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Old 11-17-2011, 10:47 PM   #1

Drives: 2010 camaro 2SS LS3
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Post driving techniques explained

After roaming through here for a while, I noticed most people here think they are race car drivers but donít even know the basics. I thought I would spend a little time to clear them up. I am not a professional race car driver, if I missed anything please let me know.

Most people are never even taught how to properly sit in the car, daily driver habits often ruin any hope of high speed maneuvers. Proper seat position and mirror position are vital to safe driving. The mirrors should be set to display one panoramic view of everything out of your peripheral view, or atleast close. Google for further definition. Seat position for daily driving is pretty much just comfort. For any high speed maneuvers the seat needs to be set in a slightly uncomfortable upright position. I can always spot and newbie when they place the seat really close to the wheel. If you drive in a proper position you can adjust the seat to that position and see why they sit like that, it gives you a better view of the car, and what is around you but you lose almost all control of a squirmy car. When you sit back you can feel the cars movements monumentally better and improve reaction timing. Proper distance in most vehicles is when your shoulders (or in a five point harness) are tight to the seat, with arms straight out your wrists should rest on the top of the wheel. This gives you the best combination of wheel control and vehicle control. This position is not always the best, as the pedal control is just as vital. When sitting too far forward you tend to pressure the pedals with movement from you knee, and ankle control is more precise, and pressure can be felt better.

Steering wheel position is always taught to be in the 9-3 or 10-2 position but in racing that position only works in super high speed or in car with super tight steering. Professionals almost always find themselves placing one hand high on the wheel to prepare for complex areas. For the most important information: the steering wheel should never be used as the shape it is. It should always be treated as a disk. No part of your hand should ever enter the inside portion of the wheel! You should never grab the wheel. Your thumbs should never wrap the wheel and should always be running parallel to the wheel. Never ever reach into the wheel to try to whip it around. The reason for all of this is because the wheel is held on from ďspokesĒ and when the wheel is spinning you never want any part of your hand to obstruct the motion. When being prepared for traction loss the only part of your hand on the wheel should be your pinky knuckle and your fingers up to your pointer tip. This will give you gentle touch that will allow a very quick movement. It is natural to grab it with all four knuckles on the wheel with thumbs facing upward, and that works great if you donít plan to change positions quickly. At the preferred position you are also set up to spin on the wheel pivoting at the pinky knuckle. Soft leather (I use deerskin) faced gloves are desirable for the better grip and pivot ability over fabric gloves.

There are way too many different racing setups to go through here such as drag, autocross, rally, short circle, nascar style, F1, sprintÖ..

The first learned concept of all performance drivers is weight transfer. That is just idea that traction is based on the force being applied to the tire patch. This is the basis of rear wheel drive cars, and why front brakes take 70% of the force. When the car begins to lose traction under hard corning drivers are first taught to not use the brakes as that induces addition forces on the patch with a set limit, but with weight transfer, you can actually reduce understeer by putting pressure on the brakes. With a properly set up race car the car will not have understeer or oversteer but will lose traction on all four tires at the same time, when under steering only. With weight transfer, that same car can enter either understeer or oversteer at the driverís discretion.

I will focus here on drifting, as I feel is the most complex, and usable skill in all racing. Drifting occurs in all high level racing, you will never master any racing event without the ability to control a skidding car. Drifting just embraces the excitement of intentionally inducing a typically terrifying high speed oversteer. There are many techniques used to induce the oversteer, most of which use the basics of weight transfer. Scandinavian flick is the easiest way to induce and control the drift. That is just the act of turning the opposite direction than quickly turning into the corner. This will whip the back end around usually breaking traction. This does only work at a high speed and can be easily overspun spinning you uncontrollably away from the corner. The best way to start drifting is to use the e-brake(no parking brake comments, if you were stuck driving with no brakes you canít tell me you wouldnít try to use it in an emergency). This is not the easiest way, because you will almost always overspin on the first attempts, but this is the only way that can be used at low speeds, with a slow car. It is very hard to do what most people think, to just rev and drop clutch, not advised. Weight transfer is fighting you with this. My favorite technique is to shift lock. That is simply letting rpms drop while braking into corner, then downshifting without rev matching(heel and toe) then while the car enters the corner dropping the clutch. This will use the compression and inertia of the engine to slow (not actually lock them, if you did the engine would die) the rear wheels. If this is done at the right time it will very easily send you into a drift, then just throttle through. For the people that are scared to be that violent, you can always just power over. that is just giving it throttle prematurely while exiting a corner. This will give you the feeling of the skid, and the proper countersteer needed. This will also show you how easily it is to overcorrect. When driving at high speeds you can also enter a drift using solely weight transfer. With light braking to reduce weight on rear, or on large sweeping corners you can simply lift-off throttle. I use drifting as a practice, for my future competitions. if you can master car control, the apex and simple cornering basics will be easy.

