Friday, March 8, 2013

This Is Why You Need to Invest in the Driver

So you've got a few track days under your belt and you've moved up a group or two. Or maybe you have a ton of track days and you are stuck in a rut. I see this all the time. Many people who take up performance driving as a hobby and do it for a few years end up in that category. And they often plan their new driving season in terms of improving the car, not their driving skill. There are very few who actually take the time to think What do I need to do to improve the driver?

Hat Tip to Where2Race.com

So often every new season, you see familiar people come back to the track with a few new modifications in their car. These days, it's easy to get a car with 400 or even 500 HP and modify it for more. And herein lies the fundamental problem: Drivers too often look for improvements in their performance by focusing on their cars and not on themselves. They overlook the fact that the quality of a car’s performance is, at the most basic level, a direct consequence of the quality of a driver’s input. We admire talented drivers who can whip average cars fast around a track. And yes, many secretly snicker at relatively experienced drivers with very capable cars driven to a fraction of their potential.

A car can only operate at its limits when the driver has the knowledge and skill to reach and exploit those limits. Improving the driver is your best investment and it stays with you in every car. Think about it -- that $3,000 exhaust that you are getting for you car this year could get you 15 track days. Which of the two do you feel will make you a better driver?

3 comments:

  1. You know, I think it's actually becoming more acceptable for drivers to ask for help or seek assistance from the current technology to improve objectively their skills. Many drivers who have business experience are acquainted with the idea of using data, sometimes "big data" to begin to analyze trends and absolute performance.

    Where this article hits the nail on the head is pushing the idea that indeed, most drivers under utilize what they have. One of the simplest gauges of that is the simple "friction circle" which any recognized data system can visualize and "play back" in real time.

    The first goal is to tidy up, or make most efficient, the fore/aft (longitudinal) g buildup through effective use of brakes and throttle, as well as shortening the transitions between. The next is to make sure that side forces (lateral) g buildup and sustaining is equal or close to equal for all cornering phases, except for compromise corners. Then, look at the friction circle to learn how to "blend" these forces and their transitions together.

    It's cool, and fun!

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  2. Shit Box racers do this all the time! If I had a black stamp for all the GT3 P-Cars I have passed, my BMW e36 M3 would be very dark black... With black strips and grahics. LEARN TO DRIVE! Rent a Miata until you do.

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  3. Good point but I would never call the E36 M3 a shitbox. It's one of the best track day chassis ever!

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