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Do you think that for a seasoned RACER, that HPDE HURTS you or HELPS you?

  • Hurts You

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would you say, that for someone who RACES, that HPDE HURTS you or HELPS you?

The reason I ask is because all of the front runners that I see at the races, are rarely to never at the HPDE events.

My thought behind it HURTING you is the mentality of the HPDEer is more "get around" and the RACEer is more "get around that guy"

So while I can see and agree that seat time is seat time, do you feel that "turning on/off" that little brain (for a lack of a better term) is difficult to do from HPDE to RACE?

Just curious,
I know LOTS maybe even too many people that think they are fast until they start racing, and then once they start, only to find out that they are 45th out of 50 people based on the times they thought were "fast".
 

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I consider HPDE's to just be a test day where there are typically more passing restrictions, but with the advantage that most of the other people (not testing race cars) actually care about their equipment :)

Where I find it to be an advantage is that it gets my mind off total lap time (which is meaningless if there's limited passing) and more on working on specific parts of the racetrack. It gets easy to "throw away" a couple of turns to build a nice gap so I can hit a couple of corners quickly without being held up.

I am sure there are many smarter and more disciplined racers that can do this at any time, but I ain't one of them. On a test day prior to a race weekend, for example, I am always checking my laptimes, whereas in an HPDE I am typically only checking my exit rpm on specific corners.

My feeling about why people transitioning to racing find themselves slower than they expect is that, in many race classes, the cars are pretty tightly controlled (Spec Racer Ford being at the top of the list, with sealed engines, shocks, gearboxes, etc), and people discover that while in HPDE it's easier to "buy speed" you just can't do that to nearly as large an extent in many race classes. The cars will be very equal, and smaller differences are the entire difference.

I've looked at my data and the data from the fastest guys in the country, and literally, the difference (about 3 seconds a lap on a 3 mile track) comes down to less than 200rpm at corner exit. It's that close.

Steve
 

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Pretty much agree with the above. If I do a HPDE it's usually to get practice time before a scheduled race on a given track. When you race only 6 or 7 times in a season it is easy to loose the touch. Additional seat time before a scheduled event is a great way to get re-acquianted with a given track and set up ones game plan for the actual race day.

The hard part is timing an HPDE to fall just before the race weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I pretty much agree with all of you. I think that HPDE is great! But I also think it is not the way to make yourself the best one on the track, for that you need to RACE and race a lot!

I think HPDE is great for tweaking your line and brushing off the "off season cobwebs" but not sold that doing more HPDE will help break through your improvement plateu, I think racing and more racing is the way to move up in the ranks.

That said, having NOT gotten my liscense yet, I am defering to all of you to gather enough votes to get the best answer ;)

Thanks all!
 

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I will be using some HPDE's to get comfortable with my car when I get it back from the shop. It will drastically different with a 600cc GSX-R with 6-speed sequential rather than the 500cc two stroke with a CVT. With a complete rebuild and the rear half of the frame being completely new it will be a good event to use for starting slowly with some pace laps and slowly build the speed each sessions so we can give the car a complete look over between session. I will also plan on doing some HPDE's at tracks I am not very familiar with to help learn them. Overall, HPDE's can be a helpful tool, but only at certain things like working on a few specific corners, or shaking down a car after upgrades or repairs.
 

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I think HPDE is great for tweaking your line and brushing off the "off season cobwebs" but not sold that doing more HPDE will help break through your improvement plateu, I think racing and more racing is the way to move up in the ranks.
I'm not quite sure I agree with this. Racing during races does require better mental endurance (for example, you have to do 18 laps at Laguna Seca as fast as you can, without making any big mistakes), and it does require learning racecraft (how to set up for a pass, how to judge getting really really really REALLY close to someone, how to position your car so you don't open yourself up to being passed) -- but all those elements are still secondary to working on your line and just being fast.

