh View Post
How do the pros (or very fast/talented amateurs) learn new tracks so quickly?

I've spent a lot of time on technique and professional driving instruction, and my pure lap speeds are pretty good at tracks I'm familiar with. But when it comes to new tracks, I'm like rainman... and not in the good card counting way. Any tips/advice would be great! Thanks. :-)

-mike
I'm no coach, but I hope I am a good instructor and driver. One way I get better at both is to try new tracks.
One trick is to start late apexing, then work your way back toward the 'ideal') apex.
With early apex, you can run out of (track out) room; with late apex, you shouldn't. If you have too much room at track out, you can either go faster or apex earlier (or both) with some assurance that you won't run out of room.
Oh - and take it in small steps.
Hope this helps.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:38 PM   #21
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Since smoothness is the goal, what is your opinion of "sawing" at the steering wheel? I see a lot of pros doing this and it seems to be the opposite of smoothness.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:41 PM   #22
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Since smoothness is the goal, what is your opinion of "sawing" at the steering wheel? I see a lot of pros doing this and it seems to be the opposite of smoothness.
Here is an excerpt of something I wrote:

"What we really care about is not smooth inputs to the car, we care about smooth outputs. We care about the car being balanced. We care about doing things as quickly as possible, without upsetting the car and losing time on track."

Last edited by SundayDriver; 05-07-2011 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:54 PM   #23
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Here's a great example of what Sunday Driver is talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5djW...layer_embedded
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:14 PM   #24
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A great example of throttle steering in the sandy bits . S box would not be my choice of gear box in the sand
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayDriver View Post

What we really care about is not smooth inputs to the car, we care about smooth outputs. We care about the car being balanced. We care about doing things as quickly as possible, without upsetting the car and losing time on track.

Let’s start with steering. For the novice, small steering corrections are not needed as they are not driving at a speed where the car is near the limit of traction. As we approach the limits of grip, the tires slide, and not the same amount from moment to moment."
Now this makes sense. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:29 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Land Jet View Post
Since smoothness is the goal, what is your opinion of "sawing" at the steering wheel? I see a lot of pros doing this and it seems to be the opposite of smoothness.
You're right...but realize that usually the same videos shows the car is serene. the fastest drivers carry insane speed into a corner, make frequent corrections in a very small amount o frealestate in the area of the apex (some of the sawing you see), and then carry insane speed out.

Also had this question via PM:

"what kind of notes should a "student of the craft" be taking? I jot down tire temps and "condition", sway settings, notes on weather and track conditions, and what I think are the things I need to work on that weekend (as per the advice "go out with a plan"). I then jot down notes on each session; what I actually worked on, instructor comments (if I was lucky enough to snag one), what I noticed I was able to do or not do, and thoughts on how best to approach the task".

A couple of thoughts: experiment with starting tire pressures, and record the results. Get detailed with what the car is telling you, IE how the car is behaving as you get on th ebrakes, at corner entry, at midcorner, at apex, at track out, and at WOT. Do this for every corner at the track. It really helps detatch your conscious from the mechanics of driving (brake, turn in, apex, track out, etc.) which you probably do well anyway, and frees up brain cycles to really pay attention to all the small messages your car gives you every second on track, in order to mentally & physically be more ahead of the car.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:31 PM   #27
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I know a guy who lives here in Austin...half my age...and likely a better driver. He is so smooth, high HP or low HP. I watch his in car video, and there is very little drama, and the car just flows in all axes. He (and I) drive every car like a momentum car.

Dave, I live in Houston not Austin, I just have friends that live in Austin and visit from time to time. I'm also not half your age, I just look and act young. But thank you anyway.

Seriously, good idea, good thread.

And next time stay the weekend ! We keep missing each other because you come up for just the Friday and I the whole weekend.
Guess I will see you this coming weekend.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:33 PM   #28
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Hahahahahaaaa! You crack me up, man...

I couldn't stay for the NASA weekend. I had a family commitment on Saturday & was doing some tactical driving instruction on Sunday. I will see you this weekend, though.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:27 PM   #29
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Great idea for a thread!

A few times you've mentioned being "mentally & physically ahead of the car"... I wonder if you can elaborate on that - specifically techniques you use to do this.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:43 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayDriver View Post
out upsetting the car and losing time on track.

... As we approach the limits of grip, the tires slide, and not the same amount from moment to moment."
Thanks for positing this.
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