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Absolute power does what?
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Discussion Starter #1
Everyone,

First for discussions sake have a look at the video below:


What you'll see is that I'm "sawing" at the wheel a lot, specifically during turn-in. This is a technique I've been playing with the past few track days after reading an article/video about it (which I now can't find). The idea is this - I'm fighting to feel for the grip at turn in while the front tires are all loaded up. I'm feeling where it is then releasing it, then feeling it grip, then releasing all at the same time. You'll notice I'm doing this far less at the exit of the corner as I have all the weight to the back and I'm just letting the car unwind (and I'm sorta steering it with the throttle to a degree).

In the car if you had your eyes closed you'd barely feel this. It's definitely not upsetting the car to the point that it's worse - and looking at my friction circle on my Traqmate things still look good and smooth. Contrary to what you see with the wheel I pride myself on being an extremely smooth driver. That's also the fastest lap I've ever driven - it's the first time I've broken 2 minutes at High Plains Raceway (beating my previous best by 5 seconds). The 2 minute mark is really what separates fast and really fast at HPR, I've been chasing that time for 3 seasons now. For comparison a 997 Cup Car runs around 1:58 on this track.

So my question is this - am I completely fooling myself and making this up or do you guys think there is validity to my thinking? As some of you may know I just did a monster build on my car and this was my first day at my home track with it (the lap above was only the 13th lap I've driven in it). Once I get a little more comfortable with it I'll try a session with no "sawing" and one with to see if I can see any difference in lap times.

Thoughts? Feel free to shred me if you'd like!
 

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Just turn the wheel and stay smooth. Every time you saw at the wheel you're upsetting the contact patch and throwing weight around needlessly, despite what your telemetry is saying. I can't recall ever seeing driving that was quicker by being erratic and unpredictable. Put another way, if you were able to spend the entire time through the corner at maximum grip instead of poking at it via sawing, you'd carry more speed into and through the corner.
 

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Absolute power does what?
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Discussion Starter #3
Every time you saw at the wheel you're upsetting the contact patch and throwing weight around needlessly, despite what your telemetry is saying.
Don't know that I agree with this - if I were throwing the weight around telemetry would definitely show that, that's what it does. These are also very minor movements (again my steering rack is pretty loose) so I don't know that I'd use the word "throwing"

I can't recall ever seeing driving that was quicker by being erratic and unpredictable.
I definitely wouldn't use the terms erratic or unpredictable here at all. We're talking inches that I'm moving the car if at all.

Put another way, if you were able to spend the entire time through the corner at maximum grip instead of poking at it via sawing, you'd carry more speed into and through the corner.
Now this I agree with, in general. Obviously the more grip I have the faster I am - and that's what I'm trying (or think I'm trying) to find/feel with the sawing. Again this is something new I'm playing with and now how I typically drive.

Ryephile do you have any videos of yourself on track so I can get some ideas on your style? Do you have some in the track videos thread?

-Ross
 

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I think that what you are doing is a valid exercise to teach your brain (and muscle memory) the limits of grip.

I'm sure as you spend more time in the car, you'll get to a point where you know the limit and you are able to stay there without sawing.

It can also be that technique is required to keep ahead of some non-linear effects of a cars alignment, causing some deflection in the tires and bushings. More toe-out would definitely require more active steering inputs.

I would saw that, looking at the above videos, Ross is intentionally sawing at the wheel to interpolate the ideal turn by taking tiny steps over the line of front grip, never understeering, just letting the wheel slip a tiny fraction on purpose. The other drivers in Manshoon's videos were mostly countersteering as they lost rear traction, either after applying power over the limit of grip or after a sudden weight transfer to pivot the car through a turn (in order to set up for the next turn, or to adjust a line that was already blown). The time attack video was mostly hanging the tail out... drifting. Totally different than what Ross is trying.

Really the only bad thing would be increased heat and friction/wear on the front tires, the wheel bearings, and steering rack.
 

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Just turn the wheel and stay smooth. Every time you saw at the wheel you're upsetting the contact patch and throwing weight around needlessly, despite what your telemetry is saying. I can't recall ever seeing driving that was quicker by being erratic and unpredictable. Put another way, if you were able to spend the entire time through the corner at maximum grip instead of poking at it via sawing, you'd carry more speed into and through the corner.
Except that maximum grip is a function of slip angle.
But the maximum grip has a plateau at high slip angles, so really the grip is fairly constant around that point.

