Drive the car, not the track.
Been reading (enjoying) your stuff for a while and this has to be one of the most insightful articles I've read. VERY helpful
What a revelation. The vast majority of in-car instruction I've received can be summarized as the instructor micro-managing me around their preferred racing line, and every instructor had a different line. Talking about HPDE here. Since I got solo qualified earlier this year I'm not forcing the car to do things it doesn't want to anymore and I'm having a better time of it (and posting better times!). Thanks for this.
Go ice racing!!!! Fastest and cheapest way to learn to get in over head and bring it back.
I love this article Ross! Another inspiring tip on how to live a full life, I mean drive fast. As I read I was waiting for you to explain how you combined high feedback with high recovery, and you did! I do wish you hadn't mentioned focusing on the car's limits vs. the line though. Of course it's brilliant, and you've mentioned a few times before, but now I have to hope my friends I race against don't read this, they're still thinking the line is the holy grail!
What a great explanation, Ross!
I (eventually) learned (the hard way..) some of that as a wild-eyed young spud on a dirt bike. Let the bike tell you what works. When I began racing sports cars I found those lessons applied to cars as well - relax and listen!
And a FIAT 850 frequently has a different line than a Bugeye Sprite with a welded diff!
Another good article Ross. I am about to take a car I barely know to a track I have never been to and enter my first sprint race. Open cockpit, semi reclined seating, no center rear view mirror, manual shift paddle, left foot brake, clutch only to start/strop, etc. all are new to me. Fortunately there is a test and tune day and I hope to fully utilize. I’ll push the car early to find it limits after proper tire/engine warm ups of course. Knowing how the car will react at the limit will lead to real confidence, which I think is the main point of your article. Thanks!
I did kind of a similar thing recently by doing an auto-cross on street tires. Lots of slipping and sliding at safe environment.
I'm a rookie Autocrosser, and I've had loads of "more experienced drivers" tell me my method of racing my car with stock tires (but suspension and chassis race-ready) is the incorrect approach; they suggest sticky tires and light wheels from the get-go. While I certainly subscribe to the "practice as one plays" mentality, I'm more concerned with learning the way the car responds overall (read: slowly) on marginal tires than reacting to a snap (quickly!) on slicks. Your articles are always enlightening to me- thanks so much!
Ok, but what about Mike?