PDA

View Full Version : Driving Technique's: Learn something new



remushair
01-30-2008, 03:26 PM
First off, I would like to notify everybody reading this thread that all information contained hereafter is for use on closed circuit's or a controlled environment. Although some of the information discussed below may be pratical to use on public roads, myself, CelicaTech.com, and the members that contribute to this thread are not responsible and will not be held liable for injuries or damage caused by failing to obey traffic rules and regulations, nor for accidents that may happen in a controlled environment. Use descretion and drive to your abilities. Be safe, have fun, and I hope this helps many of you who read through here.

Secondly, posts that aren't relevant or are not helpful will be deleted, as well as insulting, vulgar, or rude comments towards guests or other members. This is not an "IMO" thread. I would like the posts to come from some type of experiance related to the topic or question at hand. Feel free to create a posting explaining how to do something you feel is a strong point for yourself, i.e. If you know how to get the best reaction times at a drag race or if you know of a certain setup that could assist people with certain driving characteristics, post it up!

My hopes are that we can get discussions going on topics related to driving technique's and styles as well as vehicle setup's that work well with certain styles. I'll start with "the" most important technique (style) you should know.

Seating Position:



First, is sitting properly in the seat. Your butt should be tucked as far back in the seat as possible with your back flat against the seat back. The underside of your legs should also have solid contact with the seat bottom. This position creates the most surface area between you and the seat, has some safety benefits, and allows you to receive more accurate feedback from your car. Some cars have better adjustments than others for this, but all of us Celica owners shouldn’t complain since our cars have many adjustments on the seat and steering column.

Second, your arm position is the next most important thing. Seated as stated above, you should be able to fully extend your arms, with your shoulders still touching the seat back, and rest your wrists on top of the wheel. When holding the 9 & 3 position, your arms will be bent as well as performing full crossovers, your arms should maintain a slight bend. If your arms are over extended you begin to rapidly lose sensitivity of the car and will begin to tire at a quicker rate. For long legs and short arms and visa versa, again our Celica’s have adjustable steering columns that range from tilt, memory setting, and extension. You should be able to find a happy medium in any vehicle though and obviously your mirrors will need to be readjusted.

Third, and lastly for seating position is leg position. A good tip is if all of the above has been done, you should be close enough to the pedals for the following: when you depress any of the pedals to the floor, you should still have a bend in your leg. You don’t want to overextend your legs while trying to shift or brake since you need a very flexible range of motion to maintain optimum control of your car. You do not want your knees to be in contact with the underside of your dash or steering column. You should have a few inches of clearance actually. Your right leg should have the most room to allow ample space for moving between the brake and gas as well as performing heel-toe downshifting (will be discussed later).



In a street car, it is possible that some balanced compromise of these three parameters is needed as the fixed position of the pedals and steering wheel may not be perfectly matched to your arm and leg lengths. In a race car, or a street car you spend the money on, the pedal arms can be modified, and a steering wheel with a specific dish dimension (the depth of the mounting plane to the face of the handling ring) can be selected to allow a perfect match to your needs.



All of this will be new to those not driving like this currently, but you will get used to it quickly and will find that your car will “talk” to you more in this position. This can and should be applied to daily driving since sitting upright is safer for rear end collisions for example. But if it is too weird, you can find a local autocross racing series and try it out here.



Lastly, you are not a NASCAR or Formula 1 driver. These two different types of cars require modified seating positions due to the layout and setup of the car. Also different race disciplines dictate how the driver sets. F1 drivers make a small flick with there wrist and the front wheels turn nearly all the way in. NASCAR drivers have a limited, controlled movement so their seating position is tailored to keep there arms and bodies from tiring. If you want to replicate or copy any style of racing, I highly recommend to watch the GT3 class of Le Mans or to watch the Best Motoring Int. videos. The ladder is a Japanese based video in English that test everyday street cars and has tons of in car footage at speed as well as helpful pointers and tips. http://www.bestmotoringvideo.com/index.html (http://www.bestmotoringvideo.com/index.html)

If you would like, I can tailor your current settings to better fine tune your car in certain areas...mind you, I can't make you better, but I may have a pretty good idea of how I can help your car keep up with you or explain to you why you're having a certain problem in a certain area. Just PM me with your question and I'll try to get back with you same day with an idea or an answer.

I hope this is helpful to many of you or that you can use this to “fine tune” your current seating position. Although your car will still be the “same” as before, you and your car will be able to communicate properly.

extremeskillz
01-30-2008, 03:37 PM
I always take a curve (expecially exits) going wide then cutting into the curve without using the brakes when i drive. You get a better understanding for the car and like racing you try to minimize you use of the brakes and let gravity do the job. Since i have suspension, this is an awesome feeling take these long exits at about 60 and feel complete control around the curves. I don't drive fast but every once in a while is nice.

