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wie geht es ihnen?
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Discussion Starter #1
curious as to how you go about determining what is 10/10 on a road course without putting the thing into a barrier or other car. specifically on high speed areas/sections.

in particular i have done about 6 events at Pocono over the past two years. there are some high speed sections on the oval. some folks go much faster than me regardless of make and tires, etc. i would guess they have a better understanding of what the limits of their abilities and car are than me.

how do you safely get up to say 7/10 or 8/10 and know you should be feathering or lifting?

i'd hate to stomp on it and be doing 120 not knowing that doing 123 would put me off and into a really bad crash.
 

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Get an instructor to ride with you. Over time you'll be able to tell when your tires are getting close to their limits. Street tires tend to be more predictable in their breakaway than competition tires so they're a good place to start. I don't know the specifics of your track, but there are often at least one or two corners with ample runoff room where you can try to slowly work up to the edge to find out where things start to get dicey. If you're talking about purely top end, I'd say that's something you need to extrapolate. But, you could also try taking a tighter line than normal and work up the speed. When you start to drift out beyond your line you're getting up close to the edge. I've had some pretty spectacular 'offs' in my last vehicle which helped cure the fear of screwing up (given a safe runoff area) but all the same I havent completely lost it in the STi yet and to be honest I dont really have any plans to. The limits in this car are so much higher than most you can certainly get into BIG trouble if you're not careful.
 

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Hi TRM,

I believe I can shed some light on this topic. In a word, what will give you that clear sense of running nearer and nearer to the limit is experience. Building seat time on the track is the only way to do it. Not only from the left seat, but by going for right seat rides with instructors as well. If ever you feel that your skills are at a plateau, get out of your car and lash yourself into the passenger seat of an instructors car of the same type. I guarantee you will come back with at least one thing that will help your own driving skills. I call it a "Recalibration Ride".

When a student first drives on the track, the first thing their instructor should do is to establish the correct line around that circuit. While this discussion on the correct "line" could fill volumes, suffice it to say that there is an optimum position of a given car on a given circuit with given track conditions to go fast.

While learning the line, a student must devote attention to braking, turn in, apex, and track out points for each corner of the track. In addition he or she is trying to watch the flag stations, other traffic, the car's instruments, and the actual circuit surface conditions (gee... did that car up ahead pop its radiator hose and dump a stream of anti freeze right on the racing line you wanted to drive? ....Anti freeze on the track is slipperier than snot on a glass doorknob...)

It is this diversion of attention to these many different demands that can overwhelm a student on the track in the early phases of their track driving experience. The adrenaline starts pumping. However, over time, this ability to observe many different things becomes second nature. Then a driver can relax a bit. With this relaxation, a driver finds the ability to focus on numerous areas of attention. Watch some of the in-car videos with a professional Race driver driving with a camera and or passenger. They can be hauling a$$ and holding a conversation about something else. A Pro Driver has the ability to divide their attention to a lot of areas and not miss what is important.

My own driving experience kinda clicked for me when I was able to relax. I became more and more aware of the weight transfer of the car, and shifting that weight with not only the steering wheel, but with the throttle and the brakes as well. ( ...I need to tighten the line of this turn a bit... "lift" off the throttle right HERE to rotate the ass end out, and then back on the throttle to stick it back down) When you start steering the car with throttle and brakes as much as you do with the wheel, you are really starting to "haul the freight" so to speak. The car control skills really start to advance.

When the car is sliding around and "up on its tippytoes" in a dynamic condition, you are getting toward that 9/10 condition. A good track car will have a fairly broad "handling plateau" where the car can slide and yet still be under control. Since I am strictly an amateur and do this for my own amazement, I am happy as a clam if I can run at this "handling plateau" for a track event, not break anything and either drive it home or back on the trailer.

I am fortunate to have a dedicated track car with a cage and 5 point harnesses, that I can "wail on" and not worry too much about wrinking it. However, when I drive a nice street car on the track with street tires, I will back down a notch or two. They can be 'spensive to fix... It is still a hoot, but one must be realistic.

Lauren Fix ran the old Driving Ambitions driving school at Watkins Glen where my oldest son and I learned a lot. She had a saying that went something like this: Drive at your ability - not over it, and be happy with that. I have always tried to take that to heart.

I will need to re-learn quite a bit with the Subaru AWD. I look forward to the challenge.

Yours in speed,

TrackRat
 

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wie geht es ihnen?
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Discussion Starter #4
Doug, thanks. as always many words of wisdom...hope to remember it all at some point when laying hard into the throttle at turn one near pit-out!

good news is i'm generally very relaxed when tracking. that was the S4 however. not sure what the STi will bring on.

:D
 

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If you autox alot, you can learn how to judge when the car is on the edge, because you can push hard and the only threat is a spin. That way, when you start racing on a track, you have a feel of when the car is at the limit.
 
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