Originally Posted by Randy Chase
I have some really bad habits when racing..much worse than thumbs.
Like letting go of the wheel.
It's funny that I've now seen this posted in two places in this thread. A friend of mine always gets harrassed by instructors at track day for just the same habit.
When I ride with him I can't help but laugh. He enters a turn, the car starts to get a little crazy so he lets go of the wheel. The car naturally lines itself back up (I guess suspension geometry does this). He grabs the wheel again as it's spinning back to center. It's hilarious riding with him in an autocross because he's rarely actually holding the wheel. It spins back to neutral so fast he could never do it "by hand". He usually ends up with a top 3 time and that's all classes included. He runs a very slightly modified 240Z.
I haven't seen a good summary on what changes the way a car handles near the limits of traction so I included my experiences below. Very low tech! Of course this assumes you are not changing weight distribution at the same time:
To create oversteering tendencies:
Smaller rear tires or larger front Tires
Larger rear swaybar or smaller front swaybar
Braking or letting off the throttle in turns
Applying enough throttle to break traction on the rear tires in a turn (only affects rear wheel drive vehicles)
Stiffer rear springs or softer front springs
To get a car to understeer:
Larger rear tires or smaller fronts
Larger front swaybar or smaller rear
Applying throttle without breaking rear traction in a turn
Stiffer front springs or softer rear springs
(Please correct me if I'm wrong or add anything I missed. I'm always looking to learn new tricks)
It's really about getting your car out at an autocross and learning it's limits. Then you can try to use some of the simple modifications above to see how it changes the handling of your car. The throttle and brake ones don't even cost any money...
A side note... Applying throttle to a motorcycle in mid-air will bring the rear wheel down, applying the brakes will bring the nose down. Applying the brakes so hard that the rear wheel stops rotating will result in an unfortunate event. Sounds familiar, huh?
My experience thus far with the Elise (Touring package, nowhere near the limits) is that it has very mild understeer unless provoked. An excellent set-up for a street car in my opinion.