Suspension:
KYB GR2 struts rear
KYB GR2 insterts front
Eibach Sportline Springs
Camber kit
Suspension Techniques front and rear sway bars (not installed yet)
KYB upper strut mounts front/rear
18X8 Motegi DPK wheels
215/35hr/18 Hankook tires

Soon to add:
Rear upper Strut Brace
Lower front Brace

remushair
01-30-2008, 03:43 PM
extremeskillz, would you mind posting your suspension setup, tires, FF or AWD and any other relavent material that you feel others might want to take note of for similar effects.

extremeskillz
01-30-2008, 03:58 PM
sure i will edit my post. also my cardomain has this info to.

Luni
01-30-2008, 05:58 PM
Ah, but you WANT to use your brakes.

You want to slow down and then accelerate as seamlessly as possible. Its called "loading" the suspension.

Try it sometime. Find a decent sweeper, and just let off the gas and slow down that way to enter the turn. Then try it by accelerating until the last minute, hitting the brakes in the straightaway before the turn, then accelerating through the turn. You will have a much greater degree of control and speed through the turn.

Ever look at telemetry from a race car? Its flat tops, and bottoms (wide open throttle then hard on the brakes, then wide open throttle, then hard on the breaks). Thats the way you WANT to be driving, you dont want to slow yourself down to prepare for a turn by coasting.

At least Im assuming this thread is about spirited driving techniques, not just how to drive around in town techniques right?

extremeskillz
01-30-2008, 06:19 PM
^your right but we have long curves around here where you can take it at 60 and let it cruse down to 40-35 without brakes. But i understand what you are saying. Depending on the exit curves i do use the brakes to load the suspension here and there. As you can tell this does depend on the road you on. Besides that i baby my car, so i don't abuse it much.

I think this thread is general driving techniques.

KoreanJoey
01-30-2008, 06:36 PM
Ah, but you WANT to use your brakes.

You want to slow down and then accelerate as seamlessly as possible. Its called "loading" the suspension.

Try it sometime. Find a decent sweeper, and just let off the gas and slow down that way to enter the turn. Then try it by accelerating until the last minute, hitting the brakes in the straightaway before the turn, then accelerating through the turn. You will have a much greater degree of control and speed through the turn.

Ever look at telemetry from a race car? Its flat tops, and bottoms (wide open throttle then hard on the brakes, then wide open throttle, then hard on the breaks). Thats the way you WANT to be driving, you dont want to slow yourself down to prepare for a turn by coasting.

At least Im assuming this thread is about spirited driving techniques, not just how to drive around in town techniques right?

Ok this doesn't apply to autocrossing. If you can lift earlier instead of hitting the brakes you're less likely to upset the balance of the car. Remember the big thing about autocrossing is being fluid throughout the whole run. If you miss one turn you've probably messed up the next 4 or 5 as well.

KoreanJoey
01-30-2008, 06:58 PM
I think this thread is general driving techniques.

Did you notice which forum this is in?

extremeskillz
01-30-2008, 07:01 PM
Did you notice which forum this is in?

haha, nope :wiggle:

remushair
01-30-2008, 08:31 PM
with autocrossing, depending on long or short style course and say you're driving a FF machine. You can lift off just at your steer in point. With auto-x, you'll be full throttle threw the straights and most cars with manuals can accel. pretty fast even stock in 1st or 2nd gear. Say you have stock suspension or just some lowering springs and shocks.

Just before you enter a turn, lift off after full acceleration. The weight shift to the front just from letting off will provide enough traction to enter the turn with high grip. Upon finding the happy spot for the turn, you may then begin to step on the gas. Generally, a hairpin in autocross is best taken at 2nd or 1st depending on the severity. Most import compacts can do these turns in 2nd due to low gearing. What I mean above by happy spot is the point where you can open the throttle back up. This may or may not be the clipping point, you'll have to find what works best for your car. The turns will be very quick and you'll be lining up for the chicane or straight before you even know it. In autocross missing your throttle point in one turn can throw your "rythem" off without you knowing it. Rythem, all courses have it, is the way you transition from each turn and straight. Each course has it's own rythem and circuits and tracks are more difficult to find the rythem. auto-x is good since it's short, you can watch every one else, and you get 3-4 runs to get it right....most autocross courses will never be the same, so autocross also teaches you how to read, translate, and exicute a certain line of a course more quickly.

