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Old 12-04-2002, 10:50 PM   #1
NTlncer
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Default Driving tips and help plz

I Got a driving questions for all the people who actually participate in rally races and strive to improve their technique. Im 19 years old and extremely passionate about driving and love every moment I spent in my car and I wana learn as much as possible. My question is this … how did you start out ? how did you learn and how do you constantly improve your skill ? and where do you practice ? ive heard the not so original “go to a rally school” answer, well I don’t know of any good rally schools in the area of LI NY and hmm its just too much money for a college student ( I have seen almost 4 k for 4 days ). So I’m looking for alternative methods to becoming a better driver and working my way to some small competition driving.

Thanks in advance for all your help!
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Old 12-04-2002, 11:48 PM   #2
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Start auto-crossing. Of course, winter isn't exactly the best time to try to get into auto-crossing on Long Island, but you can dream about it until the season starts up again in the spring. http://www.autocross.com/autoc/neclub.shtml - I know there are a couple clubs that run on LI, look through the list for New York and see what you can find. A typical auto-x event will cost you $20 and will allow you start truly learning the limits of your car and your abilities. (Actually, you'll just be learning about your limits for the first year or two, then you'll start to learn about the limits of your car ).

I thought I was a really good driver (learned to drive on the backroads of New England). In the summer of '99 at the ripe old age of 26 I found out about auto-x racing through the i-Club, looked up the closest club that ran events (at the time I was in CT), and went to an event. I was instantly hooked. I'd spent plenty of time blasting down the backroads, and thought I was really flyin', but I had never pushed my car as hard as I did at that first auto-x. Since then I've gotten into open track events, too, and I know waaaaayyy more about car control now than I did three years ago.

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Old 12-05-2002, 12:35 AM   #3
NTlncer
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wow thanks alot i will def check it out hehe and untill spring il just save up money
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Old 12-05-2002, 03:17 AM   #4
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Yes, start with autocrossing and rallycrossing... Cheap events and wide spread, and you get to push your car to the limits without worrying about other cars on the track or walls to hit at insane speeds Its a great place to start.
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Old 12-05-2002, 09:04 AM   #5
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Another place to develop your basic skills (especially in winter) for not too much money is karting...

Don't know about LI specifically but indoor karting tracks are springing up all over the place. They've been very popular overseas (particularly the UK) for a while, but only recently seem to be catching on here... try a web search (Google, etc.) for one near you.

By the way, this isn't the "fun karts" you may more readily find... these are serious race-style karts (modified for the rental market)... for an example look at www.allsportsgp.com (this one's near DC)
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Old 12-05-2002, 09:36 AM   #6
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Well I'm not a rally driver but since I'm local maybe I can help you out on your "quest". There are a ton of places to auto-x around this (tri-state) area. You can easily participate every weekend of the spring - summer - fall if you really wanted to. Check out autox4u.com for a good beginner's guide as well as a ton of links to local clubs and a complete schedule of events in the area. You also might want to check out the tri-state area forum here on nasioc, there are a fair number of us that auto-x/rally-x/and participate in track days as well. The closest rally school to us is Team O'Neil Rally School . From everything I've heard / read its a great place to learn. For tarmac and the like there is always the Skip Barber School at Limerock in CT. These schools cost major $$$ though so you might need a few years to save up for them. I have yet to find a good karting place anywhere near me, but I'm still looking. I'll warn you ... once you start it can be addicting and very expensive. Someone once told me that racing is like standing in a wind tunnel tearing up $100 dollar bills. If you are very serious about auto-x'ing using your new car is probably a bad idea (although I do it). I'm building a dedicated car soon so I can beat on that instead on my yet-to-be paid off WRX.

hope to see you around,
mark

ps enjoy the SNOW!!!
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Old 12-05-2002, 12:19 PM   #7
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All these are good driving tips...It's worth mentioning that nearly every top rally driver started out in some other form of racing. Seat time is seat time, so I wouldn't limit yourself to only looking for rally driving opportunities.

Autocrosses, like the others have mentioned, are great, and even though there aren't any rally schools in your area (closest are Team O'Neil in NH, and Euro Rally school in VA), there are some race driving schools that are closer (for instance, Skip Barber at Lime Rock in CT). Look for open track days that offer instruction, http://www.scda1.com is a good place to start.

But, I should warn you, driving and racing aren't the same thing... Driving skill is obviously a prerequisite to racing, but driving is a hobby while racing is a lifestyle. It will consume your money, your time, your relationships-- in short, your life. Very rewarding, but the cost is high.