While the slip angle is being increased and decreased without any measurable change in cornering force... This does result in changes in tire heat and wear.

Is Mr RC had slip angle (and steering input as well as G-Force) it would probably be easier to show and prove.

Whether it helps with feel or not I cannot say. But while it does not look good, it probably has little impact on speed. Since it is a "new car", it will probably take a while to figure out what the car/driver limit is with respect to time around that track.
 

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aero and non aero cars are different, the only way to get a non aero car around as fast as possible is to slip it in and slide it out and you have to make corrections to do that - aero cars you would "do" the same, its just less dramatic for all the downforce balance reasons.

the really really fast guys will saw at the wheel, its just that they do it so much earlier and more accurately that it looks less dramatic (well, it is less dramatic) they are better and minimizing the slip angles and scrubbing less speed off while doing the exact same thing.

if you were to try to drive my car, around the track with "smooth" hands only.... you would get lapped around lap 5 or 6.... the trick is to balance the car with the feet, thats where all the smoothness is, and then ability to not scrub speed off is the ability to catch the car with the steering / throttle - earlier, more minimally, and "quicker". but the corrections and "sawing" are still there. if your steering (entry understeer and exit oversteer) are so dramatic that you are loosing speed vs gaining speed - then you are doing it wrong.... if you are gaining speed, you are starting to do it right, if you can do all the same entry and exit speeds, but scrub off less speed by being more "efficient" (earlier, and less input each time) then you are even faster. - and thats what the really fast guys are doing. and thats what telemetry is really good to show you, whats your entry speed, whats your steering and throttle inputs, how "low" did your apex speed get, and how how is your exit speed.

there is a bit of a misconception that being smooth means you are not catching slip and slide with the steering inputs... you are! (or should be...) being truly smooth just means you are (so good) able to do its so subtle, early and efficiently that it doesn't "look" very dramatic as you do it.

just youtube any video of a non aero formula car... our hands are all over the place! lol

i am a bit of hack and not the gentlest of drivers... but i know i get the car pretty darn quick. what i lack currently is that skill level to to make all those inputs earlier, faster and more efficient so that i am "ahead of the car" more, but you know.. .thats why no one is paying me to drive their car :) it gets better every season.


if you were to drive the car with fast lap time foot inputs but never make a counter steer input... you would either slide off or spin the first corner... i wouldn't "twitch" at the wheel for no reason though... be a "minimal" as possible, with as much throttle position, and the least time on brakes as you can control.
 

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I think that what you are doing is a valid exercise to teach your brain (and muscle memory) the limits of grip.

I'm sure as you spend more time in the car, you'll get to a point where you know the limit and you are able to stay there without sawing.

I would saw that, looking at the above videos, Ross is intentionally sawing at the wheel to interpolate the ideal turn by taking tiny steps over the line of front grip, never understeering, just letting the wheel slip a tiny fraction on purpose. The other drivers in Manshoon's videos were mostly countersteering as they lost rear traction, either after applying power over the limit of grip or after a sudden weight transfer to pivot the car through a turn (in order to set up for the next turn, or to adjust a line that was already blown). The time attack video was mostly hanging the tail out... drifting. Totally different than what Ross is trying.\
I concur.

Sawing helps find the limit. As you find and get comfortable with that limit, there will be no need to saw.

I used to do this exact same thing (sawing to feel where traction goes away). I don't anymore -- Not necessarily because I feel I'm faster without, but simply because there's no longer a need to do so.
 

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Don't know that I agree with this - if I were throwing the weight around telemetry would definitely show that, that's what it does. These are also very minor movements (again my steering rack is pretty loose) so I don't know that I'd use the word "throwing"



I definitely wouldn't use the terms erratic or unpredictable here at all. We're talking inches that I'm moving the car if at all.



Now this I agree with, in general. Obviously the more grip I have the faster I am - and that's what I'm trying (or think I'm trying) to find/feel with the sawing. Again this is something new I'm playing with and now how I typically drive.

Ryephile do you have any videos of yourself on track so I can get some ideas on your style? Do you have some in the track videos thread?