If you've been autocrossing a FF car for a few years or so and have the suspension fairly tight, you can try the "left brake" method of turning sharp turns. FF machines as we all know understeer a lot if you try to give it gas to hard or early. Using your left foot on the brake while occilating the throttle will yield very quick results when you become smooth at it. It will take some getting used to so I recommend learning this in auto-x or a large parking lot. Don't try this on the road until you are fluent with it.
For autocross, enter a turn at near top speed, keeping your foot over the gas but not completly on it yet, steer into the turn, just as you start to turn (make sure you're in the prefered gear) move your left foot to your brake pedal and slightly begin to apply pressure, you'll feel it more than you think....while applying pressure, steer and stay on the gas and only control your understeer using the brake while keeping the throttle open. This technique will keep your front end loaded through the whole turn allowing for a quicker turn in, allowing you to reach your clipping point more directly and allow for faster exits. After learning this well, my average lap time dropped over a second!!! And in autocross, a second is as good as last place.

If you can't control all the understeer with the brake, say you understeer a little more than you'd like coming out of the turn...what's happening is you're getting anxious and not paying attention to the throttle. Try to use less gas or more braking. this technique has it's limits, but the limits can be raised if you can do another thing at the same time as everything above.... E-Brake. but I'll elaberate more on that later. You'll need a fairly balanced car to perform this. You can do it in any car you want, but balanced cars will yield better results.

goretro77
01-30-2008, 08:32 PM
Kudos to the Thread starter!

Good basic Driving Techniques - here are one of my favorite reads, i hope it will cause some good discussions:

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/goretro77/page001.jpg

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/goretro77/page002.jpg

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/goretro77/page003.jpg

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/goretro77/page004.jpg

extremeskillz
01-30-2008, 08:39 PM
^your the man for that poster

remushair
01-30-2008, 08:45 PM
where are those pics linked from? I can't view them on my computer.

remushair
01-30-2008, 09:03 PM
To quote the post about left foot braking above, i'll give a little detail about how my car was setup.

1996 Acura Integra RS (non-vtec can be used better in autocross than VTEC)
Omni Power full body 5 way adjust. coilovers w/ 10kg/mm F - 8kg/mm R
Damping was at #4 at all corners.
Factory 14mm sway bar w/ Energy Susp. bushings rear
ST 1" sway bar front with new OEM bushings
-2 deg front camber & -.5 rear(less camber in rear causes tire to lose traction quicker)
1/32" toe out front, 0-1/16 toe in rear (auto-x was 0 toe, street was the latter)
Energy Suspension Trailing arm bushings
215/45-16 Kumho V710's front 205/45-16 rear V710's (auto-x)
Toyo Proxes4 205/45ZR16 for street.
Hawk HPS pads front / Hawk HP+ rear (for track only, HPS rear for all other and street)
LSD and 6 Puck Sprung clutch with slightly machined OE flywheel

IF you havn't noticed, I have my car set up for between neutral or oversteer depending on how and where I drive it. With the rear set softer, I get a larger weight shift in the rear causing my car to oversteer. When I'm on a good day, I corner with nearly all 4 wheels sliding. I control my understeer with the left foot and ebrake, but mainly use my e brake to keep the rear out a bit further than the front in auto-x situations....which makes understeer more controlable. That's why I run a grippier brake pad in the rear for auto-x so that I barely have to move the ebrake to feel the effect. I did a race on toyo proxes 4's in E-Prepared using this method and I placed 2nd against a field of drivers running slicks and gutted interiors. I lost only to a 280hp supercharged 60's VW Rabbit GTi gutted, caged, and slicked. If I had slicks, I may have been able to beat him, but it woulda had to have been a good day. :) But this setup I had wasn't good for high speed cornering as the car was very unstable in the rear and would easily brake out if entering a corner over 60mph... it was controllable with the toe-in on the rear, but you have to setup your ride based off what you'll use it for the most. this was my DD, but was autocrossed nearly every weekend; or tracked. And what I mean by Daily Driver is back and forth to work and a nightly back road spin.

In the mean time, I'll be working on a possible write-up for a good, balanced setup for a FF Celica. But i may not keep the 4th gen, but instead pull the motor and find a late 80's MR2 to drop it in! Who knows, but that's off the topic.

Luni
01-30-2008, 09:08 PM
That was an awesome read :)

And I can see for autox why youd just want to lift then accelerate, give that youre almost constantly in a state of turning.

remushair
01-30-2008, 09:53 PM
true, but braking is hard to recover from on an autocross course since most drivers feel they need to slow down more. It all comes down to the tires at the end and knowing what they are capable of.

After owning my Celica for about 2.5 weeks now and taking it out some of our back mountain roads, I'm slowly finding the car's balance at it's current setup. So I need a little more information before I decide on how I want to set it up. With a lot more power than my Integra, I'm debating on learning to drive it with my current style, or trying to focus on what the car is actually doing and learning to feel and correct it that way.

