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Thread: The "Big" Question for Early Stage Tracksters

  1. #41
    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Chris@Xtremespeed's Avatar
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    I think you guys may have missed my point. I was trying to stay on topic and figure out what the poster wanted in terms of a track day car. I'm not advocating that someone jump into a super powerful car with out learning how to drive it first. I was suggesting an S2000, another low HP car. Of course you can learn more about driving dynamics from less powerful cars, or bikes. Low power cars can be used for more advance racing techniques as well. I'm not arguing the driving dynamics of maita's and corvette's. I was suggesting an S2000 - that to me is simply one step up form a miata, and that if this is going to be your only open lap, track day car, then an S2000 would provide more of an ongoing challenge to someone who is ONLY doing open track days. If I wanted to talk about preparing a driver for more advance driving, then a miata would also work just as well. I'm not sure it matters if it's a miata or an S2 anyway. And you all know how easy it is to drive a miata on a track. It's not rocket science. I was suggesting a car that may entertain the driver over a longer period of time. You guys do love your miata's LOL

  2. #42
    Spec Backhoe Champion redtopz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emilio700 View Post
    I'm reminded of a regular training process pioneered by GP bike racing legend Kenny Roberts back in the 80's. He would invite young hot shot GP racers up to his ranch in Norcal. He had a simple oval dirt track he cut with a back hoe on his property. He'd point the young guys at a small fleet of little 100cc enduro bikes, maybe 18hp at best. He'd then hold informal races. The results of the training are the stuff of legend. The guys learned to be fearless as any teeny mistake that cost momentum would cause them to be pounced upon and passed. Insane dive bomb passes. Or carefully drafting someone for 5 laps to probe for weaknesses and set up all or nothing single pass attempt.

    The lesson there is that guys racing at the time, 220whp GP bikes learned more about racecraft on wheezy little enduro bikes going 45mph than they did growing up on much more powerful machinery. This training technique is still used by many of the top motorcycle road racers.

    So "mastering" a Miata in a few trackdays is an utter joke unless the driver is already so talented and experienced that they are getting paid big bucks to drive already.

    Picture this scenario I often use to describe the challenge of a low hp car:

    T2 at WSIR is done at 85-90mph in a Spec or PT Miata. Exiting T1 at about 90mph, the Miata will barely reach 100 by T2. The entry of T2 is a bare lift at around 100mph then back to WOT. Exit speed is about 95mph. Done right, there is much time to be gained over a poorly driven Miatas. Take that same Miata and (theoretically) come to a complete stop at the exit of T1. Now measure the speed in T2. The low power Miata will never reach more than about 80mph anywhere. Thus getting T1 right, and being brave/skilled enough to carry that into T2 is critical for a decent lap.

    Now we move to a C5Z with the same level of prep. The speeds are about 5mph higher everywhere except the exit of T2 which is about 110. The difference is that the C5Z could come to a complete stop at the exit of T1 and it's T2 sector time would be completely unaffected. This difference in the requirements for momentum preservation outline the difference between driving a high hp and low hp cars successfully.
    The C5Z drive can screw up T1 every lap and lose say, 5.s there but be golden in T2. Our Miata drive screws up T1 for the same .5s loss and he loses more than 1s in T2.

    So errors, sloppy or imprecise driving penalize the driver in the lower hp car more than the high hp car. That said, learning the timing, throttle control, tire management and passing with high closing rates in a higher hp car are an equally difficult set of challenges. I believe starting in a lower power car lays a better foundation for any track driver. Not all that have graduated from Miatas have "mastered" the precision that low hp driving requires.
    Well since we are off topic . I agree with most of this. It will take years to master any race car and a lower hp car would be better for a racing foundation. However, all cars are momentum cars because you are competing against similar cars. If you screw up T1 in a vette you will get passed going into T2. And I'm pretty sure you will also be slower in sector 2 compared to a guy who carried more speed and trail brakes into T2 (our cars aren't that fast). But what you left out of the equation is that you are more likely to make a mistake in a faster car than a miata. So even though it may be less costly in the race (which is debatable since a mistake at 130 mph could be much worse than a mistake at 100 mph), the mistakes are more likely to occur. Everything happens faster and the timing and foot control become more critical (ie. steering wheel position vs. brake or throttle position, trail braking, rev matching, throttle control in turns). Think about this scenario: put Billy Johnson in a spec miata and I bet many guys here could turn a very similar lap time. Put Billy in a 600 hp, full aero race car and I doubt anyone here would be able to hang. Well maybe Emilio .

