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Old 04-13-2009, 11:30 PM   #1
johnycakesg
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why do people say that autocrossers make good track drivers, but track drivers do not make good autocrossers?
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by johnycakesg View Post
why do people say that autocrossers make good track drivers, but track drivers do not make good autocrossers?
Because that's how it works. It would be like saying, "why do people say the sky is blue, and grass is green?" Well because.. they are.


Looking at data, drivers that go from autocrossing to roadracing do much better than drivers who come from roadracing and try autocrossing.


Why is it that way.. well probably plenty of reasons. My main theory is that autocrossers learn how to learn faster. They adapt to new situations faster, "see" the line (or in the case of wheel to wheel, the alternate line) Autocrossers deal with corners faster (corners per min) and as such, are trained to react and think faster.

Autocrossers are also tought countrol differently. I have seen the quote, "Most racers go too slow in the fast corners and too fast in the slow corners" attributed to a few different drivers, but autocrossers learn that discipline - how to get the most out without going over the edge, whereas roadracers get to make more mistakes and get away with it. When the roadracer goes autocrossing, these mistakes kill him, when the autocrosser goes roadracing, the precision only helps..


etc, etc..


Jon K
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:35 AM   #3
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Look... take a four (4) year old and put him in a grade 10 goemetry class - now keep him there until he either gets it and passes, or gives up and fails. now take that four year old that passed grade 10 geometry and put him in a kindergarden class... He's just gonna go: "WTF! Toy building blocks! What the hell do I do with these?"

Now,

Take a four (4) year old and put him in kindergarden, let him play with block and become acclimatized to the learning environment. By the time he's ready for grade 10, he's got a much better chance of getting a pass!







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Old 04-14-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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The HPDE/TT guys I know well, have a very hard time with autocrossing because everything happens too quickly. We don't chalk the courses, so they have a hard time finding their way around, by the time they do they've taken their 4/5/6 runs and its time to go home. The next time they come back, it's a totally different course and they have to start all over again. On a road course, the track never changes and they get 30mins per session to get it right, perhaps 15-20 tries at every corner, and they're easily identifiable as well.

Plus, autocrossers typically start at a younger age and learn the limits of their car early on and get acclimated to looking at a corner and disecting it within 2s in their head.

IMO of course...
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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For both auto-x and road racing, there are turn-in points, apexes, and track out points.

Auto-x will have about 40 of these within a minute.
Road racing has about 8-12 of these every 2-3 minutes.

Road racing traffic to contend with. The drivers senses are not only working on the line, but also the traffic around him, AND what the car is doing at any given point in time. That's a lot of brain processing for 20-30 min per session. Sometimes, the brain can only process 'so much'.
Auto-x doesn't. Driver only concentrates on the line, and what the car is doing... almost a state of hyperfocus. Since each run is less than 1 minute, the driver's brain doesn't get that overloaded.

Since things happen so fast in auto-x, but one can do 10-15 events year, a good driver becomes much more attuned to the car and what it is doing at any given point and starts to make minor adjustments unconciously. This translates very well to road racing in taking an 'off' line, and dealing with traffic to the point of not having to 'think' about it.

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Old 04-14-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
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I did hundreds of auto-x before moving to HPDE and eventually to road racing. I found AX was both good and bad. More good than bad in that you are used to the environment (Heat, helmet, car control, car prep, etc). The only downside is that AX people are generally not nearly as smooth as a pure Road Course person in the begining, they need to fight the urge to crank the wheel etc.

Overall any track time be it Autox or Road Course is good track time.

-mike
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnycakesg View Post
why do people say that autocrossers make good track drivers, but track drivers do not make good autocrossers?
This is wishful thinking that doesn't take the facts into account.
How successful are your road-racers before they tried solo?
How successful were your soloists before going to the track?

As a stepping stone, solo weeds out the slugs and they quit before going to the track.
For most amateur rich guys, racing is a hand to hand combat rather than a science project about handling, it is a war of wills.
Most (rich) guys who bypass solo and start their racing career right on the track would have a hard time ratcheting back to something as juvenile as making a fast turn into a driveway and usually quit before finding any value in learning an efficient way to do it.
Solo is pretty tame after dicing wheel to wheel and you have to be pretty dedicated to a quest to better understand vehicle dynamics to continue being harassed by the in-crowd while learning.
Road racers as a group are more welcoming and as long as a soloist is able to drink beer, they're OK with them.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:34 AM   #8
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To me, this always just seemed like something auto-xers made up I can see how auto-x helps hone your reflexes, car control, etc. but those are all skills that can be learned on the road course as well. If you ask me, road racers make good road racers.