!!!!!!!REMEMBER THIS!!!!!!! You should never react to your car...instead it should be the other way around. You should enter a turn "knowing" what your car is about to do and then taloring the entry, apexing, and exit speeds based off of what you know about your car. Your car shouldn't slide or turn sharply unless you the driver, caused it too....most of the times a newer driver will enter a turn a little hot, the car begins to understeer or over and you react to it. Wrong, your car should never catch you off gaurd since "you're" in control of it. It couldn't drive with out you behind the wheel...just remember, your car has great ears and will listen to you if you know how to talk to it.


Don't take this lightly...this is not a technique, style, or skill that comes easily. some people have the ability to naturally anticipate the machine and "feel" whether it likes what your doing or not and then determine what needs to happen to make the turn or straight or pass as smooth as possible.

And remember, don't let people tell you that you've reached your limit....driving is like technology, it can always be evolved into something better with the right base. You may reach your cars limit, but that's different and is understandable...that's why I switched cars. Even if my integra had more power, it wouldn't have yeilded much better results. However, the Celica had more power and was offering me a new challenge with a different type of machine. But I'm tempted to move to a MR or FR setup so that I can hone my style to accept all cars.

remushair
01-30-2008, 10:02 PM
edit to above ^^ your tires are at their maximum grip capability when they are around 105%.....I'll explain. If it feels like you're "on rails", you're car can go faster. Max grip for most performance summer tires and slicks is actually...trying to figure how to word this....the tires will actually be sliding when they are at their maximum grip. you have to think about power also. your tires screech and squel when you slide because of friction.....hello??? Friction is the sound you hear, so doesn't it make since to use all of that friction? this all goes back to the above post i made about how I corner. I use all 4 tires to their maximum capability. Yes it involves sliding, but you have to compramise a bit of outside tire grip in order to use your inside tires efficiantly. You'll learn to feel the difference of an uncontrolable "skid" as opposed to a controlable "slide".

Not sure how clear this will sound to some, I'll use this example: (and when I get my laptop back, i can link a video to what I'm talking about from one of my races)
When I enter a turn on most local courses here, I'm in second gear near the top of my tach. For a honda with low bottom end torque, 4500-7K revs is your power band. The point of left braking and ebraking is to keep your car in that rev range so that you can use all of your power through the turn...yes riding the brake will deminish some of this "power", but it's ok to make a small comprimise..we're just trying to focus on entry and exit speeds...and the faster one out of the turn always has the advantage. Ok back on topic. I would enter a turn almost at rev limit. without lifting off the throttle, i would steer very sharply into the turn and unsettle the car. (my setup allowed this) the back would begin to slide just as the front did. Letting off the throttle right at this moment brought some front traction back. as soon as I felt it my left foot was ready to brake..at about 60-80% throttle, i would change my attack angle to counter the oversteer by using the understeer as my advantage. I had power going to the ground since I was still on the throttle, the key was to not let off the gas or i would spin out or slide of the course. Left Foot braking doesn't stop understeer, but actually increases the chances a bit, but at the same time, it will effect the rear more than the front, causing the back to slide more. This is what i refered to as changing my angle of attack. if I was headed a little to far outside my line, little bit of e brake would change my angle so that i was pointed more at the desired line. usually all of this happened before my clipping point and after the clipping point i didn't use ebrake but just featherd the brake to make minor last minute adjustments. Don't know if that makes sense or not, but one of my main weakpoints is attacking slalom sections and I'm not afraid to admit it. But that was the sacrifice I made with my setup. more time in autocross is lost in turns rather than slaloms or straights. I'm not bad at them, but I could be faster.

If you would like a few pointers based on your setup or can't get over that hurdle that's inhibiting you, feel free to ask me or PM me if it's something you're embarrased by....and you should never feel that way...life is about learning and since driving a car is life to most of us ;) don't you think it's ok to continue to learn???

KoreanJoey
01-30-2008, 10:56 PM
As stated above in the link from Grassroots, looking ahead is the big, big key. You want to be anticipating the turns ahead, plotting your lines. If you're reacting to the corners you'll miss your racing lines and also probably be putting in too much steering input (overloading the front tires). Keep your head up and be looking ahead as far as you can, your peripheral vision (once you're comfortable looking ahead) will be enough to keep you on your racing line while you plot your next corner.

One of the biggest things I see with new drivers is too much/ too exaggerated steering inputs. You want to be smooth, slow with your hands.

