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Speed Secrets

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Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:12 pm

Disclaimer: This is not my original work, it's a Word document written in 2004 by someone with the first name, Humphrey. The title is "Speed Secrets" and I received this file from my driving instructor after my first track day at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway.

I found this on my computer (I've had a few hard drives get zapped; I forgot I had this file) and wanted to share with the racing community.

  1. The less you do with the controls, the less chance of error.
  2. The slower you move, the faster the car moves.
  3. Squeeze the brake pedal on, and ease off.
  4. The throttle is not an on-off switch.
  5. The less you turn the steering wheel, the faster you will go.
  6. Keep steering movement to a minimum.
  7. Check your mirrors as often as it takes to always know where everyone else is around you.
  8. A shift should be made gently and with finesse.
  9. Brake first -- then downshift.
  10. You will never win a race without understanding how tires work.
  11. Drive at the lowest possible slip angle that maintains maximum traction.
  12. Smooth is fast.
  13. Build up the tire's cornering force slowly.
  14. Overlap your braking, cornering, and acceleration forces.
  15. Races are won on the straightaway, not in the corners.
  16. It is better to go into a corner slow and come out fast, rather than vice versa.
  17. The more time you spend with the front wheels pointed straight ahead -- or near straight -- and the throttle to the floor, the faster you will be.
  18. The less time spent braking, the faster you will be.
  19. Before you can win, you have to learn where to go fast.
  20. The most important corner is the fastest one leading onto a straightaway.
  21. Look for and drive the grippiest pavement.
  22. If the car feels like it is on rails, you are probably driving too slow.
  23. When passing, always "present" yourself.
  24. Focus on your own performance rather than on competition.
  25. Focus your eyes where you want to go, not where you don't want to go or where you are.
  26. Look -- and think -- as far ahead as possible.
  27. Your right foot should either be on the brakes, squeezing the throttle down, or flat on the floor.
  28. Practice how you plan to race, and then you'll race as you practiced.
  29. Practice doesn't make perfect; only perfect practice makes perfect.
  30. Races are not won in the first corner; however, they are often lost there.
  31. Most races are decided in the last 10 percent of the race.
  32. You have to be close to take advantage of luck.
  33. Given equal cars and equal talent, the driver who is in the best physical condition is going to win.
  34. If you can't afford good safety equipment, you can't afford to go racing.

And I will amend some guidelines not on the original document:

  1. "Slow the car with brakes, not with the transmission." Brake pads are designed to wear out and be easily replaced. Slowing the car by using the transmission is hard on its internal components and hard on the engine.
  2. "Avoid unnecessary shifts." If you downshift 3 gears for a particular corner, remember that you will upshift those same 3 gears on a straight. If you only downshift 2 gears for that same corner, you save yourself 2 shifts, the downshift entering and the ensuing upshift upon exit. Multiply those shifts over x-number of corners on the track and x-number of laps around the course and that's where you may start to shave seconds off your time. Here also, knowing your car's power curves is key. Can you lug the engine in 3rd through the corner to save dropping to 2nd and shifting back into 3rd?

Also adding advice Sir. Jackie Stewart had for James May at Oulton Park when Sir. Jackie improved upon "Captain Slow's" driving:

  1. The exit of the corner is far more important than the entry of the corner, with regards to smoothness.
  2. Never press the gas pedal, until you know you never have to take it off. [Until the next braking zone that is]

And one final addition I have heard a few radio/television announcers say:

  1. "Sometimes in order to go faster, you've got to go slower." Don't equate using the brakes to a slower lap time. There are sections in most every race track where you must go through slowly.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  TuxTshirt on Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:28 pm

I just noticed this. That list at the top of the post was in a book called "Speed Secrets" by Ross Bentley.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:25 am

Racers, heed T.K's messages.

Braking:

Line Technique:

Racecraft:

The above videos stem from this page and there are more. All videos courtesy (and posted by) YouTube user mbusa.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  TuxTshirt on Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:28 am

Great find Avanti! Whether or not anyone already knew this, it's really great to hear from a professional, champion driver. He can explain that better than I can think it.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Smus on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:06 am

Very Informative.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Ex US Squid on Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:16 am

TuxTshirt wrote:He can explain that better than I can think it.

Oh stop it! Youre always selling yourself so short... Youre very cute, you have a very nice face.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:27 pm

In light of recent race events I want to take some time and reiterate points from above; it seems to me people haven't read them or have forgotten. All of these points and more are in this thread's initial post. These especially I wish to highlight.