That being said, there are a lot of great drivers who started out in auto-x and moved on to become road racing legends (Randy Pobst comes to mind). But there always seems to be an ongoing feud between auto-xers and road racers, and this statement always gets used. I just never got into auto-x because it's a lot of standing around and very little time in the car. It is good for the budget though.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:30 AM   #9
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Autox is a great sport in its own right.

Autox builds a good foundation of skills that you can leverage in other events, such as TT or W2W.

Autox skills are not required to become a good track driver.

The whole thing about track drivers not making good autoxers is not very relevant to anything.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
For both auto-x and road racing, there are turn-in points, apexes, and track out points.

Auto-x will have about 40 of these within a minute.
Road racing has about 8-12 of these every 2-3 minutes.

Road racing traffic to contend with. The drivers senses are not only working on the line, but also the traffic around him, AND what the car is doing at any given point in time. That's a lot of brain processing for 20-30 min per session. Sometimes, the brain can only process 'so much'.
Auto-x doesn't. Driver only concentrates on the line, and what the car is doing... almost a state of hyperfocus. Since each run is less than 1 minute, the driver's brain doesn't get that overloaded.

Since things happen so fast in auto-x, but one can do 10-15 events year, a good driver becomes much more attuned to the car and what it is doing at any given point and starts to make minor adjustments unconciously. This translates very well to road racing in taking an 'off' line, and dealing with traffic to the point of not having to 'think' about it.

--kC
You pretty much nailed it for me. I've only been involved in autoX for a year, so I've done a dozen or so events before I went to the track (Lime Rock) for the first time last weekend. When I got on the track, my brain was completely overloaded. There were corner workers with flags, cars in front of and behind me all going various speeds higher and lower than me on various points on the track, trying to keep the proper line and do this all in the rain was a helluva challenge. The simplest of driving actions that happen subconsciously on a normal day or autoX were eluding me. Several times I completely forgot to shift when I was on the main straight because I was so preoccupied wondering if the car ahead of me was going to give me a point by or if the car behind me was expecting one. I'm use to 2nd gear and go. My instructor said after my next event I'll be ready to move up to HPDE2, but I definitely disagree and wouldn't move up just for the hell of it if I wasn't ready. I felt like a lot of other cars held me up in the turns, but it was a heck of a different world to adapt to. Hopefully I get my act together next time (and that it doesn't rain and the track's not crammed full of cars).
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:28 PM   #11
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Both are different.. but I haven't really personally seen a auto x er chew up a track.. usually i see that they're very scared of turns above 60 mph.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:41 PM   #12
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To me, this always just seemed like something auto-xers made up
As an auto-xer I agree with this. I think they made it up because the majority are pissed they can't afford wheel to wheel. I know I am.

I can't afford a car totaling off otherwise I'd be there (I mean road racing not HPDE's). There are good drivers and bad drivers everywhere, some are drawn to each for whatever reason. Money, fear of hitting walls, seat time, community, etc.

Saying one disipline is better than the other is kinda silly.

It's like saying a bull doesn't make a very good cat.
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Old 04-14-2009, 02:47 PM   #13
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Good drivers are good whereever they are.

Bad Drivers are bad whereever they are.

The saying is pointless.

Car control is car control and you either have it or you don't.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Road racers as a group are more welcoming and as long as a soloist is able to drink beer, they're OK with them.
Completely depends on the part of the country you are in and/or what groups you are running with.

Here in the NW -- One of the local road racing groups is very much a "it takes a village to build a racecar" mentality. The other doesn't give S$@^ about the drivers, cars, spectators, etc (which is the reason why they are going under).

The autocrossers around here are great! Always helpful and a good group to hang out with.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:09 PM   #15
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I think the saying comes from the fact that road racers are experienced high-performance drivers, so there's a perception that they should be reasonably fast on an auto-x course out of the box. The reality is they're still novice autocrossers when they come out for an auto-x the first time. Compare them against a novice autocrosser with no performance driving experience at all, and they'll be a rockstar.

Autocrossers who are really good at road racing also generally do autocross for years and years first... And chances are they did a lot of their learning outside the autocross: driving on the street, go-karts, maybe a track day, hell even video games. If they spent those years road racing instead of autocrossing, they'd probably be a lot better off on a race track.

