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Old 11-03-2008, 11:02 AM   #1
aschen
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Default video: any gurus feel like giving me advice?

I am not sure if this kind of thing is "socially acceptable" here but I'll try. ANyways, I sold the sti and got an elise about four months ago. It is an 05 without LSD and on street tires. I am struggling a bit to learn how to drive it (auto X). I have been much slower in it than I was in the suby (and I wasent that fast to begine with!). In order to get alot of free advice I bought a camera system from Cam-FX (nasioc vendor and awsome product). Here is the video. Any input is appreciated, and I am not a sensitive guy so be honest...

http://www.vimeo.com/2138581
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
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Your technique seems fine. I would recommend that you trust the car more going into sweepers. You should be able to enter sweeper with much higher speeds speeds in a lotus than in an STI. You can't power out of everything like you can in an STI. It's all about conserving momentum in a lotus. And it is very capable of doing so if you just brake less and trust the natural balance of the car.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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+12345

I had the same problems adjusting to a Miata after AutoXing an SIT for 2 years. A Miata is nowhere near your Lotus, but they're both momentum cars. One thing I learned with the Miata is to be more delicate with input and, as Jake said, conserve your momentum. I thrash the wheel on the STI to get it to rotate, but doing the same action on a lighter RWD car made me scrub speed and create excessive oversteer. It's fun, but it's not fast.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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Pick up a data logger also. This way you can combine the video with the data of what you're doing and see what's going on.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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I went to an BS RX-8 from a DS WRX and it's been a real uphill battle -- but I am slowly picking up speed. Some things that jumped out at me from the video:
  • Get on the gas sooner
  • Look ahead more on course to set your car up better for the next element
  • Don't give up so much speed when going through offsets
  • Apply smoother inputs with the steering wheel
  • Get closer to those cones!
How many times have you spun the car? If you can still think of a number, you haven't spun it enough. Find the limits of the car and keep the car at those limits run after run. You need to be able to use your senses of hearing, sight and touch to read what the four contact patches are doing and know when you have more traction available or when you need to back off.

Good luck. The Elise is a go-cart in street clothes. Drive it as such. If you have a local hotshoe in who drives a rwd speed maintenance car (e.g. ES MR-2, AS S2000, STS2 miata), offer them a co-drive in your car. Ride with them and see what they do differently.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiketkd View Post
How many times have you spun the car? If you can still think of a number, you haven't spun it enough.
Hahaha. Very true! I've only had my FD RX7 at ~10 events. I cant tell you how many times I've spun it. All is know is it's been progressively less each event. I'm getting faster too.

Spin it or sell it!
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:19 PM   #7
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Spin it or sell it!
its been around 4 times in 5 events, including yesterday. I guess I can still count them so more work for me!
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:22 PM   #8
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I was working that last 2-cone slalom when you were driving....get on the gas more! That whole course was about being on-throttle, there were so few actual elements that required braking for (other than the plant the nose), it was more just motoring around very quickly. If you ever need help driving that Elise, let me know

Here is another video from the same course, with a 52.5XX lap in a Mazdaspeed3 on corded tires-- http://vimeo.com/2136599

On a product support note-- use that LCD screen to aim the camera Also, go in the Menu and remove the OSD (on screen display), it will get rid of the date/time stamp....you probably did not have a ton of time to play around with it :P
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
its been around 4 times in 5 events, including yesterday. I guess I can still count them so more work for me!
You're on the right track.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:25 PM   #10
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I appreciate the rest of the input. I have been trying to concentrate on being smoother with throttle imputs, but I think my steering needs alot of work. It looks like I am sawing at the wheel abit in the video. I also agree that I need to be more agressive through transitions, I dont think I am taking advantage of the elises inherent strenghts. I know the car could carry more speed everywhere. Again thanks for the advice and aditional input is appreciated.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aschen View Post
its been around 4 times in 5 events, including yesterday. I guess I can still count them so more work for me!
At a recent 2-day event I spun my car that many times at that one event. In my quest to get faster in my RX-8, I'm always trying to drive her at 100% - sometimes I'm under the limit, other times I'm over. But I'm *slowly* starting to get a 6th sense as to where that limit is.

I think Andy Hollis mentions in his 10 Autocross Tips -- placement first, then speed. This is crucial in driving a momentum car well. Your car has to be in the right position on course -- you don't have the brute power of a vette or Shelby to cover up your mistakes.
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Originally Posted by S1MPSONS View Post
You're on the right track.
+1 He's definitely on the right path!
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiketkd
Get on the gas sooner
I told you that when you BOUGHT it.

--kC
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
I told you that when you BOUGHT it.

--kC
Oh, I remember! In the dry I can almost not get on the gas early enough, in the wet, early gas input is the cause of ~60% of my spins.

In the last month, I've found that the RX-8 really comes alive when driven at 10/10ths. It doesn't scare me, but I get this sense of calm that comes over me.

My thought process typically goes like: "offset gate coming up...quick lift...back on the GAS...GO, GO, GO!!!....look ahead...start turning in...don't lift...stay ahead of the course...here comes the slalom...ATTACK IT!!!...don't lift...here's the finish...steady arc...on the gas...BRAKE.