Best way to get involved in real rallying is to crew for someone; just show up to a rally service area and yell "Anybody need a crew member?!?" and you'll have a washrag and keys to a service truck thrown into your hands in a heartbeat. You can usually negotiate free transportation, lodging, and meals. If you're more ambitious, find someone who needs a co-driver-- there's always someone desparately posting on http://www.specialstage.com. Your only expense will be transportation, lodging, and often 1/2 the entry fee; somewhere around $200-300 total for the weekend. Contrast that with $1000-1500 to pay for one event as a driver, and that doesn't even include the cost of the car!

In general,
Driving = $$$
Racing = $$$ * $$$

either way, you'll need lots of $$$. $1000 per day is reasonable at any reputable driving school. Once again, a recommendation for open track days, they run around $200 for a day of driving + instruction.

The only other option is practicing corners in parking lots and on back roads. I don't recommend it much, because you'll upset the natives and probably break the law, but if you can't help yourself, at least do it safely away from the main roads and at night, when you can see oncoming headlights before you see the car. Still, expect to have plenty of $$$ in your pocket to pay for the inevitable accidents.

In the end, it's worth it...in 2 days I'll be co-driving in my 5th rally, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Last edited by jprowland; 12-05-2002 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 12-05-2002, 12:31 PM   #8
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Oh, btw, usually the Subaru guys in New England get together and work with Tim O'Neil to get a discount on the rally school. Their typical prices:

$150 - 1-day "safety school" (highly recommended for those on a budget!
$600 - 2-day rally school (1-day safety + 1 day additional); must use your own car


Anybody know if they're doing the rally school again this year? A lot cheaper than the $1300 or so that Tim usually charges...
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Old 12-05-2002, 01:45 PM   #9
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NTlncer,

What everyone before me has said is 100% true. Rallying looks like alot of fun but it will really hurt your wallet seeing as you will need to have a fully caged car and all the appropriate safety gear.

Autocross and Rallycross are lots of fun and alot cheaper and will teach you alot about your car without putting it in very much danger. I have just compleated my first full season of autocross and I am totally hooked. I can't wait until next season.

Track days are also nice but they can be alittle more costly than autocross but they will also teach you alot too. I would recomend doing a few autocrosses before venturing out onto a track though.

Z
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Old 12-05-2002, 03:03 PM   #10
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Default Not sure how the pros feel....

But I really enjoy TSD rallying, you might want to find the local scca and see if there are any in your area.

Basically TSD is like those funny drive around and look for stuff (or gimmick rallys as their called) except you are scored in hunderedths of a minite and you gain points if you are early or late at the check points. Carefull its a very exacting type of event, but a blast of a time.

Oh yea most any car is usually capable of competeing esp novice and stock class, you might want dirt tires, rally wheels, Diff Guard (duffguard all the way), skidplates, more lamps, etc.....

But you really dont need too much the entry fees are not high (25-40$) and you dont need a cage, suit, helmet etc.


Check out the road rally resource page.....

http://www.goss.com/rally.html

enjoy....


nick

rally on!
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Old 12-05-2002, 06:15 PM   #11
dknv
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Karting would be a good activity to seek out during the winter.

I started autocrossing in my friend's car last year, liked it so much & learned so much from it, that that is one of the reasons I bought a WRX this year. Besides auto-x all season, I've also driven it at driving (not racing) events at Laguna Seca, Sears Point, and Spring Mtn Raceway.

SCCA auto-x is a fairly inexpensive way to start, and chances are very good you can also make some good contacts to get you pointed in the direction of further racing.

I think it's also important to Ask for help, and remember that different people have different advice to share. And network with other driving enthusiasts whenever you get the chance. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2002, 09:57 PM   #12
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Hey all , well I would like to thank you for all the great advice that you have given me  hehe I most definitely be joining you all in the next season of auto-x season … but at first I might come and watch a few times just to get the feel for the action.

Heh damn I would probably kill to be a co driver in a rally I think I would learn soo much just from that ! but for now il keep on reading and trying things out in parking lots !.

Thanks again,
Chris
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Old 12-06-2002, 04:24 AM   #13
Patrick Olsen
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Mark - It's not exactly next door to Queens, NY, but check out www.karttrak.com in CT. I went there a number of times last year (the CART auto-x club ran a winter series at Kart Trak to tide us over during the "off season" ). The track isn't very big - lap times are in the 12sec range - but it's still pretty damn fun. The guys who run the place seemed really cool, they seemed to understand that with evenly matched karts on a tight course there's going to be some rubbin' and bumpin'. As long as it was kept in control they didn't mind. By comparison, I've heard that the guys at F1 Boston (which I never went to) are really, really anal, and any contact will get you pulled off the track.

