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Tracking / Autocross / HPDE / Drifting What these cars were built for!


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Old 04-04-2021, 10:15 AM   #29
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Senna heel toe vid

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Old 04-05-2021, 12:39 PM   #30
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A couple of suggestions starting with a caveat. First - I don't track my BRZ. Haven't and don't have plans to start. That said, I roadraced motorcycles for a number of years and can lay claim to having been passed by both Doug Polen and Kevin Schwantz on the same lap in the same race.

OK. ON to suggestions. 1) Get instruction. There's nothing like having someone who knows what they are doing critique your work.

2) Work on your lines. Study a diagram of the track and identify potentially good lines through the corners. Identify what seem to be reasonable apexes, turn in points and where you want to be on track as you exit. When you get to the track test those lines and see if they still make sense. Often, what looks good on paper doesn't work in the real world. There may be big gross bumps on the ideal line that upset the bike/car so you alter the line to compensate. Once you find what seems like a good line, find the braking points, turn in points, and exit points and burn those into your memory.

3) Get more instruction. A good driving coach can help correct errors and spot things you didn't see. Racing a car makes this easy - the instructor can ride with you. IN my bike racing days, one of my very good friends was an expert level multi-class champion. Every practice session he'd spend a few laps following me and the make suggestions when we got back to the pits. It helped, but not like having thee person in the seat next to you.

4) Learn to visualize. When I started racing bikes I was working 1500 miles away from home. I'd fly in on alternate weekends and when there was a race, I'd head to the track on Saturday and fly out on Sunday. I was SLOW. Painfully slow. Sitting in my hotel room I analyzed my laps and thought about mistakes I thought I was making. Then, I'd close my eyes and run lap after lap in my mind - picturing myself hold the throttle pinned for that second longer, or apexing this corner later, or earlier, or double apexing that hair pin. It was a profound revelation. My first time at the track after that, the track felt much more familiar. I picked up two seconds a lap.

More visualization - more seconds off the lap times.

5) This is big. Learn to control your visual focus. One of the best life lessons racing taught me is - You Go Where You Look. Focus on where you want the car to be. Look through, not at the corner. If you overcook a corner, don't panic, don't focus on the edge of the track or the guard rail, because if you do, that's where you'll wind up.

The beauty of tracking cars is they are soooo much more forgiving than motorcycles. You fuck up on a bike and they will bite you - often very hard. Cars are less likely to try to kill you and less likely to be successful when they do.

Just look where you want to go. If your body knows how to maneuver the car you'll find that will get you out of a lot of scary situations.

Throttle Blipping - The problems with throttle blipping are several. First, as you are approaching a corner there is a lot going on. You're looking for your braking marker and thinking about your turn in point. Once you're on brakes the car's wiggling around and you're doing that delicate balance with friction as you try to get the car rotated and release the brakes. And, on top of this, you need to be in a lower gear.

Back to bikes for a second. On a bike you face a similar problem with a wrinkle. Every part of your body has to do something. Left hand - clutch; right hand has two things - front brake and throttle; left foot - shifter; right foot - rear brake (unless you're riding a buddy's old Triumph in which the brake and shifter are reversed - as is the shift pattern). Lots of things to balance - braking pressure at both front and back, engine braking, gear selection are just the start. Ham fist a downshift and the rear end goes who knows where and the bike's very put out with you. Oh, and you have to steer. To make that even more complicated - on a bike you turn the bars to the right to make the bike turn to the left.

So - you adapt and learn and adjust. You learn to maintain braking pressure at the front, roll your wrist just so while timing your left foot on the shifter and your left hand on the clutch. And pushing on the clipon to turn that way.

Compared to this a car is cake. Fewer things to do and the steering isn't wonky. Now, I suffer from the same physical gift as Soundman - fat clown feet. Like Soundman. I long ago adopted an approach to throttle blipping in the car I called "fat footing." Instead of wrist rolling it's done with the ankle. The beauty for me is my ankles are among the few joints and bones bikes didn't manage to mangle. Strangely enough the heel pays a very small part. Ross Bentley's video and the video of Senna in the NSX explain and illustrate it really well.