    On the other hand, I think spec miata is a much better place to learn racecraft due to the large fields and lower speeds and you will truly have to be at the top skill level to consistently podium. There is always someone to race in spec miata. I hope to get my boys into spec E30 or spec miata in a few years.
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  3. #43
    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redtopz View Post
    Think about this scenario: put Billy Johnson in a spec miata and I bet many guys here could turn a very similar lap time. Put Billy in a 600 hp, full aero race car and I doubt anyone here would be able to hang.
    Billy will deliver a beating in either car.

    Speaking for myself, I won't go fast as I could in a 600hp car since
    A. I don't own it.
    B. Can't afford to wreck it.

    It would take some time to get the "This is way too fast" feeling under control as well.

  4. #44
    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redtopz View Post
    ... But what you left out of the equation is that you are more likely to make a mistake in a faster car than a miata. So even though it may be less costly in the race (which is debatable since a mistake at 130 mph could be much worse than a mistake at 100 mph), the mistakes are more likely to occur. Everything happens faster and the timing and foot control become more critical.
    I will add one other point to this. Turn 8 at WSIR and Turns 1 and 2 are not really turns in a 115 HP car. Those turns are just curved straights. In a T1 Corvette in traffic they can raise the hair on the back of your neck sometimes. Those turns are very challenging for all the reasons a 50 MPH corner is a challenge, but the consequences are massively higher as in a T1 car you are going 130 to 140 MPH.
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    I got tired of tracking (one year); and racing (two years) my Miata, sold it, wanted something with more power, and got an S2K. I never tired of driving the S2K. The most fun track car I ever owned. Endlessly entertaing to corner in. It even made me appreciate Laguna Seca, which I never liked much before. Laguna is blast in an S2K.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    I will add one other point to this. Turn 8 at WSIR and Turns 1 and 2 are not really turns in a 115 HP car. Those turns are just curved straights. In a T1 Corvette in traffic they can raise the hair on the back of your neck sometimes. Those turns are very challenging for all the reasons a 50 MPH corner is a challenge, but the consequences are massively higher as in a T1 car you are going 130 to 140 MPH.
    I definitely think the challenges of driving a high powered car fast are underrated.

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    Spec Backhoe Champion redtopz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hakeem View Post
    Excellent post Emilio. As a former Miata owner, I concur.
    Quote Originally Posted by hakeem View Post
    I definitely think the challenges of driving a high powered car fast are underrated.
    You need to change your avatar quote from "dirty smack talker" to "Mr. smooth talker". And I mean that as a compliment. Not sure if "smooth talker" has any negative connotations...
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    Kam
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Caboose View Post
    1. Interesting take on the oil and tranny cooler. I was unware that these were important for S2K's.
    Tranny cooler, no. very few run tranny coolers.
    Oil cooler, depends on where you're at. I've run my AP2 sans oil cooler for a years. Finally added one a few months ago. I doubt I'll ever add a tranny cooler. GTR, mandatory. S2000, completely optional.
    4.6lbs / whp -- 4lbs / bhp

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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redtopz View Post
    You need to change your avatar quote from "dirty smack talker" to "Mr. smooth talker". And I mean that as a compliment. Not sure if "smooth talker" has any negative connotations...
    I must be getting old and losing my smack talking ways

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    Member smack's Avatar
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    another good DD/trackday car is an evo. i know everyone says they drive themselves and all that, but they make a good DD having 4-doors and can be cheap to track if you don't mod the hell out of them. also plenty of room to bring wheels and tools/cooler/eazy-up
    i ran my first one for a couple years just swapping pads and tires after getting proper fluid in it.

