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General driving style guidelines.
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TOPIC: General driving style guidelines.

General driving style guidelines. 10 years, 7 months ago #6878

General driving style guidelines.
Practice sessions.
The goal practice session is to run the car and learn the track, work on lines or adjust set-up. Practice is never a time to race. If I am following a car I generally avoid making a “racing pass” in practice. The reason is I have no idea what other guy is doing so I am not going to expect he is always aware of me and where I am. Doing so creates risk of contact and since we are not racing it is easier to back off to get space, run down pit lane for a gap or wait for a point or very safe pass. When I do pass I always leave room for mistake by the other driver.
As a lead car I always watch my mirrors. Significantly faster cars get point bys whenever possible and moderately faster cars get points when I can. If I car has been behind me for a lap or two (even in class) I will general let them by on a straight. The reason for this is two fold. Firstly it is possible I am holding them up and they have chosen not to force a pass. Better to let them by so they do their thing rather than get frustrated behind me. Plus I might learn something following them. The other reason is having some guy on my tail most of the time impedes or put s as risk what I am doing in practice. That could be working on finding speed in a corner or testing a set-up change. Driving in my mirrors is pointless as it will prevent me from focusing on the task at hand. Plus should I over do it in a corner following car can easy turn a “harmless spin” in two wrecked cars. Most likely my “fault” since I spun. Not worth the risk.

This is much the same as practice, but with a realization that guys are looking to get 2-3 fast laps. I go out looking for clear track to get a fast lap. That can involve slowing down to create a gap or waving trailing cars through. When on I am on a flyer I hope for the courtesy of other drives to not get in the way, but I realize if they are on flyer too they have no responsibility to deviate from their line. If I not on a fast lap due traffic or a prior driving error I always work hard to allow car to pass. I try to say on line, but if there is any time I might not be 100% predictable I always provide a strong point by waving my arms with hope that the other can recognize that I am trying to let them by so they don’t lose their momentum. If I am done I also pull off track ASAP as to prevent holding up the drivers still on track. Bottomline is that I respect every other drivers right to attempt a fast lap with minimal traffic.

Outclass vs faster cars
When racing with faster cars around I try to use point bys as well. It is an art to let fast cars by without losing you own momentum or position. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. I always try to make it clear I see the faster and give them space to get by. This can mean delaying turn in so they can turn and I can tuck in behind. My goal over the entire day to present to the faster guys as predictable car as possible. This makes it easier for me to get them to pass me where it minimizes my impact. When they don’t know what to expect from me they can try to pass some palce that is less desireable. When faster cars have more confidence the I see them and won’t block them they are more forcefull in their passes which 90% of the time reduces my need to slow behind them.

Out of class similar speed
These are the biggest challenge in racing. They can hold you up and cause issues. Still they always have a right to be on track. You can’t expect them to give way although you can hope they respect your class battle. The key is to really understand it your responsibility to get by cleanly. Sometimes you can benefit and other times you can’t. If you get hosed... then so be it. That is racing in mixed classes.

IN class…
Ok here is a lot of where issues are occurring now. The first thing to assume is that the other racer is an idiot. If you are following assume that the lead car will slam the door on you from time to time. Realize they you can be right, but still get in a wreck and the best call the IRB can make on who was at fault is determined by where the cars touch. Not what the position was when one car turned. So by being the following driver chances are high you will be on the hook. If you want to pass always try to leave a way out. This means have place to go if you get the door closed on you hard. If you put yourself in a spot where you have zero options the risk of contact has increased 100%. It is far better to wait a corner or two and at this level force the other driver into an error. His slamming the door on you can in fact cause him to lose momentum and then you can use that against him a turn later. So be smart rather than brave when it comes to making a pass
If you are in the lead car the first thing to do is to consider the other guy could be an idiot driving with the red mist. He may dive bomb you at any time and force you off line. You have the right to make on defensive move, but must always gauge if that is smart for the entire lap as well as race. There are times it is far better to concede a corner knowing full well that the passing car will lose all his momentum making that move allowing you comeback on turn later. The other thing is that if you happen to be racing car and lose sight of him before turn in he could very well be making a pass move. If you are not 100% sure the car behind is still behind don’t slam the door. Leave that car some room to maneuver and either back out of trouble or come flying by in cloud tire smoke.

Turn 9 at PIR.
This corner is very inviting to pass in. Passes have been pulled off with great success here. Passes also have gone horribly wrong here too. A couple works of advice from having done it right and wrong in turn 9.