NT's and Nats only for me next year - no more pro solos/pro finale for a while (except the DC pro).
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiketkd View Post
  • Get on the gas sooner
  • Look ahead more on course to set your car up better for the next element
  • Don't give up so much speed when going through offsets
  • Apply smoother inputs with the steering wheel
  • Get closer to those cones!
.
Gonna print this out and bring it along next time.............
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:14 PM   #15
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Just listening to the video it sounds like you need to smooth out your throttle. It's on/off and nothing in between.

I also don't know what kind of tires you're running but I didn't hear them squeal...at...all. You need to push it more!
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:28 PM   #16
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Chike's first post nailed it. First, get the car in the right position. You can't go fast if you're fighting to get the car back to the next element. Second, get on the loud pedal when you can, and on the brake when it helps you get to the loud pedal sooner or longer. Both of those require looking ahead more. I saw 1 turn where you turned your head enough. The rest of the time your head was mostly straight forward. In an Elise, you'll know you're looking ahead enough because you'll find yourself "bobbing" your head as your line of site passes through those thick a-pillars. Your steering inputs are HUGE and late. Get the input earlier, more smoothly, and less. With the blistering quick steering rack in that car, you don't need much input at all to turn the car IF you get it in early enough and smoothly enough. That light front end means it is super easy to spike the loading of the tire and reduce front grip. Throttle/brake inputs seemed fairly smooth, though the throttle pickup was late (40% because the wheel was turned too much and throttle would have spun it, 60% because the car was in the wrong spot, both because you weren't looking far enough ahead). Me likey that camera setup though!
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
Me likey that camera setup though!
Thanks Nate! http://www.cam-fx.com/Products/racersPackage.htm
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
Chike's first post nailed it. First, get the car in the right position. You can't go fast if you're fighting to get the car back to the next element. Second, get on the loud pedal when you can, and on the brake when it helps you get to the loud pedal sooner or longer. Both of those require looking ahead more. I saw 1 turn where you turned your head enough. The rest of the time your head was mostly straight forward. In an Elise, you'll know you're looking ahead enough because you'll find yourself "bobbing" your head as your line of site passes through those thick a-pillars. Your steering inputs are HUGE and late. Get the input earlier, more smoothly, and less. With the blistering quick steering rack in that car, you don't need much input at all to turn the car IF you get it in early enough and smoothly enough. That light front end means it is super easy to spike the loading of the tire and reduce front grip. Throttle/brake inputs seemed fairly smooth, though the throttle pickup was late (40% because the wheel was turned too much and throttle would have spun it, 60% because the car was in the wrong spot, both because you weren't looking far enough ahead). Me likey that camera setup though!
Runs and cries...Nah this is just the kind of advice I was hoping to get. I know I dont have much talent for autocross but I want to get better, hence the camera purchase. Rest assured your time wont be wasted and I will take these sudgestions to heart. I have to wait a whole month to try them out though .

And yes the cam fx camera system is the bees knees. I sudgest anybody looking for camera gear suports our nasioc vendor and goes for one of James's systems. I suspect with advice like I am getting here it is a worthwhile investment. It literally took me about 3 min to figure out how to work it and it has absolutely everything you need in one box.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:37 AM   #19
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Aaron,

One video that years ago truly showed me how the importance of speed maintenance and looking ahead was the following which shows the two-time STU national champ Brandon Burkhart behind the wheel of his '04 STi:

http://videos.streetfire.net/video/L...pril_38355.htm

Watch the entire video -- look at the 34.9 & 34.8 times he turns on his first two runs and then see what he does differently when he runs a 33.6 and 34.0 on his final two runs. He runs roughly the same lines on all 4 runs -- the difference was the amount of speed he was maintaining in sweepers/corners. Also, the faster he went the more he looked ahead on course. Very few on this forum can drive at this level, but the only way to be able to do this is by knowing/trusting what your car will do at the limit when it loses traction.

Enjoy!!!
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:04 PM   #20
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aschen, sorry if my post seemed to blunt. I don't do much of the positive reinforcement normally, as in my mind, it's less productive then suggestions on how to improve that which I'm doing wrong. I give advice how I like to receive it. Glad to see that you aren't letting ego or pride cause you to ignore any advice that is given. Keep that attitude and you'll improve quickly.

Chike, you know what I saw in Brandon's video? On his first two runs, the initial steering input is abrupt and there is large amounts of hesitation. Later runs, his confidence improves and the multiple steering inputs reduce dramatically. As a result, he is MUCH closer to the cones (particularly in the slaloms/offsets) and runs a tighter line in the big sweepers.

I've data logged a ton of runs, and with the new car this year, I've had to figure out what works and what doesn't. The idea of carrying more speed through the corners, while valid, doesn't find you big time on course. Most of the time, it causes your front tires to over heat and forces you to wait to get on the throttle. I've driven momentum cars with no power or grip and learned that getting the steering wheel straight ASAP is critical to going fast. I forgot that this year, and it showed as I progressively got slower and slower as the year progressed. I was trying to hard, and while more corner entry speeds were stellar, I was forced to hold the steering input longer.