The skills that are worth more than anything else at an auto-x have nothing to do with car control. The ability to walk the course, memorize it, and pick the spots to focus on that really matter. The ability to look at all the pavement between the cones to see the line, rather than looking at the cones.

-Mike
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:26 PM   #16
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Completely depends on the part of the country you are in and/or what groups you are running with.

Here in the NW -- One of the local road racing groups is very much a "it takes a village to build a racecar" mentality. The other doesn't give S$@^ about the drivers, cars, spectators, etc (which is the reason why they are going under).

The autocrossers around here are great! Always helpful and a good group to hang out with.
Que?

who's going under steve? Its not SCCA so that leaves me with conf....
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:35 PM   #17
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The only downside is that AX people are generally not nearly as smooth as a pure Road Course person in the begining, they need to fight the urge to crank the wheel etc.
Agreed, I see this a lot with people I know that autocross. They are quick on a small autocross track at low speeds, but useless when it comes to high speed stuff (the ones I know). This can be attributed to not having the balls or smoothness needed for a road course. With autocross there is a lot more sawing at the wheel while road course has very little movement of the wheel. They are essentially the exact opposite of each other.

Quote:
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Both are different.. but I haven't really personally seen a auto x er chew up a track.. usually i see that they're very scared of turns above 60 mph.
Yep, some of the ones I know don't have the nerve needed for a road course. Cause truthfully there is a huge difference between the car control on an autox and that of a road course. Getting the tail out at 30-40 on an autox is childs play compared to getting the tail out at 100+ on a road course.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:47 PM   #18
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It's like saying a bull doesn't make a very good cat.


You know what they say...



If you ain't first, you're last.
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by LIQUIDSK8S View Post
With autocross there is a lot more sawing at the wheel while road course has very little movement of the wheel.
As a racing instructor, I can tell you we almost always can tell which students are autox-ers. We constantly have to tell them to slow their hands down and be smooth.

But more to the point of the thread, I am a road racer who JUST went autoXing for the first time. I went into it expecting to get schooled. I finished 3rd in a basically stock STI......in SM. The cars owner came in 2nd. He was also last years regional champ.

Granted James Paulson and Ryan Otis ('07 STU Nat. champ and runner up) were 1.5 sec faster in a stock class.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:01 AM   #20
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well, my two cents (probably being worth as much):
not really sure if auto-x veterans make better road racers than road race veterans make soloists, never seen any concrete evidence, but assuming (for the sake of arguement) that is the case, i would attribute it to the following.
Auto-x offers (in an average scenario) an opportunity to learn and use much more extreme car control techniques much more frequently. when I say extreme i mean greater steering angles, throttle transitions, more frequent direction changes, gear changes, etc. a soloist who can proportionately apply their skills on a track may have an advantage over a driver who drives exclusively on road courses. however that proper transition itself requires a great deal of talent.
i think its more likely however that road racers and auto-x drivers have different expectations of performance driving, auto-x tends to have more of a practice stigma and track events seem more like a release.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:21 AM   #21
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very interesting thread to read out...I think I'll have fun trying to adapt as I have done very little auto-x in my own car (maybe 10 days). Most all of my auto-x seat time, 95% or so, comes from formula SAE (so my corners came even faster but with more room)...so adapting to a fullsize car at speed is certain to have a steep learning curve for me...


...if I can ever wrap up my car
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:05 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterwaterfallin View Post
Que?

who's going under steve? Its not SCCA so that leaves me with conf....
NW Region is what I was referring to. OR region is strong so is Conference.

NW region race is on it's a$$, NW region auto-x on the other hand is thriving. The difference is the people involved.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:37 AM   #23
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Road racing is easy.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:57 AM   #24
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I think autox has helped me some at track days. I tend to brake later than some of my track day friends. I kill them in the slower sections of the track, but I am not as fast on the big highspeed sweepers. The earlier posters are correct(at least in my case) that turning in at 100+mph scares the carp outta me. I can really push the STi in an autox without much fear of wading up the car. On track, I slow down a few extra mph in the highspeed sections, just to be safe. Cone marks are easier to buff out than wall marks.

Joey
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:37 PM   #25
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I tend to brake later than some of my track day friends. Joey
The far majority of track day/HPDE drivers ARE NOT racers. There is a big difference. I've seen several fast track day people as they start racing, and they usually take a while to adapt.
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