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Old 09-11-2009, 01:12 PM   #1
Garandman
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Default Slalom Technique?

I've seen two schools of thought for slaloms and wanted to get some perspective.

Most everyone suggests a late apex to be able to apply more throttle between cones. The idea being to get the turning done earlier so you can be power-on to the next cone.

The alternative technique might be called the "smooth line." The way this was taught to me was that you should maintain a steady throttle through a slalom so that you do not weight or unweight either end of the car. This allows you to transition between left and right turns with maximum cornering force, and is the shortest distance through the slalom.

It seems to me that accelerating and decelerating a WRX through a tight slalom would be quite challenging, even done smoothly. Can this really be done, or should I just get the car settled and concentrate on being smooth through the slalom, with neutral throttle?
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:24 PM   #2
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I've always left foot braked through them whenever possible, with steady throttle input. Most people turn too late.

This is providing that the slalom itself is consistent. Often you'll find that the distance between cones isn't as even as you might expect.
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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I'm a fan of the smooth line with application of lfb if necessary on constant slalom
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
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Always backside the cones. Remember that you don't typically need to backside the last one, so you can get on the gas harder before you are out of the slalom

For me, constant throttle for a tight slalom. For wider slaloms, modulate the throttle - lift for turn in, more gas between.

I've never been able to LFB, it's like brushing my teeth with my left hand.
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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1) Backside
2) Constant, steady throttle (no speeding up or slowing down) pick your entry speed and stick to it until the 3rd to 2nd last cone. Done right with a slalom with cones the same spacing apart, you should not have to lift/gas at all.
3) Ride with me tomorrow.

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Old 09-11-2009, 06:36 PM   #6
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yeah spacing of the cones really matters for how your going to attack it....and what speeds you can achieve in that particular slalom. So how far apart are the ones your going through?
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Old 09-11-2009, 06:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjjantz View Post
yeah spacing of the cones really matters for how your going to attack it....and what speeds you can achieve in that particular slalom. So how far apart are the ones your going through?
He'll know tomorrow. I think it was just another general question.

Opens or closes, it doesn't matter really... pick your speed and keep it (or scrub it off) Increasing and or braking will upset the car (anywhere from minimally to a lot) and destabilize it, and the slalom is the last place you want to upset a car with the sawing of the wheel left-right-left-i got it!-flip.

--kC
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:15 PM   #8
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For short-spaced slalom intervals, an even pace works best for me. For longer, higher-speed slaloms, I find myself lifting (my car is set up to dive in on throttle lift) as I backside the cone. I prefer to take a slalom lower in the rpm range, so that my turbo is less likely to spool and upset my suspension. Plus, when I get on it at the end of the slalom (as most are set up to do), I get a bit of boost spike and a long, hard pull to get me to the next obstacle.

I have never been able to left foot brake in quick tight maneuvers. Maybe someday (with enough practice).....
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:22 PM   #9
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One thing I learned from an EVO school years ago was to start slaloming at the first cone to start your rhythm. In other words start turning at the 1st cone. Many people drive past the 1st cone and start slaloming at the 2nd cone.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbwrx View Post
One thing I learned from an EVO school years ago was to start slaloming at the first cone to start your rhythm. In other words start turning at the 1st cone. Many people drive past the 1st cone and start slaloming at the 2nd cone.
That's interesting. Does this advice vary depending on the approach? Or maybe I'm one of the "many" doing it wrong.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea View Post
That's interesting. Does this advice vary depending on the approach? Or maybe I'm one of the "many" doing it wrong.
Another "many" here. Why would I drive around an extra cone instead of aiming straight passed it and starting the slalom at the second cone, course permitting and like most IMO.
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #12
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My answer 'it depends'

It's really course/car/driver dependent.

Eg at the Peru Tour there was a longish slalom that spun both myself and my co-driver out in the civic the first time. I was using the lift-throttle technique, he was LFB. What we came up with from that point was to dive in hard on the 2nd cone under braking, then accelerate through the rest of the slalom at partial throttle.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbwrx View Post
One thing I learned from an EVO school years ago was to start slaloming at the first cone to start your rhythm. In other words start turning at the 1st cone. Many people drive past the 1st cone and start slaloming at the 2nd cone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea View Post
That's interesting. Does this advice vary depending on the approach? Or maybe I'm one of the "many" doing it wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuskenraider View Post
Another "many" here. Why would I drive around an extra cone instead of aiming straight passed it and starting the slalom at the second cone, course permitting and like most IMO.
If there's only three cones, all that matters is getting around cone number 2. If there's more than three, getting to the backside of the 1st cone is crucial. If you're off the 1st cones backside, you're already too 'late' to get to the backside of the 2nd cone... and then you'll either be a) slow or b) off-line to the 3rd cone (and subsequent) because of it.

You want to late-apex as much as possible.

--kC
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:46 PM   #14
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What I was talking about depends on course and driver plus many other things. The concept that I mentioned has helped me with slaloms. Not saying that anyone is doing it wrong. It is just something else to consider/try and if it works for you then great.

Last edited by gbwrx; 09-14-2009 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #15
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The #1 best thing you can do is read ahead.

You will run into the biggest problems trying to go around a cone at the cone. If you read ahead, you will automatically set yourself up on the proper line and transition through the slalom smoothly, or any other part of the course for that matter.

