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dunhamr1

New to the track, looking for some pointers

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Been dabbling in a bunch of racing (Stage rally, autocross, rallycross), but finally got the car together enough to feel comfortable that it wasn't going to fall apart. Track Night in America provided a great opportunity to get on track and try things out, and I went to the event at MSRC in September as my first track day.

 

Other than being REALLY uncomfortable in the car the first session (head didn't fit, falling out of the seat), I found a position that was a bit better, and g-locked the seatbelt and had more fun in the following sessions.

 

Here's the video from the last session that day, where I had gotten a bit more comfortable driving the car on a track, and with the layout. Any constructive criticism is appreciated, and always looking to learn.

 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Xlf-gOchlc

 

There are some planned changes to the car as well, to have some head room and not be falling out of the seat. I'll drive around it until then.

 

I'm hooked, and can't wait to get back out!

 

Edit: I also realized this was posted specifically for MSR, but I may repost in a more general forum.

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Other than being REALLY uncomfortable in the car the first session (head didn't fit, falling out of the seat), I found a position that was a bit better, and g-locked the seatbelt and had more fun in the following sessions.

 

Any constructive criticism is appreciated, and always looking to learn.

 

There are some planned changes to the car as well, to have some head room and not be falling out of the seat. I'll drive around it until then.

 

I'm hooked, and can't wait to get back out!

 

Track driving is addicting, isn't it :) And it's way more fun when you're strapped in properly!

 

If you're asking for feedback, I'll offer just a bit - the one thing that jumps out at me right away is that you shuffle your hands around the steering wheel quite a bit. It'll help tremendously in the long run to try and keep the hands in one position on the wheel. Variety of reasons, but you'll have a centering reference in the event of a spin; you wont get caught out making a bad adjustment trying to correct a slide, etc. It may be a challenge given the comments about not fitting in the car - it may be ergonomically challenging to do, but it's a good idea. Just my $0.02 

 

Welcome!

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A Merkur, wow. That's definitely different! Love it!

Thanks! Yeah, I love that it's totally out there, but it's not totally off the wall. The Sierra (which this is based on) is a pretty solid package for both circuit racing and rally.

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Track driving is addicting, isn't it :) And it's way more fun when you're strapped in properly!

 

If you're asking for feedback, I'll offer just a bit - the one thing that jumps out at me right away is that you shuffle your hands around the steering wheel quite a bit. It'll help tremendously in the long run to try and keep the hands in one position on the wheel. Variety of reasons, but you'll have a centering reference in the event of a spin; you wont get caught out making a bad adjustment trying to correct a slide, etc. It may be a challenge given the comments about not fitting in the car - it may be ergonomically challenging to do, but it's a good idea. Just my $0.02

 

Welcome!

Thanks for the feedback, it's absolutely addicting! I'll definitely look to improve that next time I'm out and about. It was something I noticed and was trying to work on, you should have seen the first session (perhaps I need to go upload that as well), I must have had octopus arms!

 

I'm hoping the changes to the car that are coming to increase the roll stiffness will help me feel a bit more comfortable and focus on the things I need to work on.

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I agree having an instructor in the car with you will my world of difference.

My best advice - sign up for an upcoming track event *with* instruction...that will be the best thing for you.

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I already made my comments on youtube, but you should get some more great advice here.

 

In-car instruction is the best way to get faster. Lead/follow is good, but unless you're in identical cars you never really know exactly where to improve (still better than nothing).

 

Confidence and seat time will help tremendously. Low power cars are all about keeping up your momentum and that's hard to do when you're new. It's generally easier to floor it on the straights with the power cars than to throw a momentum car into the corners at speed.

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Yes, that's the hope! Do you have any suggestions for reputable events with instructors? TNiA was a good place to get the feet wet, but it was obvious how they kept costs low (one Novice group instructor that was there to answer questions but wasn't looking at specific drivers, lots of corporate sponsorship, etc).

 

My best advice - sign up for an upcoming track event *with* instruction...that will be the best thing for you.

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I already made my comments on youtube, but you should get some more great advice here.

 

In-car instruction is the best way to get faster. Lead/follow is good, but unless you're in identical cars you never really know exactly where to improve (still better than nothing).