Because in the end, if you look at a site like MyLaps.com (the AMB website where you'll see many races listed), you'll find that, generally speaking, finishing order ties very tightly to fastest laps. Sure, sometimes there's a little difference, but it's pretty rare that the guy with the 27th fastest lap will finish 20th, for example. After all, if you qualify well (and that's all about the line), you should be starting in front of people slower than you, and behind people faster than you.

Racing is definitely important...but don't think that testing isn't more important. Racing is generally less track time than testing (for example, a double race weekend may be as little as 5 sessions over 3 days, a practice, a qualifier, a race, 2nd qualy, 2nd race), whereas a test day/HPDE will give you 5 sessions in a single day -- where it's easy to play with setup, go out, see what it's like, then make more changes, go out again...etc

Testing is like homework. Fun homework, yes, but it's still homework and ultimately, if you just try and take the tests without doing your homework, well, you know how that turns out most of the time.

Steve
 

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I had a 15 year hiatus from racing when i stoped roadracing motorcycles.
I got the Elise, and discovered HPDE( i had never heard of it prior to getting my car) so i figured i would check it out.
It was time on the track which was fun, but it was very mundane to be just driving around on the track. I had thought the "racer" in me was gone, but it clearly wasnt. it took only one day for me to realize this, and only about 4 HPDE days to accept this and change cars from the Lotus and go racing again.

To me the difference in racing vs HPDE is that racing is a chess game at high speed. I can outsmart someone who is a bit faster, and beat him on the last lap, or i can outrun someone by being precise for the entire race and not making mistakes.
vice versa, and it sucks to get outsmarted.

To me, racing has 3 parts;
1)the start which is really exciting,
2) the large chunk of the racing after the start through to the last few laps
3) the final battle for the last few laps( if you are lucky enough to have someone close to you), where you have saved your tires, and not shown your hand of where you are weakest/strongest.

My favorite thing is to be in a battle with someone for 18 laps, study what he is doing while following, and not show where i am stronger. maybe set the guy up during the midrace laps by "trying to pass on one side of him for a few laps, get him off line to protect, and then go around him on the other side now that he is off line where you really wanted to take him anyway.

so to me, its really like a high speed chess game, and being able to stay calm, and ready to captilize on an opportuntiny when it arises. racing is challenging on so many levels, both mentally and physically.

this is everything that is missing from HPDE, and really makes HPDE a waste of time and $( to me), when you could be doing so much more while on the track.

I also like the fact(from my experience) that guys in the racing groups "usually"(generalization) prep/care for their cars better.

I dont know to many guys who are racing competitively who show up on dead tires because they dont want to spend $X hundred(s) on a new set. to be competitve your equipment has to be up to the task. I feel much safer in the race groups than i did in HPDE for these reasons, and also because some of the guys in HPDE are actually racing each other, while others are not. It makes for some surprises.

I think HPDE is fine if you havent raced, but once you have raced and gotten hooked, there is no going back to just lapping around the track mindlessly(just my feeling).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow! Well put Fishguy! Hope I meet you some day and we can race together (one of us will have to change classes first I would think)
 

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FWIW, once I started racing, my HPDE days went to zero. Literally zero.

Mostly for reasons of cost. I dont think there's enough value to justify transport, fluids, entry fees, etc.

I slightly disagree with the ability to test n tune since it's often hard to get in enough 10/10 laps to really know what you got. Factor in the passing zones and less experienced drivers and I just found myself not wanting to participate at all. Like FGuy said, the prep factor is also an issue.

I dont know one person on my 8-10 person race team that does HPDEs so it must be a common conclusion.
 

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FWIW, once I started racing, my HPDE days went to zero. Literally zero.

Mostly for reasons of cost. I dont think there's enough value to justify transport, fluids, entry fees, etc.

I slightly disagree with the ability to test n tune since it's often hard to get in enough 10/10 laps to really know what you got. Factor in the passing zones and less experienced drivers and I just found myself not wanting to participate at all. Like FGuy said, the prep factor is also an issue.