Smooth hands make for fast times.

remushair
01-30-2008, 11:15 PM
couldn't have said it better....to add to your post ^^ you should look at least 2 obsticles ahead (obsticle being a turn or 2 or 3 cones up for a slalom section. and smooth doesn't always mean slowly...like koreanjoey said, there is a difference between smooth and slow. you may understand smooth as more of a sharpness....you can turn sharp and smooth at the same time.

but what joey said above goes hand in hand with what I mentioned about rythem. in order to get into the rythem, you have to be able to anticipate the conditions....i.e. what do I have to do after coming out of this turn??? Is there a long straight, is there another turn, is there a car, etc. you won't know this and won't be able to react if your focused on the turn you're in. you use this without knowing on the road....but tend to lose this focus when running at higher speeds or paces than what you're used to.

KoreanJoey
01-30-2008, 11:18 PM
Celicatech now has at least two driving instructors :)

MrWOT
01-30-2008, 11:33 PM
Lol, it's easy to say, but it took me a looooong time to train myself to look that far ahead and not right in front of me. Maybe it's just me :p

KoreanJoey
01-30-2008, 11:39 PM
Yeah it's hard to do just on your own, it really helps having instructors there to force you into the habit.

Oh for autocross, in conjunction with looking ahead try to create a mental image of the course while you're taking a course walk. In fact, if you're new take 3 or 4 course walks, as many as you can before you run and try to take note of any areas which look particularly challenging or areas that might be confusing (We don't chalk out a course we just have the cones and it can really be confusing for a novice to just look and see an ocean of cones).

If you can create a mental image of the course you can track a racing line in your head even before you start your car. It takes a bit of practice but believe me it's great once you have it down. I can run a course 300 times in my head before I actually put tires on course.

remushair
01-30-2008, 11:48 PM
also, you need to look at areas where the course overlaps...most autocross courses will use a section for track at least twice in different directions...pay attention to these areas as their condition will change as the day goes on. Parking lots are generally dirty and have debris in the form of gravel or sand or chalk. when you come through the cross sections, the debris may be all over the line you want because not everybody will take your same line through those parts...some courses have slaloms that can be taken either way, so it helps to watch what everyone in front of you is doing since the track will be cleared a bit on that route. Course knowledge is your second biggest concern next to driving style. Some courses suite certain styles better than others....

and by no means will you learn the aboved mentioned techniques soon. It may take a few months to a year of consistent trial and error. It took me about 2 months to get used to left braking, but I did it every day on the road so I din't always have the best conditions to work with. It took me about a year to setup my car, then about another year to fine tune it as I got better and better. then one day, I just realized I couldn't do anything else other than more power to drive faster...but that took the fun out of the car I was used to....knowing your car is very important...never forget that since it is the middle man between you and the ground.

remushair
01-30-2008, 11:55 PM
The only reason I havn't been an in-car instructor is I tend to focus to much on what the driver is doing and not talk to him!!! I read what he's doing and compare it to my lines or styles. Then in the pits, i'll talk with the driver about how to make the next few laps faster or smoother...but talking like this is easier for me. I have the words in my head, but I can't always figure the proper wording or timing. With my old teammates, I'd just say "now" and that was their cue to get on the brakes, but we had discussed all of my little code words that i would be using before hand. At a driving school, there will be many student drivers and a handful of instructors...I prefer to stick to the pits and talk as drivers come in and out from lapping.


though I did do a stint at 2 rally races as a backup navigator for a friends car and he said i was pretty good, but then again, I had a note pad and all my notes all ready for me to read as we came up on the points.

This thread should get stickyed!!! I didn't think I'd have a discussion like this in the first day of the thread!!!

goretro77
01-31-2008, 04:28 AM
Does this thread cover karting driving technique? I am thinking yes since karting is used as a stepping stone for F1 drivers.

Slider
01-31-2008, 04:56 AM
Very good info here. I've never tried left foot braking should be interesting to see how it works in autocross. Maybe my buddy will let me autocross his WRX. The steering feel just feels like garbage on my car, it's so unresponsive. The suspension is old and beaten and the front sway bar is broken. But I still have fun and trying to perfect my technique each autox.

Cavanagh
01-31-2008, 05:21 AM
Awesome thread guys! :bigthumbu

This is great tips/info.

MrWOT
01-31-2008, 05:41 AM
All sorts of other things to consider btw, considering how many folks here have GTEs, the turbo you select will GREATLY affect how you take a curve. Throttle response is absolutely key for a good track car, sudden weight transfers from sudden torque input can put a serious damper on your day.

remushair
01-31-2008, 03:23 PM
yeah, my turbo lags a little more than I'd like, but the GTE motor has lots of torque so I'm not to worried. As for auto-xing a WRX, just make sure you enter the turn a little wider than normally and use the advantage of all AWD to step on the gas earlier. You almost need to try and get sideways...4WD will always understeer, but you can have the corner entry speed of an FR machine and exit speed of an MR or FF car. You just have to make sure you don't take any cones out while slidign around...however, some courses won't let you slide, so try the left brake and keep the gas floored more than you would in a honda.