    let the flaming begin haha...
    Last edited by smack; 07-13-2012 at 12:14 PM.
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    I am jealous of those that can pile their track wheels in the back seat area of their dual purpose car. That's a big win right there for the bmw and 4 door crowd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smack View Post
    another good DD/trackday car is an evo. i know everyone says they drive themselves and all that, but they make a good DD having 4-doors and can be cheap to track if you don't mod the hell out of them. also plenty of room to bring wheels and tools/cooler/eazy-up
    i ran my first one for a couple years just swapping pads and tires after getting proper fluid in it.

    let the flaming begin haha...
    I did that for years and agree with you up to a point. The key is not to mod the hell out of it, especially power mods. Adding a lot of hp/tq is a recipe for kaboom in the Evo's interference motor. Plus you have to start using race gas, which really increases the costs. And it does mask a lot of driver mistakes. I certainly learned a lot more about track driving when I went from an Evo to a Miata. Evos are fun track cars but need expensive suspension work, because stock they understeer like pigs.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

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  13. #53
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    FRS will make a great dual purpose DD / track car. stock FRS with RS3 will be a 2:05 car.
    you can stick 4 whees/tires in the trunk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    FRS will make a great dual purpose DD / track car. stock FRS with RS3 will be a 2:05 car.
    you can stick 4 whees/tires in the trunk.
    But most guys buying a track day car want to buy one that is several years old so the first owner takes the depreciation hit, not a brand new car that dealers are charge over sticker for, if you can even find one.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

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    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    stock FRS with RS3 will be a 2:05 car.
    That remains to be seen. I'll be at the SV BRP #13 event at the end of July with Matt Andrews in his FRS. We'll finally be able to put this topic to rest!

  16. #56
    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    I will add one other point to this. Turn 8 at WSIR and Turns 1 and 2 are not really turns in a 115 HP car. Those turns are just curved straights. In a T1 Corvette in traffic they can raise the hair on the back of your neck sometimes. Those turns are very challenging for all the reasons a 50 MPH corner is a challenge, but the consequences are massively higher as in a T1 car you are going 130 to 140 MPH.
    We're offering opposing views.. on two different subjects.

    Chest Hair
    Owners of cars with grip limited cars (Corvette/Evo/Viper etc) remind us of the difficulty controlling the car because of it's speed and power. I agree, it's a challenge that power limited (slower) car drivers may not face to the same degree. Also agree that keeping a slower car on track can generally be easier for a given skill level and the risks may be lower. My point has nothing to do with difficulty or risk in keeping the car on track though.

    It's the difference between driving a car that is power limited and grip limited and achieving lap times with say 1s of the cars ultimate potential.
    We have to realize that no driver drives endless perfect laps. Even the best are frequently making tiny errors. Drivers are imperfect. Those imperfections result in lap times that do no reach the cars ultimate potential. Knowing and admitting this "constant" is critical in understanding what I am trying to convey.

    Skill
    That theoretical T8 at WSIR? Whether you botch T5 or nail it, you still enter T6-T7-T8 at full speed in grip limited car. In the slower car, T8 is much easier and potentially lower risk even at it's full speed. However if the driver in the slower car botches T5, his T6-T7-T8 are ruined.

    Power limited driver loses 2s from botching T5, has less chest hair
    Grip limited driver loses .5s from botching T5, has more chest hair.

    Most of a "faster" production cars lower lap time comes from simply accelerating harder and reaching a higher speed on each straight. Entry, apex and exit speeds often the same as a lowly Miata. If a car reaches the same speed at the end of every straight regardless of how you drive the entry on the preceding turn, then botching it has a lower penalty. The low powered car requires fewer mistakes, greater precision to achieve lap times within the same % of the cars ultimate potential as the high power car. The low power car is not more difficult to operate at the drivers maximum potential. It's more difficult to drive to it's potential.