 

Confidence and seat time will help tremendously. Low power cars are all about keeping up your momentum and that's hard to do when you're new. It's generally easier to floor it on the straights with the power cars than to throw a momentum car into the corners at speed.

 

Thanks! Your comments on youtube were spot on, and I'll be sure to review everything before the next time I go out.

 

And yes, a low-power car this is at the moment, with the boost kept low (10-12 psi) because stock configuration has no intercooler (though one is in the car, need to moved the alternator and plumb the piping), and don't feel like I need/want too much more power until I gain some more experience. It's the reason I didn't take the daily, a 2016 Golf R.

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I got nothing.

 

Just want to say...

Love the view of both cockpit/driver and track.  Almost feels like I'm sitting next to you (albeit very tall).  From a noobs perspective - Your demeanor seems nice and relaxed with pretty smooth driving.  Made me relaxed to ride along.  Also nice presence of mind of other drivers, polite etc.   

 

What is the camera setup?  My Camaro would look like a dark cave by comparison...since it petty much is a dark cave.

 

I've been dinged before about shuffle steering...maybe it's an autox habit?  Something about driving a street car with a big steering wheel, I feel like I have less fine control when my arms are crossed over in an X, and less movement range in case of need.  That was my old Mazdaspeed3, the Camaro steering is much better in that regard.

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Thanks! I endeavour to go about life and respect others around me, especially in places where emotions can get high (like the track). I got a bit frustrated with the stingray that wouldn't point me by, but I wasn't about to get up in his grill (I don't trust my brakes that well yet and perhaps I was too far away for him to feel like I needed to get past, oh well).

 

As for the camera, it's a Go-Pro Hero 3+ black (though I only really shoot in 720p to save card space), on a suction cup mount to the sunroof. It has extensions to move the camera to sit even further aft. The first session I had it in the middle facing straight out, but the rear view mirror obstructed a lot of what you could see. I moved it to the right-hand back corner and angled it a bit. I wanted to be able to see my hand movements and out the front at the same time. This car has A LOT of greenhouse, which is nice, but also no tint, so there's a decent amount of light that gets in.

 

Could be AutoX? It probably comes from rally (I work as an instructor at Rally Ready off and on) and some of the drills we do. There's a lot of emphasis on shuffle steer for the large steering inputs needed in the figure 8 drill. On the track though, one shouldn't need so much input.

 

One thing I noticed is that there were many areas where I could stay full throttle, or get to power earlier/faster (I'm probably only working with 120-130hp right now), where I was either lifting or waiting to get to power.

 

I got nothing.

 

Just want to say...

Love the view of both cockpit/driver and track.  Almost feels like I'm sitting next to you (albeit very tall).  From a noobs perspective - Your demeanor seems nice and relaxed with pretty smooth driving.  Made me relaxed to ride along.  Also nice presence of mind of other drivers, polite etc.   

 

What is the camera setup?  My Camaro would look like a dark cave by comparison...since it petty much is a dark cave.

 

I've been dinged before about shuffle steering...maybe it's an autox habit?  Something about driving a street car with a big steering wheel, I feel like I have less fine control when my arms are crossed over in an X, and less movement range in case of need.  That was my old Mazdaspeed3, the Camaro steering is much better in that regard.

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Edge Addicts is another one.  Note, all the HPDE providers have both events that have instructors and those that are Solo approved only.   I did my first event Spring 2017 and was hooked.  Like above, some good help early combined with street time is a big plus for your development.

 

Also, in my opinion, get the basics of your car track ready and do NOT make a bunch of changes until you've got some good amount of seat time behind you.

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Agreed about the car, but it needs a minimum of some reliability changes to manage the heat.

 

Other changes are driver comfort related (body roll, brake fade), and then seat time seat time seat time.

Edge Addicts is another one.  Note, all the HPDE providers have both events that have instructors and those that are Solo approved only.   I did my first event Spring 2017 and was hooked.  Like above, some good help early combined with street time is a big plus for your development.

 

Also, in my opinion, get the basics of your car track ready and do NOT make a bunch of changes until you've got some good amount of seat time behind you.

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Absolutely agree:  safety & reliability first!  Hope to see you soon out there!

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Thanks, me too! Lot of budget going into the car and not entry fees so we'll see in the near term.

 

 

Absolutely agree:  safety & reliability first!  Hope to see you soon out there!

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