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Old 11-21-2005, 03:36 PM   #1
Durmiente
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Default advice needed: road racing for first time

Hi,

i have a 2002 wrx wagon and this weekend i should be taking it out on a road course for the first time... it all depends on if my school's car club still has the track rented.

i was just going to ask for some advice for my first time out on the track. my experience is fairly limited, althouhg i am really comfortable with my car at low speeds - i used to rally cross it (not officially) and I have done non-scca autocross-like races as well as one SCCA Solo II event in it. all of those experiences were less than 40 mph, though. I havent cornered my car too much at high speeds yet, save for the occasional onramp or twistie road I heard that this course will limit us to 80 mph at tops.

what advice does anyone have for me in terms of how to drive/what to expect?

btw the car is pretty much stock except for some pirelli pzero nero (all seasons) and an intake filter + resonator hack.

EDIT: This link has a pic of the course from the air so you can have an idea of what it is... the road course uses the top and bottom of the oval. the pic is at the bottom of the page.

http://www.sandiamotorsports.com/map.htm
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Last edited by Durmiente; 11-21-2005 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:44 PM   #2
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Besides don't do it without an instructor, I would do...

1) New brake fluid.
2) New brake pads
3) Maybe New rotors if you haven't bought new ones recently.

What to expect is a fun time if you have the right equipment to make the best of your time and good instructors to help you make use of the car/track/time on course.


--kC
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:45 PM   #3
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Advice:
http://www.honda-tech.com/zerothread?id=972109

Also taking your car out on track for a DE is not considered "road racing"
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GQ
Advice:
http://www.honda-tech.com/zerothread?id=972109

Also taking your car out on track for a DE is not considered "road racing"
Yarrr... I think it's funny we're linking to other boards stickies!
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:48 PM   #5
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Check all fluid levels and tire pressure. I am not sure what the best pressure would be but suspect that it should be higher than normal. Obviously check the car over to be sure everything is bolted down firmly. Other wise, keep your cool while driving and don't pretend that you will get an F1 contract out of this "driver test." :-)

And have fun.

ETA, as others noted, fresh brake flush/fluid is a good idea too.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:50 PM   #6
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I know, but the Honda-Tech RoadRacing/Autocross forum is the best I have read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KC
Yarrr... I think it's funny we're linking to other boards stickies!
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GQ
Also taking your car out on track for a DE is not considered "road racing"
Nor is driving on a dirt road considered "rally cross (not officially)"

But yeah, brake pads/fluid flush, check to make sure you have plenty of oil and coolant, power steering fluid etc...

Make sure the tires are good, with plenty of tread. Don't drive on flat fixed tires, so if you ever had a puncture fixed, don't drive on it at the track.

Other then that, be safe and only go as fast as you feel comfortable.
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Old 11-21-2005, 05:09 PM   #8
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My $0.02: At low speeds you get used to the car understeering or pushing a bit as you take turns. Imagine my suprise the first time I took an autocross sweeper at 50 mph and found the back coming around! Things change as the speeds increase and you can get into a lot of trouble at 80 mph! Be very careful.
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:23 AM   #9
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thanks for the advice... i still dont really know if its happening or not but we will see.

i was looking more for advice on how to drive. this is just a school thing so we arent going to have instuctors, so i am pretty much going to do it by myself, so i was looking for some tips (in terms of when/how hard to brake, shift points, maybe also what gear is good to go through particular turns in) but i know its a bit hard to give that info if you've never driven that course before.

what is road racing then? i always thought that was the definition of it (maybe i meant road course).

oh and my rally experience was basically setting up a dirt track in an abandoned quary with cones and whatnot, so it was more like rallycross than driving on a dirt road.
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Old 11-22-2005, 07:38 AM   #10
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"Racing" is when you are competing with others for position, wheel to wheel. If you aren't competing against someone (which you shouldn't be) then I wouldn't call it "racing."
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Old 11-22-2005, 08:05 AM   #11
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This is a great write up:

http://redlinerennsport.homestead.com/DriversEdEd.html

Without an instructor you will learn very little. Hopefully you will at least have classroom instruction. Focus on learning the line and being smooth while you are on track. Smooth shifts, smooth steering input, smooth braking, smooth throttle application. Learning these two aspects will fill your day.
Have Fun

Last edited by GQ; 11-22-2005 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 11-22-2005, 08:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durmiente
thanks for the advice... i still dont really know if its happening or not but we will see.

i was looking more for advice on how to drive. this is just a school thing so we arent going to have instuctors, so i am pretty much going to do it by myself, so i was looking for some tips (in terms of when/how hard to brake, shift points, maybe also what gear is good to go through particular turns in) but i know its a bit hard to give that info if you've never driven that course before.

what is road racing then? i always thought that was the definition of it (maybe i meant road course).

oh and my rally experience was basically setting up a dirt track in an abandoned quary with cones and whatnot, so it was more like rallycross than driving on a dirt road.
So let me get this straight... your school is going to let inexperienced kids take their own personal cars out on a road course without any prior instruction, without any instructors?

Sounds like a recepie for disaster IMHO and no amount of telling you how to do it here on this forum will help you at all other than to say:
1) Start braking early... earlier than you think you should...
2) Brake progressively (start soft then go harder... don't jab the brakes)
3) same with the gas.. don't stab the gas suddenly... feed into it
4) Smooth inputs on the steering wheel. Don't just turn the wheel expecting to turn at speed. You'll just end up going straight
5) Don't brake and turn at the same time.. finish your braking before you initiate the turn.
6) Don't turn and lift.. you'll end up looking the way you just came

Here's an exercise you can do right now sitting in your chair:

Your tires can only do 100% of what you tell them to do. 100% braking, 100% turning, or 100% accellerating. They can not do more than that or they slide. What this means is you can do various combinations up to 100% of effort. 75% gas with 25% turning. 75% brake with 25% turning. 85% turn with 15% gas. Get the picture?

