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Contributors:  Jerry Austin, Ross Bentley, Tony Bones, Satch Carlson, Greg Haas, Peter Krause, Burt Levy, Chad Morehead, Clive Murphy, Boris Peharda, Doug Quara, Chris Sneed, Ingrid Steffensen, Alan Wilson

 

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DrivingTech

Track Walk Webinars with Mike Skeen & Johan Schwartz

 

"One of the most important things to going fast and progressing in car control is an understanding of weight management, especially at the point of brake release."

 

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DrivingTech

 

Reading the Car Through Your Hands & Feet

 

"The goal in every corner is to get maximum exit speed by giving the car one nice throttle application as early as the car will take it."

 

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TrackCars

Palatov Motorsport:  Cars Designed for Trackday Drivers

 

"I’m a trackday driver and not a racer.  I wanted to design cars that I myself would want to own and drive."

 

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TrackCarTech

Matt Romanowski of TrailBrake.net Talks to TrackDayZone

 

"There is no more guessing or going by what 'feels' faster.  With data, you know what is faster."

 

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TrackDrivers

BMW Performance Driving Center Instructor Mike Renner

 

"Being able to drive the car at or very near the limit with comfort – that’s car control."

 

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TrackCar Tech

Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer, Talks About Z06 Overheating 

 

"Because we need the lay-down cooler for trans lube cooling, the automatic’s performance is not improved as much as cars with the manual trans"

 

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TrackData

Record your laps with in-car video and data overlays.  

Just click below and be directed to our selection of technology selected particularly with HPDE track days in mind.

 

"When you grasp the steering wheel, be conscious of your fingertips as the first contact and explore the minimal inputs required to change direction.  Plant your heel on the floor to index your foot's position and actively use your toes first for braking and throttle."

 

Advanced Driver Tuning: “Fingers and Toes” 

by Greg Haas

Greg Haas, owner of Advanced Driver Tuning, was one of our first reader submitters last year and has submitted another very useful article about honing the skills necessary to effectively use the controls of the car.  Experienced track drivers are mindful of not maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel.  By holding the wheel as gently as possible, we maximize the amount we can feel through the steering mechanism.  Another great piece of advice I received from an instructor was to imagine there was an egg between my foot and the brake and accelerator pedals.  The point of all this is to be smooth when using the controls of the car and to allow yourself to feel how the car is reacting.  Take a look at Greg's useful tips and then consider taking one of his courses, which he describes in detail below.

 

Fingers and Toes 4The best possible training scenario for a FATT (Friday at the Track) event is a rainy morning followed by midday clearing and dry sunny conditions in the afternoon.  As an instructor, this is simply perfect because we start with drivers who must absolutely respect the realities of traction in the morning.  With the eventual clearing in the afternoon, we are rewarded with a field of drivers whose inputs are much smoother and who are really using their eyes to plan ahead.  This makes us feel like the best instructors in the world even though the magical lessons were courtesy of Mother Nature.

 

My mantra on these rainy track days is always “fingers and toes.”  Yes I do say it out loud and am often greeted with looks of confusion.  At first is sounds kind of delicate and very touchy-feely for the apparently burly world of motorsports.  With explanation however, it begins to make sense and becomes the path to a successful rain event.

 

One tends to lose touch (couldn't resist) with the delicacy of driving at high speeds on-track for a lot of reasons.  Good tires provide a lot of resistance in cornering and seem to take some muscle to change direction.  Braking can also be very aggressive, especially in a well set up car.  When the track begins to straighten out, the fun seems to begin when the foot pushes down on the long pedal and the thigh muscle strives to press it through the firewall.  On a good day, with the right car, this can be what it's all about and life is great (until it's not).  Delicacy; “pah!”  Smoothness is for Hollandaise sauce!

 

The rain has been called the great equalizer in racing circles and rightly so.  This is where the skills really apply.  Vision is highly compromised and you find yourself peering deeply into the mist as you search for the not so wet spots.  Your butt is on high alert as you feel the chassis loads on the car skittering across the surface.  Suddenly the racing circuit becomes a series of drag strips connected by access roads and your toes press on the throttle to get the maximum acceleration balanced with the inevitable wheel spin.  Braking zones must become straight lines whenever possible and toes dance on the pedal as tires go in and out of lock-up.  Soon the cornering transition begins as you blend in steering ever so gently with your fingertips encouraging the turn while feeling for the inevitable disconnection that lets you know you asked for too much too soon and it's time to soften up.  Mastery of this dance takes a lot of patience and discipline.