If you are the leading car…
If car gets on your inside looking to pass. Don’t assume he will make the turn. A good driver should, but it is very easy to get sucked in and hit the bumps and lock up. If the lead car assume the car behind will turn at the apex there probably will be contact. Fault will in fact be determine by where the contact occurred. The NASA CCR specify describe a case where the trailing car goes in too hot and shots though. Lead car turns expecting the trailing car to turn. When the lead car hits pass side of the overtaking car it becomes the LEAD CAR’s fault. The reason they stay is you can’t assume the driver behind will make the turn. However if the contact is on lead cars driving side fault will most often be assigned to the trailing driver. Still both cars are damaged and both drivers will probably get points. So at turn 9 be aware of guys dive bombing. We are in club racing and no turn is worth hours or $$$ in body work. The other thing to remember is that Turn 9 can be taken 2 wide with ease if both driver leave room for each other. It may or may not be the best thing to do for race strategy, but It can happen safely.

If you are the trailing car…
You have the right to take look. However assume the lead drivers does not see you. If you make a move and the lead car does not see you prepare to either back out or drive away. If you assume he will give space and does not you are going to be at fault in most cases. You can go two wide if the lead driver allows it. However you are putting yourself at more risk. Resist the temptation to stuff it deep. It can work at times, but if you misjudge things (ie lock up or not being able turn in at the apex) chances are nearly 100% of either contact or if you are lucky the other guy being very upset on being “nearly taken out”. Going in too deep always removes all of your options to avoid contact putting you are at the mercy of the other driver. Again you can pull off good passes there and can go two wide safely if both driver cooperate. Going three wide is asking for disaster despite there is room on the way in. The line gets too narrow given they way to you need to slice across the track to have 3 wide end in anything other than a wreck or one car needing to basically give up and stop or drive straight and never turn. 3 cars may go in, but at most 2 come out.

These are my guidlines and would very much welcome a disucss on these.
Joe Paluch
944 Spec #94 Gina Marie Paper Designs
Arizona Regional 944 Spec Director, National Rules Coordinator
2006 Az Champion - 944 Spec Racer Since 2002

Re:General driving style guidelines. 10 years, 7 months ago #6879

  • JRichard
  • Senior Racer
  • Posts: 107
joepaluch wrote:

IN class…
"The first thing to assume is that the other racer is an idiot..."

IN CLASS?! Ouch, so now I know what you really think of my driving!

Re:General driving style guidelines. 10 years, 7 months ago #6882

JRichard wrote:
joepaluch wrote:

IN class…
"The first thing to assume is that the other racer is an idiot..."

IN CLASS?! Ouch, so now I know what you really think of my driving!

What is interesting is that when I first started in 2002 it was my basic assumption. I never assumed the other guy was any good. It is amazing how that works.

What I have seen a bit these days is that because we know each other so we we assume that the other guy is a great racer and will handle the car perfectly. That works some of the time. However should that buddy who is a great racer and "would never hit anyone" make a mistake what results is contact. May be if we assumed the other guy could make mistake then we would leave each other more room.

So assume the other racer is an idoit and might do something dumb or simply make mistake it might leave us room get out of trouble rather than no space at all.
Joe Paluch
944 Spec #94 Gina Marie Paper Designs
Arizona Regional 944 Spec Director, National Rules Coordinator
2006 Az Champion - 944 Spec Racer Since 2002

Re:General driving style guidelines. 10 years, 7 months ago #6905

  • cbuzzetti
  • Endurance Racer
  • 944 Spec = The best racing on the planet
  • Posts: 1192
Excellant info Joe!!!

Alot of balancing has to go on mentally while racing. Does the lead driver see me? Will he leave me room?

Certain tracks have bottleneck areas that just will not handle three cars. Know the track and know your competitors.

If in doubt about a certain situation wait. There will be another opportunity soon. Discuss with the other driver after the race to see if he saw you. Watch his mirrors to see if he knows you are there.

I learned something very important last week in an email from my brother in law. A few of you may have seen this come across your desktop. If you did not read it be sure to find it and try it.

Basically it consists of pointing your side morrors out a little farther than normal. You will quickly notice your field of view got alot wider. That blind spot is now very visible. There is no need for us to see the side of our car. Adjust the mirror our wards to see the blind spot.
I tried this on my street car first and it really works.
I can't wait to try it on track.

Keep up the great info Joe!!!
2018 NASA 944Spec National Champ
2018 NASA ST5 P2 944 Nationals COTA
2017 NASA 944Spec WSC P3
2016 NASA PTD-944 WSC P2
2015 NASA GTS1 Western Champion
2014 NASA 944Spec Western Champion
2013 NASA 944Spec So-Cal Regional Champion
2013 NASA 944Spec National P3
2010 NASA GTS-1 National Champion
2010 NASA 944Spec National P3
2010 NASA So-Cal 944Spec Regional Champion
2009 NASA 944Spec National Champion
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