Pat
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Old 12-06-2002, 04:44 AM   #14
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I don't know if it is easy for you to get to a racetrack, or if the tracks there even have it, but over here in Australia there are a few tracks that offer "track days" or "open days".
What it is basically is that they open the track for anyone who wants to go on, for a small fee, normally $80-$120 AUD. After an initial inspection of your car (just for little things) you can go out and do as many laps as you can, at your own pace. It's a good way to find out the limits of your ability and of the car in a safe environment, and also to learn about proper braking, accelerating etc and learning about lines and stuff. It's real fun, and also a very good learning experience. Once you know the basics of driving a car at the limit (either the car's or yours) you can apply it to other aspects of driving, or rallying.
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Old 12-06-2002, 11:45 AM   #15
jprowland
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Default Re: Not sure how the pros feel....

Quote:
Originally posted by LyveWRX
But I really enjoy TSD rallying, you might want to find the local scca and see if there are any in your area.

Basically TSD is like those funny drive around and look for stuff (or gimmick rallys as their called) except you are scored in hunderedths of a minite and you gain points if you are early or late at the check points. Carefull its a very exacting type of event, but a blast of a time.
TSD rallies are huge fun! They sound boring, since it uses open roads at or below the legal speed limit, but they're anything but. They are very intense, concentrating on nailing every time control, and still keep the driver involved and interested (and, you're going slow enough to enjoy the scenery!) And, most of the skills you pick up are transferrable to stage/performance rallying.

For a bigger thrill, try looking for "brisk" TSD rallies (often run at night, in the winter). Speeds here are chosen that are still legal but are difficult or even impossible to maintain. Often this will require a little bit more of an investment, since you're required to keep some safety equipment (tow rope, emergency triangles, etc.) and a set of auxillary driving lights is recommended, and often an overnight hotel stay is involved, but they don't require a fully prepped car with cage, etc. In fact, many of them won't let rally cars participate, since they're trying to maintain a "low profile..."

The Finger Lakes region of New York runs their winter rally series, once or twice each month during the winter. Speeds are high, navigational skill requirements are kept at a minimum-- a real driver's event!

http://www.flr-scca.com/rally/index.html
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Old 12-06-2002, 11:59 AM   #16
jprowland
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Quote:
Originally posted by NTlncer
Heh d*** I would probably kill to be a co driver in a rally I think I would learn soo much just from that ! but for now il keep on reading and trying things out in parking lots !.
My first experience with co-driving consisted of the following (note: I was already an SCCA member, but didn't have a rally license):

1. Received e-mail from Sawmill Clubrally organizer 2 weeks before event (I was on the mailing list)

2. Emailed back regarding taking the license class but not participating in event, organizer reqponding by suggesting co-driving since about 10 drivers still listed "TBD" for a co-driver

3. On Monday before event, decided to co-drive and saw a posting on SpecialStage.com for a driver looking for a co-driver. Gave him a call, and set everything up.

4. Stopped into Vermont Sports Car later that day (local rally shop), and they ordered a suit and helmet for me

5. Drove to event, camped out, applied for a license and took the licensing seminar, and co-drove to victory (actually, no, the car broke down on the 4th stage, but still a lot of fun!)

Total cost:
SCCA membership: $65
Rally license: $75
Suit: $400
Helmet: $200
Campground: $40 ?
Gas: $40 ?
Food: $50 ? (myself + wife, and I bought the driver's dinner on Fri night)

Total: $870

Since then, I've paid anywhere from $200 to $650 for a weekend of co-driving.

The driver paid the full entry fee in this case, I haven't been quite as lucky since...But, once you've gotten the initial costs out of the way, co-driving is not as bad of an expense. Usually you can split lodging costs with the driver, and you'll pay for gas and food.

You do learn a lot co-driving, but remember that most drivers aren't that good so you may not learn much driving technique, plus you'll be so busy keeping track of your co-driving responsibilities (in the first few events, anyway) that you won't have time to watch the driver actually DRIVE...even Nicki Grist (famous co-driver) said that there's a huge difference between sitting in the co-driver's and driver's seats, after trying a few rallies driving.
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