Once you get used to reading ahead on a course, other things can start to fall into place. This includes a quick entry, appropriate exit, tight lines, and use of throttle/brake. Entry and exit will vary depending upon the rest of the course. Some slaloms allow entry from either side and one side will end up faster for you. You'll have to decide what's best upon the course walk or maybe during the first couple runs if you can afford it.

Reading ahead seems to be the hardest aspect to overcome by most folks, and it causes the biggest problems. The second hardest is probably keeping the line tight and without plowing down a pile of cones , but that's a little more a matter of learning the size of your car.

A small note. Not all slaloms are created equal. Some are not straight but rather kinked. The cone spacing may also vary. It's useful to walk the course and count steps between each cone. For example, the beginning of the slalom might be pretty openly spaced, but the end may be 20% closer together. It's not something you'll immediately see just driving the course. You'll just find yourself overcooking the last few cones. Walk the slalom, count steps, and keep note of that as you drive through it.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
If you read ahead, you will automatically set yourself up on the proper line
I'm not trying to be a PITA, but I don't think that's true. I agree that reading ahead is the first thing to learn, and you can't really do much without it. However, once you're reading ahead, you can still pick the wrong line or wrong driver inputs.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:23 PM   #17
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True, you can still be wrong, but you will much more naturally progress through the course. I'll agree in saying that it may not be the fastest and is not simply the end-all to everything, but I'll stand by my saying in that typically it will be decent. And yes, you can still drive a car very crappy. I have a friend who's great at that. Transitioning back to the slalom specifically, it's just that I personally feel it's the biggest potential problem point.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:40 PM   #18
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You absolutely DO want to set up for the slalom properly, and that means backsiding the first cone about 99% of the time. It allows you to develop a rhythm which is key to quickly navigating the slalom without getting "behind".

I think the last thing you would want to do is "drive past" the first cone in the slalom, as it almost certainly will put you behind in your rhythm for the rest of the slalom.

I have designed many courses, and I have studied course design for years.One trick that course designers like to do is to have an angled approach to a slalom, with a fairly open (undefined) area to set up for the slalom. This causes no end of grief for inexperienced drivers, as they tend to drive "cone-to-cone" and fail to set up properly. As a result they are behind for the entire slalom.

One of the toughest slaloms I have ever driven was placed at the end of a relatively long, straight, high-speed straight. There were absolutely no visual references for braking point to slow in time to get into the slalom properly. It was devilish course design - simple but extremely challenging.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:18 AM   #19
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All this talk of "reading ahead"... what are you reading? War and Peace? Speed Secrets? Do you skip the middle of the book and just read who killed Professor Plum?

I prefer *looking ahead* myself.

--kC
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
1) Backside
2) Constant, steady throttle (no speeding up or slowing down) pick your entry speed and stick to it until the 3rd to 2nd last cone. Done right with a slalom with cones the same spacing apart, you should not have to lift/gas at all.
3) Ride with me tomorrow.

--kC
Generally, I agree with this, except it's not always the fastest way through the _course_. It is typically the fastest way through a slalom, but usually the slalom is proceeded or followed by a straight of some type. I've found for my typically underpowered and uber loose cars that if I carry my speed into the slalom as far as I can (typically this means being on the front side of the 2nd or possibly 3rd cones in the slalom), then braking heavily and "over slowing" the car to get on the backside of the 3rd or 4th cone. At this point, it is WOT or as close as I can get to it without clobbering the last cone in the slalom.

I'd say the technique I mention above is a bit of an advanced technique because it a) requires more car control skill and b) more course reading skill. It's not a technique that will work with all slaloms like the method tKC describes either, and trying to force the car to do the technique I describe in the wrong situation will cost significantly more time then just following tKC method. In other words, get my method wrong and you'll go a LOT slower then even if you get the tKC method wrong.
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:06 AM   #21
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Oh no. I'm now tKC?

FRACK!

--kC
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:13 AM   #22
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It depends on the slalom, but a typical even spaced slalom I pick a speed and stick with it. When walking the course, count the number of steps between cones. Sometimes you get a decreasing slalom in which case I apply lighter than previous throttle so the car has a controlled decrease in velocity, but not quite coasting. For increasing slaloms, I apply harder than previous throttle so I'm slowly accelerating through the slalom.
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:22 AM   #23
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i was taught in a more esoteric method, my instructor said focus your eyes on the last cone, and don't leave your focus on that last cone, and you'll find yourself making a good slalom in. He was right...but thats not very helpful i tihnk.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:49 PM   #24
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On a typical evenly spaced slalom, if you enter at a given max speed,you will have to either lift or scrub speed by the 3rd or 4th cone (unless you are drivin an A-mod with wicked downforce). I have studied dozens of G-Tech logs and can say that this is most assuredly true with turbo Subarus.It may not hold true for other cars (particularly small, agile, underpowered cars).

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It depends on the slalom, but a typical even spaced slalom I pick a speed and stick with it. When walking the course, count the number of steps between cones. Sometimes you get a decreasing slalom in which case I apply lighter than previous throttle so the car has a controlled decrease in velocity, but not quite coasting. For increasing slaloms, I apply harder than previous throttle so I'm slowly accelerating through the slalom.
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