    Regardless of what I write though, it's all gibberish because a driver that is challenged by their high power grip limited car thinks "How could a car with no power be harder to drive at it's limit than my beast?"

    Going back to the OP who asks what we feel the best dual duty car for $20K. If learning is near the top of the list, get a Miata. If going as fast as possible is higher on the list, a C5 or S2000.
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  17. #57
    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emilio700 View Post
    Going back to the OP who asks what we feel the best dual duty car for $20K. If learning is near the top of the list, get a Miata. If going as fast as possible is higher on the list, a C5 or S2000.
    I agree with your quote above. The only point that I was trying to make, and I did it poorly, is that in a "fast" car we usually have an extra corner or two we have to drive. So for Turn 8 at WSIR for example, how late we brake, how well we carry maximum speed through that corner and how fast we get back on power does make a difference in our class, too. Never mind the consequences of chest hair and all that. That was bad for me to even bring that up as that was not germain to this discussion, except from the perspective that it must be considered in the choice of the car you get. Turn 1 and 2 at ACS is never a risk in a Miata, but it is in a Corvette so the new driver picking a car must consider that.

    Regarding penalties on time for not carrying momentum, it is all relative. If you go to Road America you better carry a lot of momentum out of Turn 3, the Carousel, the Kink and Turn 14 whether you are in a bug-eye sprite or a GT-1 car since they have 1/2 mile long or more straights after them with a turn like the Kink having an apex speed of over 100 MPH. That turn and momentum can make or break a win on that track in any car.

    But in summation, I get what you are saying about a lower power car needing to nail Turn on at ACS as the impact lasts all the way to Turn 3.

    I would elaborate more, but I need to go trim my chest hair and go online as I hear www.Gold-Chains-R-Us.com is having a clearance sale.


    Oli
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  18. #58
    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    I agree with your quote above. The only point that I was trying to make, and I did it poorly, is that in a "fast" car we usually have an extra corner or two we have to drive. So for Turn 8 at WSIR for example, how late we brake, how well we carry maximum speed through that corner and how fast we get back on power does make a difference in our class, too. Never mind the consequences of chest hair and all that. That was bad for me to even bring that up as that was not germain to this discussion, except from the perspective that it must be considered in the choice of the car you get. Turn 1 and 2 at ACS is never a risk in a Miata, but it is in a Corvette so the new driver picking a car must consider that.

    Regarding penalties on time for not carrying momentum, it is all relative. If you go to Road America you better carry a lot of momentum out of Turn 3, the Carousel, the Kink and Turn 14 whether you are in a bug-eye sprite or a GT-1 car since they have 1/2 mile long or more straights after them with a turn like the Kink having an apex speed of over 100 MPH. That turn and momentum can make or break a win on that track in any car.

    But in summation, I get what you are saying about a lower power car needing to nail Turn on at ACS as the impact lasts all the way to Turn 3.

    I would elaborate more, but I need to go trim my chest hair and go online as I hear www.Gold-Chains-R-Us.com is having a clearance sale.


    Oli
    Yes, momentum is important too in a powerful car, but if the miata guy has a bad corner at RA he's screwed 6 ways till sunday, while the corvette guy only suffers through monday and tuesday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olitho View Post
    I will add one other point to this. Turn 8 at WSIR and Turns 1 and 2 are not really turns in a 115 HP car. Those turns are just curved straights. In a T1 Corvette in traffic they can raise the hair on the back of your neck sometimes. Those turns are very challenging for all the reasons a 50 MPH corner is a challenge, but the consequences are massively higher as in a T1 car you are going 130 to 140 MPH.
    And relative to your fellow racers in T1 momentum is just as important in a vette as it is in a miata. Do forget they have just as much power as you do. So if you screw a corner just like in a miata the pack will escape you. Aside from needing bigger b@lls in a high HP car I don't think there is any difference except "everything" costs more...consumables and penalty for making an error at higher speeds.

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Carl, you're still missing it. In your case the pack gets 1.5 seconds away. In my case, 5 seconds away.

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