How does one know they're not doing over 100%?

Right now, sitting there pretend you're holding a steering wheel and you're in a car.
Imagine now... there's a string tied from the bottom of the steering wheel to your right foot.
When you turn the wheel, it lifts the foot off the gas (again... slowly and smoothly *NOT SUDDENLY*. There are no 'emergencies' like dodging grandmas crossing the road.)
When you start feeding out of the turn (turning the wheel back to center), your foot goes down the same amount the string allows.

Same with braking...
Most, if not all at your stage of driving skill, of your braking should be done before you enter the turn. 100% braking means your tires had better be pointing straight.

As you back off the braking, you can start dialing in some steering... remember the string... As you back off the brakes, you can dial in some steering.. just don't LIFT off the brakes and turn the wheel suddenly 100%... it doesn't work.

Then work the gas and brake with the wheel trying to never overcome the 100% that the tires can provide.

If I was your school... I'd make sure there was going to be an instructor... why? Insurance hardly ever covers open track days without instruction... something to keep in mind.

Oh... and 'Road Racing' means other cars at the same time on a track trying to be 1st across the finish line or fastest time on course.

You're doing what is called 'lapping day' which means open track, probably no passing in corners or without a point-by in the very least... and most likely not timed. The element of being '1st' is removed from the equasion.. so it's not 'racing'.

Hope this helps... keep the shiny side up.

--kC

Last edited by KC; 11-22-2005 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:15 AM   #13
Paisan
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My guess is there will be instructors. I haven't been to an HPDE that doesn't have them.

-mike
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:30 AM   #14
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wow!! thanks, that was some good advice (especially the thing with the string and steering wheel, i can really see that.

to clarify a few things, technically its not a school sponsored event.... its just an event that our car club is doing. Technically the school isnt really allowing it or anything because we have left over money from last year that we have to use up. Its not officially a school event by any means.

it will be awesome if there are instructors there... i really have no idea what to expect. All i know is that we rented out the track for 3 hours just like any car club would... whether that comes with instruction or not is beyond me.
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:00 PM   #15
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use ALL the track. late apex. Use sticky tire or it's not going to be as fun (I run re070's)
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Old 11-22-2005, 12:44 PM   #16
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You've got to hope that there are some experienced people from your car club that will insist on some controls on how people drive or it will be a free for all! For example, your group must agree on controls for passing - you don't want someone trying to out brake you for a corner or playing racer with you anywhere near them.

It's going to be so easy to start out conservatively then get caught up in the moment and be pushing too much.
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Old 11-22-2005, 01:01 PM   #17
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Check all the blah, blah as above
get an instructor
Be smooth
drive slowly and work up to a reasonable speed
No attitude
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Old 11-22-2005, 01:37 PM   #18
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Do not go if there are no instructors, and there are other novices out there like you. You won't be learning anything and there's a very high chance of on-course incidence.

I am not joking. I have done many track days, and I'm doing another one this weekend. So please take my advice. I for sure wouldn't take my car out on a course sharing a course with you. Nothing personal, as I was a novice once too.

Go to a proper event at a well-controlled environment and instructors.
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Old 11-22-2005, 05:17 PM   #19
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no instructors + track = don't run
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Old 11-23-2005, 04:02 PM   #20
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yeah. we are actually only going to run 1-2 cars on the track at a time. if its 2, then we will be placing them on opposite sides of the 1.65 mile track. so it should be safe in that respect. plus there is literally no more than 5 of us that have the track for 3 hours, so we dont need to squeeze anyone in, we will have PLENTY of time even if we run one at a time... so it should be pretty safe

i am currently looking into seeing if anyone in the club is willing to invite some SCCA autocross guys out there to be "instructors". i figure that they wouldnt mind riding with us and giving us tips if we let them race the track for free in return...
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Old 11-23-2005, 04:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC
2) Brake progressively (start soft then go harder... don't jab the brakes)
--kC
Actually, I've been told (by a driving instructor) that you should break full strength and then ease off it as you approach a corner.
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:11 PM   #22
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I think the braking issue is in two pieces:

1) apply the brakes gradually rather than in a sudden, stabbing motion
2) brake hard early to give yourself more room for error

Neither contradicts the other, so you're both right
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Old 11-24-2005, 08:42 AM   #23
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I just came back from my second school day and a few of the best pointers I got were: Get 80% of your braking done in the first 20% of the braking zone. When you're braking, BRAKE. When it's time to downshift, get it done. You always want the clutch out except when the gearshift is actually moving. And, be smooth smooth smooth. The fastest laps are the the ones that everything just flows on, not the ones where you're really working.
Oh, and 4 wheel drifts are fun, but they eat a ton of speed and tires at the same time.
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Old 11-24-2005, 06:02 PM   #24
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All good advise above

Only one I have and its the first rule of any track day.

At the end of the day you have to drive your car home.

^^^^^^^^^^^
Do not forget this
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Old 11-24-2005, 06:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombat North
All good advise above

Only one I have and its the first rule of any track day.

At the end of the day you have to drive your car home.

^^^^^^^^^^^
Do not forget this
What, AAA isn't and option?

--kC
(Towed his car the 1st track day.... to and from the track on his own trailer.b)
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