The three most important things are practice, practice, and practice. Do it in the car. Do it in your head. But do it. Don't get discouraged. It will come together. I never got fast enough to keep Polen or Schwantz in sight for more than a couple of corners, but some friends and I won a couple of open class club endurance championships and it was a lot of fun.

Oh, and did I mention - get some instruction.
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Old 04-05-2021, 04:39 PM   #31
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Senna was such a great driver, haven't watched a video of him in awhile, but the video above really shows his skill. Hey jump in this car and see how you like it, and immediately he is at the absolute limit that car has.
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Old 04-14-2021, 03:56 PM   #32
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Sorry to necro an aging thread, but I had a couple of thoughts that might be useful to someone trying to acquaint themselves with heel/toe - throttle blipping - rev matching.

Simply put, break down the process into discrete steps - master each - then combine them. One of the things that gives folks problems rev matching is there is too much going on and getting the timing right makes a lot of difference. Unlike most motorcycles cars have synchronized transmissions. Therefore, you don't need to blip the throttle to facilitate the shift, only to match engine speed with wheel speed. As a result the order of operations is important (and different from a constant mesh - sequential gearbox). On our cars you want to execute the gear change and the bump engine RPM to match the transmission input shaft speed just as the clutch is re-engaging. Unless you have lightspeed hands and a transmission that will tolerate that, the order of operations will ultimately be brake - clutch in - shift - blip - release clutch (as many times as needed). make the turn, release the brakes and add throttle. Eventually I suspect you'll be doing the last three simultaneously.

One can practice this on the street slowing down for situations where you don't need to brake. Ease off the throttle - press the clutch pedal - execute the shift - and (more or less simultaneously) blip the throttle and release the clutch. Notice the "more or less simultaneously" part. You'll eventually realize the blip needs to happen fractionally before the clutch release, but just fractionally. Do this over and over and pretty soon it becomes embedded in muscle memory. Then integrate that with braking and adding the ankle roll and look out Ayrton.

Transitioning from motorcycles this forced me to make a couple of adjustments. You can (and I think for a couple of reasons probably should) blip a bike throttle just as the clutch is disengaging and at the same time executing the shift and releasing the clutch. One movement leads directly into another. Cars take a bit longer so you'll need to time operations so that the engine revs peak as the clutch is re-engaging. Like so many things, it's all about timing and practice makes it reflexive

Hope this helps somebody.
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Old 04-16-2021, 05:33 PM   #33
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Cars do have a constant mesh gearboxes with syncromesh (foreward gears)
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Old 04-17-2021, 09:28 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by gen3v8 View Post
Cars do have a constant mesh gearboxes with syncromesh (foreward gears)

Isnít that what he just said?
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Old 04-17-2021, 01:19 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by gen3v8 View Post
Cars do have a constant mesh gearboxes with syncromesh (foreward gears)
Apologies. I wasn't clear enough with the explanation. Yes. As I noted, cars do have synchronized transmissions. As a result they don't need help shifting between gears. Most conventional motorcycles use constant mesh sequential transmissions. (to be honest I've never played with the internals of a automotive sequential grearbox). On these gear engagement is created by the engagement of "dogs and slots" creating different paths between the primary shaft and the countershaft. Gearchanges are done by sliding a gear down a shaft and either disengaging or engaging the dog/slot with an adjacent gear,

Sometimes the dogs/slots are slightly (to aggressively) undercut to enhance engagement under power. On these things proactively unloading the mechanism by blipping the throttle helps facilitate getting the previous mating pair disengaged making the shift smoother and easier on the hardware. It also brings the engine speed up to match the speed of the primary shaft in the tranny to maintain rear tire traction. Therefore it helps to blip as you make the gear change. One blip accomplishes both because of the speed at which the process happens.

On synchronized trannies the process changes. The reason for the blip is to match engine and tire speed. Since the process of moving the synchronizers and their spinning up or spinning down of the gears takes some time. if you blip as you shift, the engine has spooled down as you move the shifter and you're back in wheel hop city when you release the clutch. So, the blip should be timed to the clutch release.

I know. It's pretty long winded. Sorry.
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