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What made you a better driver?

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  • What made you a better driver?

    Gentlemen, what helped you become a better driver?

    Little background for the question -
    I've been track driving for over a decade now, had a few years that I was at the track 20+ weekends a year and that was great because I got a ton of seat time.
    Then I had some 3 years that I was off the track and I got back into the mix back in 2011 for a few days and then last year in a more consistent manner.
    The days of being at the track every other weekend are pretty much gone for now, can't abuse the family like that.
    I just don't feel like I'm back on top of my game as I was, say, back in 2004... My driving isn't terrible or anything, but being able to put together laps on the ragged edge of performance has been harder than I'd like it to be.

    So, taking into consideration that seat time has its limitations, what do you think made a difference in your driving that you'd recommend doing?
    Any certain school that you took?
    Going W2W made a big difference in your abilities?
    Karting? Autoxing? Hitting the gym? Reading books about driving? Getting addicted to GT5?
    1 on 1 driver coaching? Looking at data logs?

    I'm sure that everything makes a difference, but hoping to see what the resident hot shoes think made the big jump for them.
    All tips are welcome, TIA!
    Last edited by Blackbird; 06-10-2013, 12:14 PM.
    Moti

    Blackbird Fabworx - Quality Performance Fabrication

  • #2
    picking Emilio's brain Saturday night over a few beers.
    -Anthony
    1991 Miata - Trogdor SuperMiata
    2011 Ram 2500 - all the torque

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    • #3
      Predictive lap timing in the car to learn what is fast and what is not.

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      • #4
        One of biggest surprise for me was seeing how many drivers don't use a data logger. Predictive will get you 70% there. Reading data will get you the next 15%. But on the last 15% you must have a good driver drive your car and compare your data. Even if you are a top level driver, you will still learn from other drivers from different section of the track.

        Biggest problem I see with w2w drivers are they can't have another driver jump into their car to gather data. Another is no passenger seat. Passenger seat helps when you watch another driver. And for passenger to give you input on driving and car setup. It helps when advice given in real time

        I have also seen some very good drivers that can drive the snout out of the car, but don't know squat about car setup.
        Last edited by bellwilliam; 06-10-2013, 10:25 AM.
        S1 Supermiata - 220whp
        13 Tesla, ma: no engine !!
        17 GT350R
        03 Miata Club Sport
        96 NSX
        06 EVO MR
        15 Mini Cooper S
        Beck 550 Spyder

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        • #5
          I eat this before every race:

          Bread
          ~ Jim Tway
          Tway Motorsports
          (714) 528-2150
          #57 Pacific Automotive Recycling Center Corvette

          Brought to you by:
          Pacific Automotive Recycling Center
          PA Construction
          American Heritage Performance

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          • #6
            Reading and watching anything I can find, and predictive lap timing. I didn't drive a racecar for almost 2 years recently, and was faster when I got back in than I was before.

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            • #7
              Learning what happens when you exceed the limits, and then not being afraid of it. Fear of the unknown is a ***** to get over.

              Once you get past that you can slide the car at 110 with one in the dirt and not be worried about it.


              That also helps with car control. I don't think I've spun in a couple years despite lots of slides and offs.
              Last edited by robburgoon; 06-10-2013, 10:35 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                I can tell you what didn't help. Having a kid and taking 2 years (mostly) off. It's taken me 6 months and I still haven't shaken out all the rust.

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                • #9
                  I'll let you know when I become a better driver.

                  However, I did get a great quick tip from Shawn Sampson. In corners where you don't brake, and you're just lifting to turn in, count the seconds before you get back on the gas. First you lift and count 1001, 1002, 1003, then as you get more familiar and comfortable, just decrease the count before you reapply the throttle. You can do it on braking corners, too. It was a game changer.

                  I am now finding that you have to take an "all of the above" approach, which entails reading books, maximizing seat time, getting feedback/coaching, feeding Emilio free beer, and learn how to use data and car setup. I'd like to do a big-time school, too.
                  www.TrackHQ.com

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                  • #10
                    I hate to admit it, but getting out of the Evo and running open track in a Miata for the better part of a year.
                    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

                    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
                    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
                    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - my last track day car (FOR SALE or not, depending on how I feel when I fall out of bed tomorrow morning)
                    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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                    • #11
                      Controlling my 'red mist' tendencies.

                      Staying humble enough to learn and accept criticism and help.

                      Sharpening my anticipation. That came through experience.
                      Yer pal,
                      Force

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                      • #12
                        Visualization exercises, simulator practice, and data.

                        I think the "all of the above" approach is best. Can't rely on any one thing. Learning never stops.

                        Getting another car as a back up also changed the psychology of my driving. Being content if the car gets totaled, it is what it is.
                        SuperMiata S2 Class #33

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the tips guys, keep'em coming!

                          Looks like it's time to shop for a new dash / data / predictive setup, currently running factory gauge cluster
                          Research on the best setup within the budget to follow.
                          Originally posted by bellwilliam View Post
                          One of biggest surprise for me was seeing how many drivers don't use a data logger. Predictive will get you 70% there. Reading data will get you the next 15%. But on the last 15% you must have a good driver drive your car and compare your data. Even if you are a top level driver, you will still learn from other drivers from different section of the track.

                          Biggest problem I see with w2w drivers are they can't have another driver jump into their car to gather data. Another is no passenger seat. Passenger seat helps when you watch another driver. And for passenger to give you input on driving and car setup. It helps when advice given in real time

                          I have also seen some very good drivers that can drive the snout out of the car, but don't know squat about car setup.
                          William, it sounds like you just volunteered to jump in with me at ACS and do some instructing
                          Creampuff has a passenger seat which I have used at times to get another driver's advice / coaching / observations before, recently had Rylan and Emilio in for sessions around Sonoma and BRP.
                          Both times were helpful as I generally take well to coaching, Emilio's observations on a couple things I haven't noticed before made me aware to some areas that can use some polishing and Rylan's track specific tips early in the weekend made a difference in lap times.

                          Setup-wise I feel like I'm doing a pretty decent job, I learned what my suspension does from playing with the adjustments and got it to the point that it is very friendly to drive.
                          I'm comfortable with it and able to make changes between sessions to further improve things according to the conditions.
                          Pretty sure that the use of data logging will further help me with tuning, SOTP can only get you so far, data should be easier to fin tune with.

                          Anthony, do you think that the use of margarita will help speeding up the process or will it increase the chances of corrupting the input?
                          Last edited by Blackbird; 06-10-2013, 01:05 PM.
                          Moti

                          Blackbird Fabworx - Quality Performance Fabrication

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Blackbird View Post

                            Anthony, do you think that the use of margarita will help speeding up the process or will it increase the chances of corrupting the input?
                            there is probably a crossover point but it will take some experimenting to find. I'll let you know.

                            I need someone to teach me how to use my data most effectively from my IQ3. I have a hard time getting anything useful out of it just comparing my own laps as I just get lost in all the channels but maybe some books or class would help me. I'm a little hesitant to let someone drive my car do to the "what if..." question mark.
                            -Anthony
                            1991 Miata - Trogdor SuperMiata
                            2011 Ram 2500 - all the torque

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              W2W in a no-power car.

                              W2W because the feedback is instantly injected into the reward/punishment center of your lizard brain. No-power because decent power mostly masks mistakes, particularly small ones.

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