Thursday, January 6, 2011

Track Day Driving Techniques

first off.. let me say that there were some technical issues.
they have been worked out.

... back to the good stuff...

Track Day Driving Techniques
With some practice on the track, or on the autocross course, or prefereably both, and some focused attention to your driving techniques while on the road, you should be getting a feeling for driving a high-performance automobile well. So, now we’ll start playing with your head a little more by adding some complications to the simple process of getting your car around the corners without fuss or muss.

Types of Corners

Let’s start with the fact that, once you get out of the artificial blocks of city streets, very few corners occur as neat 90-degree angles with the same width from curb to curb on the exit as on the entry. Curves can consist of long, gentle sweeps that allow high speeds but reward patience, tight turns that require heavy braking and a very slow entry to avoid running out of road, or combinations of the two that start out tight and then open into sweepers, or worst of all, corners that start out as fairly high-speed sweepers and then surprise you by tightening up. Add to that corners where the pavement slope helps your turn, or at the opposite extreme, seems to slope the wrong way especially just when you want to increase your speed, and you’ve got a fistful of new concepts to learn.
But don’t despair. The concepts you’ve already been working on mastering, including controlled weight transfer, slow-in and fast-out, braking and downshifting, selecting your turn-in point, apex, and exit, will continue to apply. The exceptions we’ve just mentioned, and will now discuss in more detail, are just actually just variations on what you’ve been doing.

Let’s start with the corner that is potentially the most fun, the long sweeper. The major difference between this and the basic corner we discussed in the last chapter is that you don’t have a specific apex point where you get off the brake and then roll hard on the throttle. Instead, after completing your braking and making your initial turn, you will find yourself holding the wheel at one angle for what seems like a long time.
The important aspect of this turn is that you are helping your car stay balanced by using the throttle. Instead of pushing hard as you unwind the steering wheel, you’ll hold the throttle at close to one point, and try to keep the car balanced from front to rear without accelerating or decelerating.
Actually there generally is an apex to this type of sweeping curve, but it is a long way after the turn-in point. You can tell when you’ve reached the actual apex, because you realize that the track or road is starting to straighten out. At that point, you can start to straighten out the wheel while beginning to press the throttle harder to start accelerating.
So the key thing to remember on a long sweeping curve is that there is a fourth segment: the period when you are balancing the car using the throttle, maintaining more or less the same speed as you come around the curve. One tip on these corners is to continue to look as far around the curve as possible. This will help you keep a continuous turning radius, and will also give you the opportunity to see when you can begin to straighten out the car.

stay tuned for more...

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