 

Every session in a vehicle presents an opportunity to refine these skills.  While it may be ill advised to habitually probe the limits of traction on the way toFingers and Toes 2 the Quickee Mart, it sure makes a lot of sense to drive as if you could.  When you grasp the steering wheel, be conscious of your fingertips as the first contact and explore the minimal inputs required to change direction.  Plant your heel on the floor to index your foot's position and actively use your toes first for braking and throttle.  Visually plan ahead so you are able to minimize your inputs and yet gain maximum results.  All of these exercises prepare your body for maximum performance on the track.  By habitually positioning yourself well in any vehicle, you are prepared for immediate and effective intuitive inputs.  When you begin to practice the language your vehicle communicates, it becomes increasingly seamless to extract the most from your valuable track time.

 

The Advanced Driver Tuning events are designed to provide a full day that allows one to explore the nature of feedback and input from the car.  By using Police Interceptors we are able to replicate most of the vehicle responses that normally remain cloaked in the technology and refinement of most track cars.  While it may seem cumbersome at first, the CVPI is an excellent training vehicle.  It has served well for providing thousands of students, from racers to teens, with information they can use in minimum traction conditions provided on a wet skid pad.  Every car is equipped with a standard tire that will serve all phases of the training.  This benefit allows the advanced student to compare and contrast their control from the lowest speed and traction conditions to the limits of the vehicle and tires at higher circuit lap conditions. 

 

Fingers and Toes 3Preparatory exercises include skills for braking in and out of threshold, blended braking and steering, and exploration of control systems such as ABS.  These exercises allow students to warm up to the cars and recognize refinements they can make to their inputs.  Throughout these activities, crucial use of ocular driving is reinforced in a variety of situations thereby helping to refine control.  The CVPI also allows for a team learning approach with the in-car instructor providing individual coaching that fits each student's needs while the other students in the car can absorb the information and apply it to their stint behind the wheel.  As this program progresses from starting exercises to track laps, all of the driver's inputs are refined and reinforced.  The n

 

et result is a variety of tools even the most experienced drivers will use to reduce lap times and set up their cars for optimum performance.

 

When driving at the highest levels of performance, the partnership with the vehicle is paramount.  You will never force a car to defy physics, but you certainly can encourage it to bend them a little.  The next time storm clouds are boiling above your favorite venue just smile and remember “fingers and toes”.

 

Advanced Driver Tuning event March 20, 2015

Haasmobility

Greg Haas 

“Think fast, go faster”

haasmobility@gmail.com

240.527.5543

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TrackCarTech 

 


BMW M Laptimer App

 

BMW Car Club of America Roundel Editor Satch Carlson whispered in our ear recently about the new BMW M Laptimer app.  He thought a review was in order, so here it is. 

 

 


 
 
 
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TrackCarTech

Track Attack Update

 

 

"Moving forward, I know there is still at least 1 second on the table and can clearly see it when just looking at my own data." 


 

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TrackDrivers

Fast Girl:  Ingrid Steffensen

 

 

"I’m not the fastest driver out there, but I’m good at communicating, good at breaking things down, tackling challenges from different angles, and—I hope—reading students for how much they can absorb in any given session or day."    

 

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Nasa HPDE Program

""It was a very proud moment for me when they finally said 'ok, you can take one student now, don't mess this up."  

  

 

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TrackDrivers

Driving Coach Peter Krause Part I

 

 

"I’m still winning races in more competitive events and I think I am still getting better (at least my data says I am!)."

 

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David Ray of Hooked On Driving

 

“Once you work with an advanced person,” says Ray, “you see the issue, give feedback, coach them through it differently and then get out of the car and let them work on it.”

 


 
 
 
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TrackDriver 

 


Chris Sneed of Sneed's Speed Shop

 

“The best way to get started is to either find a shop that can help you or some buddies that are already into it.  It really helps to know people before just showing up."

 


 
 
 
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TrackQ&A 

 


Where They Raced

 

“Just imagine going 90 miles an hour on dirt, three wide, trying to get to a corner.  That's reeealllly insane right down Santa Monica Boulevard.  When I think of it, it seems outside the realm of sanity."

 

 


 
 
 

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TrackCars

Saleen Automotive’s Mustangs

 

 

With all of their racing experience, odds are that you can depend on Saleen to build you a car that is highly capable and well balanced for track day and street use.  


  

 

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Praise for Auto TrackDay Monthly

"Michael and Ziva Allen found themselves so involved with track schools that they launched an online magazine for track junkies. Since I’ll be heading to Buttonwillow for a Central Cal Chapter school in a few weeks, I have been spending quite a bit of time at the site. Okay, I have been spending too much time on the site. I can’t help it!"

-Satch Carlson, Editor of Roundel Magazine

 

"I just took a look at your website, and I can see that I'll be back many times in the future. Looks great!"

-Ross Bentley, SpeedSecrets.com 

 

"Wow – Michael and Ziva…you humble me…the article is amazing…thanks so much for the effort – and for being 100% accurate in rendering our conversations…wow…"

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"Excellent!!   Outstanding!!  Awesome!!  What else can I say?  BTW, this is one of the most accurate, best written articles I have read in quite a while."

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