The lightbulb didn't come on until the Toledo Pro this year. The course had a simple lane change in that I could take without lifting. While reviewing my logs after the event, I noticed an odd flattening of the speed vs. time curve. I went back and reviewed the longitudinal acceleration trace for that area and discovered that there was a noticeable reduction in long. accel. when the wheel turned. *lightbulb* You know how they say "loose is fast"? There is your reason why. And the reason why carrying more speed into corners ISN'T the best way to reduce your times.

The fastest runs I make have me in corners the least amount of time. Get it in, get it stopped, get it turned, and get OUT OF THERE! The more time you spend with that steering wheel turned, the slower you will be 99% of the time.

Note that I'm speaking of pure corners. Multiple corners that stream together are a completely different animal. Those require you figuring out just how much to give up and when to go fast, and driving point to point in those scenarios is a recipe for SLOW.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
Chike, you know what I saw in Brandon's video? On his first two runs, the initial steering input is abrupt and there is large amounts of hesitation. Later runs, his confidence improves and the multiple steering inputs reduce dramatically. As a result, he is MUCH closer to the cones (particularly in the slaloms/offsets) and runs a tighter line in the big sweepers.
Nate,

Good points. Brandon definitely keeps the steering wheel steadier on his last two runs. Seeing the way he handles the car as he goes through those walls/offsets that lead to the finish is amazing! The car is sliding, tires are squealing...but he manages to just guide her smoothly through there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
The fastest runs I make have me in corners the least amount of time. Get it in, get it stopped, get it turned, and get OUT OF THERE! The more time you spend with that steering wheel turned, the slower you will be 99% of the time.

Note that I'm speaking of pure corners. Multiple corners that stream together are a completely different animal. Those require you figuring out just how much to give up and when to go fast, and driving point to point in those scenarios is a recipe for SLOW.
Very, very true. I'm still learning this principle, but I've definitely found that the straighter I'm able to keep my steering wheel on course, the faster my times become.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:32 PM   #22
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I have seen the videos before I think but I am going to analyze them more closely when I get home tonite, to see the points you make. I remember being in awe of his skillz, though.

Solo yer post did not seem harsh, I was just messin around. I dont need an internet board to tell me I need help being 5+ seconds behind topp SS times. I can only blame so much on tires, I know where the real fault lies. The bottom line is I do this for fun and to learn about driving. An elise that doesnt get to do some racing every now and then is a sad little guy as well. What I do need an internet board for is to get advice on how to get better, and you guys are dooing a great job there. Now hopfully I can implement said advice effectivly.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:58 PM   #23
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One thing that I notice is that you do a lot with the steering but you remain very static with the throttle. Try using more throttle and less steer. Spinning out is a problem of trying to be heavy with the steering and getting heavy on the throttle at the same time. Many times, you can rotate the car with the throttle and really use very, very little steering.

We have several test and tune days for a local regional auto-x club. They're pretty much open, do as you please events where you work a couple hours and do as you please the rest of the time. This includes ride alongs and driving other peoples cars which is a lot of fun. A LOT of what I see are people who are very heavy fisted with the steering wheel, people who are not smooth and use a lot of jerking motions to get the car to rotate. An example is one particular guy I rode along with in a stock S2000. He drove the car ok but was weirdly jerky with the steering, cranking it hard into corners to sort of toss the car around. He let my drive the car a couple runs. When I drove it, it was competely different then what he did. I used almost no steering on the car, didn't need it, but was always heavy into the brake or throttle on corners. The difference was that one could make much more use of on-power time by making much less use of steering time. Steer as much as needed but brake late and hard and get on the throttle as soon and as much as possible. The fastest lap around a course is the lap you input as much power as possible and bleed off as little as needed. This means your throttle is only interrupted by heavy braking or times of constant throttle during a sweeping turn. Every other time, it should be pressed to the floor. In your video, you seemed to go pretty easy on the throttle. This means you are not putting as much energy as you could have to progress yourself to the end goal. A fast run will be a run that you feel you are going too fast all the time.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:56 PM   #24
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Quote:
Steer as much as needed but brake late and hard and get on the throttle as soon and as much as possible.
This is not always fast and sometimes unsettles the car too much, especially the hard braking. Sometimes, you don't brake hard into a corner all at once, but bleed it off a little earlier to settle the car a little better, which opens a greater opportunity to a) not *miss* your braking point and/or b) not overshoot your turn-in point.

Coming in at 100%, you have to have your braking 100% accurate with a brake late/hard approach. Have you ever tried bleeding off speed a little earlier, setting the car, and powering though a corner? It has a special set of rewards, specifically knowing what the front tires are doing when you turn in at a little higher speed.

But, if that's what works for you. There's no 100% right way to auto-x.

--kC
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:50 PM   #25
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Ok so I did my homework and studied the video. Now I have a question for the profs. Should/can something like an elise (on street tires) be autocrossed with the same kind of slip angles and tires singing like the suby video? My impression of driving the car so far is that any sliding scrubs off alot of speed and that there is not an excess of power to waste any.
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