I will be autocrossing a 2006 Subaru WRX with a Cobb Stage 2 tuning package, final tune by PDXTuning, and suspension and tires will be set up by me. A guy I work with and myself are competing in the dual driver races this year, since he would like to get into racing a bit.

VikingJZ
01-31-2008, 05:14 PM
Some of those Cobb Subarus put down some sick times. I have no experience with their products but I can say that I have seen them in use and they seem to be worthwhile.

remushair
01-31-2008, 05:51 PM
my friend got a DUI in oct 06 and license was suspended for a year. in that year was when he had all this stuff done. Cobb downpipe, accessport, PDXTuning dyno tune, SPT intake and exhaust. Dynoed at 260whp...and he has 225 michelin pilot sport 2's on WORK emotion Kai wheels, and JIC 10 way coilovers. it's fast, but it's fast from idle to redline...hardly any lag at all and with the tires and susp. it moves. This will be a new world for suspension setup for me, but i do it by feel. He would like it more toward street, so I'm going to balance a Portland Int. Raceway setup, an auto-x setup, and a street setup to the best I can so it's fast anywhere....will be my first setup like this I've done. Normally I set a car up for a strong point or certain style.

remushair
01-31-2008, 05:54 PM
I'm going to try and do a decent write up about heel-toe down shifting today. Should hav it posted by tomorrow or this afternoon. Right now, I'm working on a post that will help with "smooth" steering and some practice ideas to use on and off the street. should be interesting and will explain elaboratly what KoreanJoey mentioned about smooth, fast steering, or as I prefer to call it "sharpness".

remushair
01-31-2008, 06:23 PM
Here it is:

This is more of a rough overview of steering. I didn't mention much about crossover steering since everybody crosses over differently, but small motions are better than large motions...and it's much safer and better practice to make sure you have 2 hands on the wheel 90% of the time...the other 10% is shifting, wipers, crossover-steering, wave-by's, etc.

“The steering wheel is where you will get most of your feedback of the track surface from the front tires, suspension, and brakes. As simple as steering may seem to be, for maximum control and smoothness, there are definately some techniques you should be aware of.”

The proper grip of the steering wheel starts with the hands at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions. Contrary to the 10 and 2 o'clock positions you probably learned in driver's school, you have greater range of motion and control with your hands in the 9 and 3 o'clock positions. The palms should be cupping the outer diameter of the wheel, with the thumbs wrapped around the ring and resting on top of the cross brace. The heel of the palm should be positioned to apply a slight pressure on the front of the wheel for stabilizing your arm movements--don't make your thumbs do all the stabilizing. Most stock steering wheels in sports cars, and even sedans, today are properly designed for the 9 and 3 positions with padded thumb detents.

The grip itself should be relaxed--just tight enough to maintain control and good contact for sensory input. A tight grip on the wheel will tire your hands and arms quickly, and more importantly will significantly reduce the sensitivity to the vibrations needed to sense the control limits of the vehicle.

While it is a natural tendency to grip the wheel tightly while corning, no amount of squeezing on that wheel will increase the traction of your tires! However, the more relaxed the grip (without losing contact with the wheel, duh), the more of that traction you will be aware of. It is a learned response to relax your hands (in fact, your entire body) during high g-force cornering, but it is something that you must force yourself to learn as quickly as possible. It will increase your sensitivity to the car's traction limits, and improve your awareness of the car's handling.

Something to practice to ensure your hands, arms and shoulders are relaxed before entering a corner, is to take a deep breath during the straight beforehand. Breath deep, relax your muscles, and exhale. Another thing to do when you're in a long enough straight and clear of other cars, is to relax one hand at a time and wiggle the fingers (leaving the palm and thumb on the wheel). Doing this often will keep the muscles in the hand, wrist, and forearm from cramping.

When turning a corner, lead into the turn by "pushing" the wheel with the hand opposite the turn (left hand for a right turn), and stabilizing the wheel with the other hand. Push the steering wheel through the 12:00 position rather than pulling it towards the 6:00 position when turning. For large steering inputs like a turn, the pushing arm has more control because the wrist stays in a firm position. The opposite wrist becomes quite bent and will not provide smooth control. "Pulling" the wheel is effective for small steering inputs such as moving across the track width where the action is really limited to a movement of the wrist, and not the whole arm. If you're a puller right now, it will take a little re-training to make this comfortable, but in the long run it will make you a smoother driver.

