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KB's latest video.I don't think that I'd want to take his tour of San Francisco with food in my stomach.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=LuDN2bCIyus&feature...
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So is this guy, although with a video production budget several orders of magnitude less....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPQSMRDJ898
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So is this guy, although with a video production budget several orders of magnitude less....

You might say the same about this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCC3XFIUm7Q

Neil
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Nice! Having never driven there, the following could be a very dumb thing to say. I'm curious why you don't carry a bit more entry speed into Riverside and use the track out room you have there. Seems like enough time to get back over to the right for that left handed kink that follows. No?

xtn
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I'm curious why you don't carry a bit more entry speed into Riverside and use the track out room you have there. Seems like enough time to get back over to the right for that left handed kink that follows. No?

Great question, and a great suggestion. The answer is that it was my first race after a 16 year gap, so my skills and bravery were impeded by a few hundred pounds of rust. Also, that was the car's first race after a total ground-up resurrection that included numerous major modifications, so the setup was not confidence inspiring. Riverside is the one real confidence corner on the track, and mine was less than perfect.

I expected to have all sorts of issues regaining my driving skills, but the one that I have had the most problem with is a very basic one. I'm having a hard time seeing a corner, visualizing the racing line through it, and driving that line. All of the usual difficult skills like threshold braking, downshift blips, trail braking etc. came back very quickly, but not that one. I'm in the middle of another driving gap, but when I get started again, I plan to only autocross for a year or two so that I can blast the rust away without risking my life in the process.

If anyone has suggestions on how to fix that particular problem, please let me know.

In case you were wondering why everyone was so nice to each other on the track, the west coast Pro FF series has a no-move rule: no blocking, period. If you get a good enough run on the other guy, the pass is yours. The same applies for the other guy. That's the best idea I have come across in a very long time. It encourages passing and reduces the risk of contact at the same time.

Neil
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I'm having a hard time seeing a corner, visualizing the racing line through it, and driving that line.

If anyone has suggestions on how to fix that particular problem, please let me know.


I certainly don't have your experience level. I see a corner and visualize a line through it pretty easily, but actually driving that line usually requires thirty or forty laps of fine tuning, most often including at least a couple reevaluations of what the line ought to look like in the first place. And if it's a pretty high speed turn, I sometimes don't have the balls to ever get it as right as I think I could do it.

I'm quite certain I couldn't be competitive at a new-to-me track that I only got twenty minutes of practice on. I'm assuming a good autocross driver is better able to feel out a fast line in a short amount of time. You're probably good at starting to pick out lines just from walking a track. I'm terrible at that. On foot, walking 1.5mph, it just feels like a big expanse of tarmac to me. It's only when approaching at speed that my mind can begin to see that imaginary arc. And the turns I can't see through before I get there take me a LONG time to figure out.

Using the example of Riverside in your video: I notice you're kind of just maintenance throttle around a bit of it. If braking a little later/less was beyond my confidence, I would have tried identifying my roll-it-on spot and started moving it back a bit each lap. It SEEMS to me that the guy in front of you was choking the exit the same way, and that it MIGHT have been a good opportunity to run past him on the outside at turnout. Not having your experience, it's hard for me to know if my mind would have been opened up enough to think about it, or if I would have had tunnel vision due to the workload you're obviously already under.

My only actual race experience is having done Lemons about ten times. And while it's a great boatload of fun, the actual driving more often than not tends to test your traffic negotiation skills instead of your line development. I mean getting a "clean" lap is pretty rare. But I think that's why I see your Riverside scenario as a possible passing opportunity. Having been trained via Lemons one tends to see lines less as an optimal solo route and more as a "how to sneak around that old lady in front of me without shunting either one of us" kind of route.

xtn
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I'm assuming a good autocross driver is better able to feel out a fast line in a short amount of time.

That is one of the key skills that autocrossers learn, but track day drivers and club racers usually don't learn as quickly or as well. It was a huge advantage when I raced in the '80s and '90s because I did a lot more autox than track driving. During my last go-around, I did way too much club racing and only a couple of autoxes, which was exactly backwards from what I should have done. I expected to have some serious deficits of basic skills after a long gap out of the cockpit, but the ones that I lacked were not what I expected.

When my job/family situation opens up enough that I can go play on the weekends again, I plan to focus on autox exclusively until I really feel ready for the track. I hope to find a good driver coach during that time.

Just to quantify my performance through Riverside: Entry speed was 128 mph, minimum was 110, and max lateral was 1.82g on my best lap. If you fall off the track in those conditions, you are going to go a long way through the dirt with a good chance of going upside down. I would ease the throttle back down as quickly as I felt comfortable with. I did ease up toward the limit during the race, and I found it late in the race. The rear end started sliding, but I caught it with a lift and countersteer. That sort of risk was way more than I was ready to handle given my lack of skills and recent experience.

Neil
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the actual driving more often than not tends to test your traffic negotiation skills instead of your line development.

I would argue the traffic negotiation skills needed in Lemons/Chump are at least partially line development skills. The other traffic becomes moving debris (with various levels of intelligence and skill planning that movement) and the line development skill needed is near-immediate. You have to see the best line in the path that's available to you (not blocked by those moving debris) as you approach it.

And that seems like it'd be a Lemons-ish sort of skill, as where else do you have such a variety in both car and driver ability on such packed tracks? But the skill that lets you reanalyze lines for the limited space the idiot in the SHO is giving you is the same skill that lets you re-optimize your line when you out-brake yourself, or when your turn-in is off, or the guy in front of you spins and suddenly you have to "track out" on the inside edge of the track. It's the same skill, just exaggerated, that's needed to adjust for different heat in the tires, different weights from burned fuel, etc. It's reanalyzing "the line" based on the space you now have and the abilities your car currently has.

Neil, I don't know that it's my place to give suggestions on seeing the line more effectively. Your plan to autocross seems like the best plan. If I were to try to come up with something else, I'd ask how often do you see "the line" when driving on the street? I've noticed I do visualize the line when driving, and that my "line" changes with traffic, debris, bumps, etc. I imagine just letting yourself think about it when driving on the street would be a bit more "free practice", so long as it doesn't encourage other aggressive driving behaviors.

I think I remember a classroom once where we talked about "seeing" the line walking around the office or our homes - how close we could cut that corner, how much space we needed to leave around blind corners or for stuff we were carrying, etc. The carpet even gets those same worn areas we see on the track.
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