Heel and toe shifting is used to rev match while downshifting into a corner. It is only needed while racing and is easier while racing. The idea is that you are racing toward the corner than full braking (clutch in) then while entering corner, you want to keep braking, but soon as you can let off the brake, you want to have power to throttle out. If you simply placed it in the gear you need, and dropped clutch while cornering you will shift lock and lose traction. You rev match the engine to the revolutions of the drive train to smoothly downshift. While braking you turn your foot so your heel presses on the throttle to rev up the engine then you can drop the clutch, then throttle out of the corner.

Double clutching is used on older transmissions that are unsynchronized. The idea is that there are three moving sections of a manual transmission car: the engine to the clutch, between the clutch and the gear selection, and the drive train. You would depress the clutch to unload the pressure to place tranny in neutral, then relieve pressure on the clutch, let the engine rev match, by usually waiting the precise time for the rpms to drop to the drive train revolutions. Then quickly depressing the clutch again to complete the shift into the new gear, then dropping the clutch. The idea is to keep the middle section moving at the same rpm as the engine. If you didnít release the clutch on the older transmissions you would need to wait for the middle section to rev match drive train to avoid grinding, but then the engine rpm will be too low. When you release the clutch it will place a massive strain the drive train as a jolt slower. In a race car that little jolt is enough to lose traction. In a semi, that jolt may be enough to cause damage. On old cars you can grind gears with clutch depressed!

Float shifting is the idea of not using the clutch at all during shifting, and plays under some of the same principles of double clutching. In double clutching you depress the clutch to release the torque on the gearbox, then depress again to make sure that there is no torque while realigning new gear selection. You can just control the torque and revolutions by precise throttle control. If they rev match you can complete a shift with no damage. If done properly it will be very smooth, and most passengers will never know you did it. Modern synchronized transmissions will not allow the gears to touch unless there is relatively no torque. You can simply let off throttle, pull out of gear then hold pressure attempting to drop in new gear then when they align, it will drop. If it ever grinds you are causing serious damage.

One very important aspect of drag racing that most people never know, is the idea of torque side(thatís what I call it atleast). On solid axel differentials the rotation of the engine is perpendicular the direction towards the tires. There is always some level of drag on the system, and when under heavy torque the differential actually wants to twist under the car. This will add extra force on one side and reduce it on the other. Since traction is based on force on the patch, traction will vary between the tires. On launch the car will actually shoot off center of the track. This is something you need to be prepared for before racing a fast car. In a 68 camaro I used to actually start the car crooked and with wheel turned to compensate for this. It would scare anybody in the passenger seat.

Difference between Horsepower and Torque
Ill bet only a few people here actually know what the difference is they just think they do. When I was researching this they just went straight into physics equations to prove it because they donít really know how to explain it. Torque is just the amount of force being applied, what people donít understand is that you can calculate horsepower from the torque, and vise vesus. it is based on 5252 rpm, thats why the peak is always right around there, power is not based on any set rpm. Torque changes based on gear ratios!! When you regear your car with 4.10ís you are adding a massive amount of torque to the wheels. Dynos calculate the torque to the engine!! The transmission changes the torque but not the power being delivered. Power is a measure of force per minute. It throws in the time aspect. Power is just the raw number that shows the energy that can be used. The lower the gear selection, the higher the torque. The truth comes down to the highest torque at the wheels is the fastest acceleration, the lower gear selection is faster. If you redline your engine you are using the higher torque for longer.

As I am a very physics oriented person, I am very interested in the ventri effect, with aerodynamics. If you are interested in underbody effects, it would be a good read. But I donít want to explain that. Google. It was used in F1 cars for a little while but was ruled illegal because of the excessive speeds.
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:49 AM   #2
The Stig
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Good read. Thanks for the write up. Though just a tid bit. They actually teach you to hold the wheel at 8 and 4 now. As people would suffer broken arms from airbag deployment when holding the wheel at 10 and 2
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