I dont know one person on my 8-10 person race team that does HPDEs so it must be a common conclusion.
DE has its place as it is a great opportunity to learn to drive a car at speed, safely. But racing is quite different.

I rarely do DEs in my car unless I can use it as an actual test day. And that is the same for pretty much ever racer I know. Thankfully there are more than a few groups around here (NJ) where that can be easily accomplished. But with the vast majority that is virtually impossible, especially if you are in anything less than the advanced group.
>>>Limited track time, more than two groups, less than 45 minutes per session, too high a car count, etc.

And why as a racer would you take their car on track if you weren't working on something specific? All that does is waste time, money, and equipment. You show up on race weekend, do a short practice, make adjustments, qualify, make adjustments, race, do it again the next day, and then go home. (This is why Jack is known as a sandbagger -- tooling around is pointless. :D)

Taken from an article my friend John Paton wrote in Porcheforus:

For the DE participant considering expanding into Club Racing, there are a number of factors to be considered. First and maybe foremost, Club Racing is very hard on egos (not that you’d expect to find egos in a bunch of Type A’s thrown on the track to battle for supremacy). Club Racing throws away the order and hierarchy of Drivers Education. DE has the comfort of the system – knowing that if we put in the time and effort to work on our driving, our skill progression will be recognized as we move up through the color ranks, and possibly become an instructor. Club Racing throws all this out the window in favor of the decidedly dispassionate race clock. Suddenly, years of driving experience and honing one’s craft are completely ignored. All that is recognized is who gets to the checkered flag first. A Green/Yellow driver can humiliate a Red/Black pilot with impunity. (Race cars are grouped into classes of similarly capable models, usually by some form of power-to-weight ratio, so it makes it challenging to explain away the seconds-a-lap differences that invariably separate the cars in class.) This is particularly hard on long time DE participants who went through the process and attained their upper run group status years ago. The idea of being thrown back into the bottom of the barrel to claw their way up to the top again may have very little appeal, especially when there is the very real likelihood of not ever reaching the top step of the Class podium. It’s not that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, it’s more like some old dogs just don’t want to suffer through the indignity of having to learn them!

In addition to raising the intensity and adrenaline a couple of notches, Club Racing brings a new appreciation of the cars themselves. Strict class rules prevent the “horsepower creep” that seems so addictive in DE cars. The whole concept of suspension setup takes on new significance because, unlike engine horsepower upgrades, “handling horsepower” is “free” in all PCA Club Racing Classes. Success in racing forces drivers to become more intimate with messages that their cars are sending them and to adjust their setup accordingly. Fortunately for the Porsche Club Racer, the pits at every event are full of other drivers in similar cars more than willing to assist with information and experiences to help this process. It’s all part of the larger basket of “racecraft”.
Unless you’ve had Roy Chong’s DNA genetically implanted, racecraft will have to be learned exactly the same way that we learned to drive on track in the first place – practice, practice, practice! Expecting to be competitive right out of the gate against equally matched cars in class and drivers with years of racing experience is the same as the “wunderkinds” that show up for their first PCA DE expecting to show their instructors “a thing or two”. Aspiring Club Racers need to get comfortable with the fact that, early on, they are going to get beaten on a regular basis – and to have the best time of their lives doing so! And that’s the point. Club Racing opens the track experience to include a variety of new sensory inputs and mental demands that go well beyond the confines of DE, and in doing so exposes the driver/racer to a whole new learning process. On reflection, maybe (for some) Club Racing is the next logical step in their driving education.
 

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I think as one gains experience racing, you need to do less testing. Heck, I've seen the top guys in SRF miss practice and qualifying, start at the back of a 30 car field, and finish 2nd or 3rd.

But those guys have also been winning (not just competing) in SRF for 12+ years. For those of us that haven't gotten to that level of experience, I think there's value in being in the car any time you can be in the car. Clearly some of the balance depends on the type of car you race, and what your expenables are. If I raced really soft tires that went from sticker to junk in a single test day, and my engine cost $300/hour or more to run, I might think differently.

Steve
 
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