It is common to think you are turning smoothly, when in fact you are turning on a smaller, tighter, and jerkier radius than you need to. In car video can be a great help to watch yourself, and recognizing where you need to be smoother. A typical tip off to a driver that needs to be smoother is when a car tends to understeer during the first half of a turn. More often than not this is caused by the driver's lack of steering smoothness than by car setup problems.

goretro77
02-01-2008, 12:41 AM
Very good info here. I've never tried left foot braking should be interesting to see how it works in autocross. Maybe my buddy will let me autocross his WRX. The steering feel just feels like garbage on my car, it's so unresponsive. The suspension is old and beaten and the front sway bar is broken. But I still have fun and trying to perfect my technique each autox.

Roadracing:

I don't know if this is ok to post here but this is one of the fun things I used to do. This is not so much to get the best lap times as the article I posted earlier does a great job at helping someone drive faster, but this is one way to disrupt an opponent and his timing.

I use left foot braking during roadracing, if being followed by someone I just passed in the middle of the straightaway into the first braking zone, I use my left food to light up my brakelights but I am in no way applying the brakes and am still wide open throttle. I was using it to hide my actual braking zone from the AE86 in pursuit.

You see, classic celicas have this audible click when you apply pressure to the brake pedal which you can also 'feel' with your feet to indicate when the brakelights have turned on, it is on almost right away and are right at the point where the brakes are not contacing the rotor. I liked this as it was very easy to fool with the car that is trying to pressure you from the rear. Right at my actual brake point I'll heel and toe down a gear and trail brake to hit the late apex.

Slider
02-01-2008, 01:57 AM
Left foot braking has me thinking. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it basically saves time by not having to lift your foot of the gas and onto the brake pedal, instead you can just be on the brakes right away with your left foot. It saves a little time but on an autocross course with a lot of turns it all adds up.

What I'm doing right now is letting of the gas and moving my right onto the brake and braking hard then letting off the brake more as I turn in, that way the weight is transferred to the front, I'm still slightly on the brake as I turn in. Then when I'm at the apex I start to accelerate out. So If I left foot braked in this situation I would be saving time by not having to transfer my foot of the gas pedal onto the brake pedal.

If I had a turbo car, left foot braking would help in the turn by keeping the turbo spooled so there's no lag when I accelerate out.

Is there any other advantage to left foot braking that I'm missing?

goretro77
02-01-2008, 04:36 AM
Left foot braking has me thinking. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it basically saves time by not having to lift your foot of the gas and onto the brake pedal, instead you can just be on the brakes right away with your left foot. It saves a little time but on an autocross course with a lot of turns it all adds up.

What I'm doing right now is letting of the gas and moving my right onto the brake and braking hard then letting off the brake more as I turn in, that way the weight is transferred to the front, I'm still slightly on the brake as I turn in. Then when I'm at the apex I start to accelerate out. So If I left foot braked in this situation I would be saving time by not having to transfer my foot of the gas pedal onto the brake pedal.

If I had a turbo car, left foot braking would help in the turn by keeping the turbo spooled so there's no lag when I accelerate out.

Is there any other advantage to left foot braking that I'm missing?

Sounds good slider! :bigthumbu

I totally agree with your post, the only other thing is practice, practice, practice!!

On the side: I am going to Chicago Indoor Racing this Saturday night to race karts with a local car enthusiast group- are you interested to race this Sat? You and others are welcome to join in.

Slider
02-01-2008, 05:02 AM
The practice part is so true. For the first time autocrossers I would highly recommend have someone experienced ride along with you to give you tips and correct any mistakes you're doing.


On the side: I am going to Chicago Indoor Racing this Saturday night to race karts with a local car enthusiast group- are you interested to race this Sat? You and others are welcome to join in.

D'oh, I'm going to busy this Saturday, maybe some other time, I really want to try it out some time.

KoreanJoey
02-01-2008, 08:40 AM
Another advantage is adjusting the attitude of the car. It's especially helpful with cars that have understeer under acceleration (like pretty much all FWD cars). While accelerating you use the brakes to put a bit more weight over the front tires allowing them to grip better. This allows you to give more throttle earlier.

remushair
02-01-2008, 03:42 PM
If I had a turbo car, left foot braking would help in the turn by keeping the turbo spooled so there's no lag when I accelerate out.

Is there any other advantage to left foot braking that I'm missing?

With a FWD, high revving motor, left braking can allow you to stay in the desired rev range, much like keeping a turbo'd spooled. I've also tried to mess around with heel-toe cornerning....much like heel-toe downshifting, but instead blipping the throttle, I;ve held my foot toes on the brake and drove using my heels. the reason I tried this was to avoid unstabalizing myself. I didn't have harnesses so I had to use my legs and arms to brace myself as well, so it made since to keave my feet, body, legs, and hands with as much surface are contact available. But left foot braking works better for me. What you discussed above works as well, but requires you to have damn near perfect timing to get back on the throttle. I can make minor adjustments with my brake and ebrake as I need to rather than doing all of my braking possibly losing to much speed before I can apex the turn. though I use this style when on large open tracks.

goretro77
02-01-2008, 03:53 PM
D'oh, I'm going to busy this Saturday, maybe some other time, I really want to try it out some time.