  • The throttle is not an on-off switch.
  • Check your mirrors as often as it takes to always know where everyone else is around you.
  • Build up the tire's cornering force slowly.
  • Overlap your braking, cornering, and acceleration forces.
  • Races are won on the straightaway, not in the corners.
  • It is better to go into a corner slow and come out fast, rather than vice versa.
  • Before you can win, you have to learn where to go fast.
  • When passing, always "present" yourself.
  • Focus on your own performance rather than on competition. Listen to TK speak about out-racing yourself.
  • Focus your eyes where you want to go, not where you don't want to go or where you are. TK talks about eyes up and connecting the dots.
  • Look -- and think -- as far ahead as possible. You won't necessarily have an opportunity to make a move everywhere. Pick your battles.
  • Races are not won in the first corner; however, they are often lost there.
  • Most races are decided in the last 10 percent of the race.
  • You have to be close to take advantage of luck.
  • The exit of the corner is far more important than the entry of the corner, with regards to smoothness.
  • Never press the gas pedal, until you know you never have to take it off. [Until the next braking zone that is.]
  • "Sometimes in order to go faster, you've got to go slower." Don't equate using the brakes to a slower lap time. There are sections in most every race track where you must go through slowly. Listen to TK explain that the fastest racers are the ones whom have mastered the brake box.
This is how a race weekend would happen if humans were a lot closer to perfect:
Test & tune, practice, and open sessions would take place two days and the day before the event. Qualifying would take place on the day before, or earlier the day of the event with the field being arranged top to bottom. The race would take place and everyone would finish in the same position in which they qualified. Fans leave and the teams pack up to go to the next stop.

Did you catch that? There would be no passing. Every 'near perfect' racer would stay on their line. Competitors would be nose to tail or strung out (depending upon time variation between competitors) and attending a race would be no more exciting than watching a colorful rolling advertisement snake work its way along the asphalt. How boring is that? Luckily we are humans! We make mistakes! We go to the throttle too soon and smoke tires. We brake a little too late and open a door for a trailing driver. We take an early apex when we should have taken a late apex. Opportunities show up on their own / Don't force the issue.

Classes being equal, executing a pass in a race is more often the trailing driver taking advantage of a mistake made by a driver ahead. Relax! Let the race come to you! Have patience! Chances are the person you're trailing will screw up somewhere. What if they don't? Well they deserve a tip of your cap and a congratulations as they were tuned in and did a lot correct.

If you're in second place, be okay with finishing in second place. If you're in (fourth, thirtieth, fifty-first, … place) be at peace with finishing there. Look at every position gained as a bonus.

Since two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, passing through your competitor is not an option. Cars are not airplanes so passing over or under your competitor are also not options so two sides are all which remain. If we cut the track into thirds
(left | opponent's car | right) and the driver is a master at taking away his location plus one of the side options, now we're down to one side to pass. Since space and time are correlated, if you're the trailing driver you must pay close attention and jump at the correct opportunity. Don't jump preemptively/prematurely or you risk screwing your race, if not the race of others. It's possible to take well-calculated risks and it's possible to be an aggressive gentlemanly racer. Don't be a Paul Tracy-esque dirt bag.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  TuxTshirt on Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:23 am

Ex US Squid wrote:
TuxTshirt wrote:He can explain that better than I can think it.

Oh stop it! Youre always selling yourself so short... Youre very cute, you have a very nice face.


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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:48 pm

I'm watching the race on grand-am.com (I missed it last weekend) and saw this. I knew I had to capture and post it, so here it is.

It's only a SnagIt capture so the frames-per-second don't correlate to the broadcast but it works for its intended purpose.

What the broadcasters speak about here is paramount to all racers. The broadcasters are speaking about a faster class approaching a slower class but every racer must be cognizant of which cars are around them and who are the drivers of their surrounding cars. This would be a different, but just as relevant example of, "Sometimes it is faster to go slower."
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Sorta05 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:16 pm

That happened to me in iracing (shh I know) at the glen... a faster class car tried to pass in a chicane with another car of the same class directly behind me. I didn't see the faster car approaching and took my normal line, he tried to pass in the chiane and ended up punted me off into a wall somewhere and ending my race.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Ex US Squid on Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:57 pm

There was this same situation that I noticed in the Continental Tire race today. A Mustang went to pass a couple TC cars by diving into turn one three wide on the inside but there was a third TC car a few car lengths ahead. The leading TC car took to proper wide arc cutting sharp into the apex and the horrible angle of the GS Mustang combined with him going in a lil hot in hopes of making it clear of the first two TC cars resulted in him T-boning the shit out of the lead TC car in the rear drivers axle. Looked so bad! The TC driver never saw or anticipated it happening and the Mustang driver was so determined to pass the two TC cars right in front of him that I bet he forgot about the single car just ahead. Wish I had vid like Geoff but Im not that cool. Maybe Im not the only one that saw it.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Simcik on Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:06 pm

Ex US Squid wrote:There was this same situation that I noticed in the Continental Tire race today. A Mustang went to pass a couple TC cars by diving into turn one three wide on the inside but there was a third TC car a few car lengths ahead. The leading TC car took to proper wide arc cutting sharp into the apex and the horrible angle of the GS Mustang combined with him going in a lil hot in hopes of making it clear of the first two TC cars resulted in him T-boning the shit out of the lead TC car in the rear drivers axle. Looked so bad! The TC driver never saw or anticipated it happening and the Mustang driver was so determined to pass the two TC cars right in front of him that I bet he forgot about the single car just ahead. Wish I had vid like Geoff but Im not that cool. Maybe Im not the only one that saw it.

