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Handling Tech Suspension mods, brake systems, wheels, tires, etc.

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Old 07-27-2006, 09:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
Registered: Mar 2006
Posts: 31
Reputation: bigd is an unknown
Gotcha, that makes sense because I only saw parts of Saturday at PMI for the last hour, and the LaJunta video, so I did miss a lot inbetween. It sucks about your 4th gear because we could have traded techniques and lines during Sunday.

Paul sounds like he's an incredible driver, so I'm not saying he's dangerous per se, just that it's a dangerous technique. If he's that good, I'd be much more comfortable with him on the track than some random yahoo trying to get sideways. I'd love to go for a ride with him! A highly skilled driver can see outs and safe exits under almost any circumstance, but going sideways diminishes them significantly. Racing is definitely hard on tires, but you can still be incredibly fast without risking premature wear or damage.

From what you're saying, it sounds like you're making the right changes. That's really good to see, especially since you're so receptive to feedback. Even if you're not doing anything wrong, it's good to understand other's methods and reasoning whether they work for you or not. I've seen a lot of people come outfor open days with a headstrong attitude and they scare other drivers or evetually launch themselves off the track by getting into a predicament they can't overcome. I think the best analogy I've come to understand is the ping pong balls in the bowl.

Here's 3 rules I've learned to follow, some of this might repeat what I've said already, but they're important to me.

1- Always follow the line once you've learned it. Program it into your head and don't deviate unless you're experimenting or have good reason (passing, etc). You should be able to drive that line solely on memory. Oversteer, understeer, neutrality, this can all be used to maintain the line, not necessarily to make you faster. Use braking reference points, apex markers, tire squealing, and engine sound and gear selection as extensions of your senses to tweak things to get cleaner, faster, and more consistent, but the overall goal is to maintain the line.

2- Use the width of the track surface to develop your line. So many drivers are scared of the track's edge or aren't moving fast enough to warrant going way out there. Some lines are strainge, like PMI's turn 1. It's center track line and late apex spits you out about 50% or 75% under acceleration toward the left as you're setting up for turn 2. Going all the way to the left side of the track after turn 1 is just wasting time.

3- Roll on the power when you're exiting a corner, use smooth intentional inputs, and avoid sudden and abrupt changes. WIth a stiffer setup and grippier tires, your car will have higher overall limits, but that could be a problem. Picture a purpose built race car, it's much more instantaneous when you lose control if something exceeds it's limits.

There's a trick you can use to hold yourself in the seat that may help. It can help you to be smoother because you won't flop around as much in the cabin. Slide the seat back a few clicks, and pull the seatbelt tight. Tug it quickly away from your body to engage the inertia lock, and slide your seat forward to it's original position so you're really tight under the belt. Viola, a tight 3pt harness!
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Dynosheet: 424whp/401 lb-ft
Registered: Jan 2004
Posts: 400
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I wish everyone would put their first names in their sigs so we can quickly learn who others are referring to and who we're talking to.

I'm also a firm believer in adding things as you learn the car. Throwing a bunch of parts at it at once will change the feel but won't necessarily mean it handles better or makes you faster on a road course or autocross circuit. The first mod you do should be tires, not strut braces or swaybars. After that I would start looking at what the car is doing and adjust from there with parts. Don't completely change your suspension without knowing what you're changing it for. And you should have some goals in mind before you go out and spend the money. What are you trying to achieve? A generic goal of "better handling" is way too vague. You need to get to know the car first and then learn where it is lacking.


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