-Ross
Cool I'm glad I could stir some thoughts Ross. :) Getting the car, or perhaps more importantly, the tires to dance under your fingertips is part of the magic of quick driving. I don't have any videos of me in the car, and even then it may not be helpful because I'm not an amazing driver. Putting the technique to the track is of course easier said than done.

fitfan said:
there is a bit of a misconception that being smooth means you are not catching slip and slide with the steering inputs... you are! (or should be...) being truly smooth just means you are (so good) able to do its so subtle, early and efficiently that it doesn't "look" very dramatic as you do it.
This is a great quote. :clap:
 

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re: Sawing

I agree with prior post about 'sawing' vs. making corrections for understeer/oversteer....

Just a question... Do you not feel the tension on the steering wheel rise as you crank it into the corner, then if you are starting to approach the limit of adhesion that force decreases, the tires feel like they are washing out and if not corrective action is taken a moment later, you are off? This can be felt by increasing the steering angle or speed of the car...

I thought this feedback was especially prominent in the Lotus. But maybe I just run a wider tire in the front....

Anton

I concur.

Sawing helps find the limit. As you find and get comfortable with that limit, there will be no need to saw.

I used to do this exact same thing (sawing to feel where traction goes away). I don't anymore -- Not necessarily because I feel I'm faster without, but simply because there's no longer a need to do so.
 

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Absolute power does what?
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Discussion Starter #12
Fun conversation guys - I hope there's more of it. I don't have a ton more to add other than I've agreed with many of the comments and think, as usual, Travis nailed what I was trying to say. I think I'm also sawing extra hard as thinking back through that session I've never worked so hard in a car in my life. As I was chasing the magic 2:00 I decided on that lap I was going to beat it. So I push as absolutely hard as I could given I'd driven 13 laps in an essentially new car. Watching the video I make a ton of mistakes (which are exciting when I think about how much speed is left again). I was once near the limit of the car and happily I am once again far away from it.

I think most everyone is right that as I learn the power I'll get smoother with my sawing at the wheel. Again as I think about the lap I felt like I was on the limit virtually the whole time, as I'd come off the brakes trailing into a corner I could feel the front end push and as I'd apply throttle the back end grip. I'd quickly fight to catch the rear end while the front end would the understeer so I'd have to let it go - and over and over very rapidly. At least that's what I remember thinking/feeling - but I've more than once remembered incorrectly via the ass-dyno.

I'll be out again next weekend with PCA, a very fast local club. I'll be running with some 997 911 Cup Cars which have always been about 5-7 seconds quicker than I (running 1:58-2:00). That's where I should be running now so it'll be interesting to see what and how I do when I run in a pack of truly fast cars.

Please keep the debate going if you have further input, great comments.

-Ross
 

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Here is my comic relief, with a teaspoon of educational video.

Kenny was sawing the wheel some also



 

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yea thats great video. i guess adrian learnt his lesson in that car and got someone with a lot of talent behind the wheel. saw that video a couple weeks ago and its amazing that brack never "gets behind the car" he is al ways ahead of it... pretty impressive. and its gotta be a hoot sliding it around on the straights under throttle... i'd have stuffed that thing in the wall like newey if i were driving it though! the driver, and the car are both beasts.
 

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Common practice due to, as stated before, rapid corrections being magnified by slip angles of whatever tire is being used, up to and including slicks.

A little more car porn, with music to match: :D

 

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Of course here they are talking about tenths. If you were 5 seconds off, it's not due to whether you are sawing at the wheel or not. Looking at the video (finally), I think your technique is poor. That is pretty excessive sawing IMHO. No idea how you can feel anything about the tires with that kind of exaggerated input. For example, at around 0:52, that just looks terrible.
 

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Ticket Magnet
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Everyone here is pretty much "On Track." Keeping in mind we are talking about "smooth" technical driving and not "NASCAR" style driving, Vulcan Grey's observations are very accurate. Castor really doesn't enter into the equation, but more castor will not equate to more steering feel, it will simply make the front wheels want to center on their own more.
As a former driving instructor I can tell you what you are comparing are two known different driving styles: American versus European. Sawing at the wheel is considered European style driving. I am not sure, but Indy cars on ovals have probably contributed to the technique of "smooth" driving versus European.
 
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