I saw that - seriously, that Mustang driver was being way too aggressive. I mean, those cars all have to turn there, where did he think the others were gonna go?!?

Just because you can pull up beside somebody doesn't mean they have to let you have the line...
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:01 am

Simcik wrote:… Just because you can pull up beside somebody doesn't mean they have to let you have the line...
BINGO!

All drivers must be aware of not only their car but for the other car(s) they're attempting to get around; that's racecraft. Also remember different cars and different drivers will have different paths through any given corner. Some drivers prefer to late apex. Some cars prefer a pure apex. Some corners are better with an early apex. Trailing drivers must take all of these into account and not be so eager to put their car in a situation where the majority of outcomes can only be negative.

Refer to the above post referencing calculated moves. Passing involves continually asking yourself:
If I pass here, what will the result be going into the next corner? As in, are the directions alternating? If you're on the inside of the first corner will you be on the outside of the next?
If I pass here, where are the forces going to pull the cars? Are you attempting to pass on the inside? If so, remember force will pull you into the outside car as you track out. The outside car does not have to yield the whole track to you as they are allowed their line [see also: relationship between space & time].
If I pass here, will I be able to hold my exit? If not then your pass was for a fleeting moment and you'll lose the position gained.
There are more questions to which you'd better have answers.

If you are wanting to pass and you realize you have bad answers for a large percentage of those questions, back down and tuck in behind.
The lead car always has position. If cars are tied, whichever car was leading before the tie has the position. It is the trailing car's responsibility to execute a clean pass.

This is only part of what separates professional drivers from grassroots drivers. Professionals have greater amounts of education, experience, and etiquette. I admit I hold a negative opinion of Paul Tracy. I believe his quantity of etiquette lacks when compared to other drivers in his league.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Wed May 08, 2013 4:41 pm

Here's one courtesy of NASA. Their note, "Sometimes it takes a lap" is important.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Fri May 17, 2013 5:21 pm

If anyone wants more understanding of aerodynamic enhancements, Speed News covers that this month. If you keep flipping pages, they further cover aerodynamics and passing.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:29 am


Truth!
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  TuxTshirt on Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:53 am

Hey now, they could be lapping him.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Ex US Squid on Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:52 am

TuxTshirt wrote:Hey now, they could be lapping him.

Truth!

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:41 am

I was "Truth!"-ing the Experience > Money aspect.

It's true this could be a lapping scenario though if you've seen track days (or even auto-X) some smug asshole usually comes out in an expensive sled thinking the car is going to put him on top. Many times said smug asshole gets their ass handed to him by a Spec Miata or Honda Challenge level vehicle.

The other side of it: said smug asshole could be pussy-footing their ride because it's too expensive to wreck. For that they should understand this advice, "Don't track anything you're not prepared to write off."
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Ex US Squid on Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:46 pm

Experience+Money > Experience>Money FTW OMG MFer

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:40 pm

Often those with $ are too busy earning $ that they don't have (or choose not to make) the time to gain experience. On the flip side, those with jobs they could ditch at a moment's notice buy cheaper vehicles and can more easily make time to become better drivers.

Want to become a better driver? Start with go-karting and escalate from there.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Ex US Squid on Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:35 pm

I argue with Scott Tucker, Patrick Dempsey and Paul Menard.   They are richer than hell and have proven richies can race too.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:03 pm

Those guys also made proper time to learn how to drive. Those guys are at a point where a talented driver in a 1980s Suburban wouldn't embarrass them at a track day [Jerry Kunzman, NASA's Executive Director, has been known to do exactly that.]

Many of those who don't make time to learn are the type to be "married to their job." These are the guys who think their $$$,$$$.¢¢ [hundred-thousand dollar] car that they bought with their $$,$$$,$$$,$$$.¢¢ [tens of billions] is going to make them the fastest on the track.

Rick Sutherland (started, then sold what would become Wheel Works, now the founder of ClickAway) also raced in the ALMS for a few seasons. He bought his way in to a team. My friends and I called him Rick Slow-therland. Rich guy. Not fast.
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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Ex US Squid on Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:10 pm

Im just saying its to easy when you dont have money to slander those that do just because they do and also participate in a form of motorsport.   There are JUST as many "poor" racers out there that are also horrible but since they dont have a shiny vehicle you overlook them.   Really money has nothing to do with it.  It comes down to those that have it and those that dont.

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Re: Speed Secrets

Post  Avanti 63r1025 on Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:14 pm

Without a doubt there are talentless drivers slotted in every fiscal category. If we're staying within the context of a club-sport track day, the biggest douche bags are those who come with a super car on a trailer, with the attitude that they're going to set the TTOTD [top time of the day], thinking it's the expensive car that's going to earn them that distinction.

Professional level drivers are well beyond a club-sport track day being their highest level of driving. The rich douche bag mentality sticks out the most when the club-sport track day is as high as one can go.

On the flip side, there are rich-as-shit guys who are willing to drive anything (crap bucket or super car) and want to learn how to become a better driver. It's not how much money they have that gets me, I'm focused on their attitude.
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