Thats cool. I realize it is short notice. They are open everyday so let me know when your up for it and maybe we can meet up. I'll warn you, its addictive as hell and then next thing you know you'll wind up as a 'regular' like me where you can practice, practice, practice.

Slider
02-02-2008, 10:50 PM
Alright, maybe we could get group of IL people to meet up for it in the future.

Thanks for the clarification on left foot braking everyone. I'm going to start practicing braking with my left foot so I can get a hang of the sensitivity. We'll see how it goes since I don't have harness I'm not sure if I'll be able to use it without being thrown around since my left foot won't be there to plant me.

remushair
02-04-2008, 03:21 PM
lock your seat belt. Some cars you can lock the belt and it won't reset till you remove it and wind it all the way back up. Doing this, you wanna make sure that you are set up in the driver seat as I mentioned in my first post. since you'll be strapped into your seat, you still wanna be able to reach all your controls and gear shift and radio (if you want). But OEM seat belts work great for racing if they have the locking mechanism I'm talking about. Some will lock when there is a large, fast moving load against them like an accident, but will reset as soon as a little slack is put in it, but others will lock until you take the belt off.

KoreanJoey
02-04-2008, 09:30 PM
Another thing to do about the seat belt is to twist it around itself a couple times down by where you clip it in. Then pull the lap side tight.

Or just get a harness. :)

goretro77
02-04-2008, 10:48 PM
lock your seat belt. Some cars you can lock the belt and it won't reset till you remove it and wind it all the way back up. Doing this, you wanna make sure that you are set up in the driver seat as I mentioned in my first post. since you'll be strapped into your seat, you still wanna be able to reach all your controls and gear shift and radio (if you want). But OEM seat belts work great for racing if they have the locking mechanism I'm talking about. Some will lock when there is a large, fast moving load against them like an accident, but will reset as soon as a little slack is put in it, but others will lock until you take the belt off.

Would the CG Lock work in this situation? If your using the stock belt system, I've tried this before and it works for what it is. Its no replacement for a real 5 point harness system but for the streets and occasional parking lot/cones autocross it works great.

remushair
02-04-2008, 10:55 PM
that's what I was mentioning. If you yank on some belts really fast they lock and they will only tighten on you yet stay locked at the next tighter position...and will continue to stay locked until you physically unbuckle and let the seat belt role all the way back up and reset the mechanism. That's what I did in my honda...lock the belt and then keep it on while I was staging and then unbuckle after each run. kept me stuck in my seat just fine.

remushair
02-13-2008, 07:07 PM
Very good info here. I've never tried left foot braking should be interesting to see how it works in autocross. Maybe my buddy will let me autocross his WRX. The steering feel just feels like garbage on my car, it's so unresponsive. The suspension is old and beaten and the front sway bar is broken. But I still have fun and trying to perfect my technique each autox.

I say autocross your car as long as it passes tech. I.E. no leaks, you have a battery clamp, lugs aren't missing, wheels aren't wobbly. Learning to drive a sluggish, older, worn out car will actually make you faster...you be able to handle the car beyond what it "should" be able to do and when you get into a car that "can" handle like it should, your senses will be that much more in tune to what the newer car is doing and you'll be more on top of the anticipation and control required to "know" your machine. Have fun.

Dan_Q
03-07-2008, 12:32 AM
Some superb information on this thread folks, especially for a beginner like myself :bigthumbu many thanks to all contributers.

What I found on my first (and only to date) event was that I'm getting a little giddy or excited, and my inputs aren't as well planned as they should be.

EG on the road I can hell/toe (or ball of foot, outside of foot as I do it) downshift well enough, but when I first tried it on track on my second or third run, it all went to pot and slowed me down! I must be struggling with heat of the moment thinking, as I'm not used to driving against the clock.

Keep up the good work all, I'll look forward to further posts :bigthumbu

remushair
03-07-2008, 02:14 AM
On the road it's different...since you know you aren't running against the clock, but when it comes down to timing it and exicuting it at the right moment, you realize right then that you need to learn more!!! I struggled with this for about 2 months of constantly doing and it actually became second nature to me and I was doing it all over town. Breaking late and heel-toe downshifting up to stop lights and when i was out driving around I'd do it while going through some windy roads...that and paying attention to everything else when you're on the road helped me out a lot.

KoreanJoey
03-07-2008, 08:43 AM
I always heal toe... it's just part of the way I drive now... it's odd doing it with customer cars... people look at you funny.