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Discussion Starter #1
Having had time to mull over the differences in instructor track "styles" has left me with some questions.

Two of my instructors, who were both Spec Miata folks, seemed to teach a momentum style. Its basically how I had imagined negotiating the track should be. Brake until the turn in point, turn in and apply modulated throttle as you aim for the apex. Once close to the apex, aim for the track-out and apply more throttle with full power coming on near the track-out. That's my recollection of what they were trying to teach me, so if its wrong its my fault for relaying in wrong and not indicative of their teaching methods.

My last instructor had a much different approach to corners. It was more of a "point and shoot" style. Brake hard to the turn in, turn in sharply (purposefully?) to the apex and apply full power. Continue applying full power through the apex (more of a straight line connecting the turn in, apex and turn out) and past the track out. Usually I was fully throttle well before the apex.

I felt much faster with the last instructor. This could be due to my comfort level on the track going up quite a bit after getting rid of my initial jitters, however. I can't stress enough how beneficial it was to get several different instructors throughout the day, it really helped me gain alot of confidence and experience in a much shorter time than I thought I would have otherwise.

So after that long winded background story, what's the general consensous on driving the Exige S on track? Should I follow the momentum style (I think I described it correctly above) or the point and shoot style? I understand most Elise owners will lean toward the momentum style, but what about the Elise owners who have added aftermarket FI solutions? How do most Exige owners drive corners? Someone please correct my description of the methods above if I didn't convey them properly. :shift: I would like to try each style and see what produces the better laptimes, however with HPDE timing is not allowed (for insurance and warranty reasons). That's why I'm asking here instead. :)
 

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Having had time to mull over the differences in instructor track "styles" has left me with some questions.

Two of my instructors, who were both Spec Miata folks, seemed to teach a momentum style. Its basically how I had imagined negotiating the track should be. Brake until the turn in point, turn in and apply modulated throttle as you aim for the apex. Once close to the apex, aim for the track-out and apply more throttle with full power coming on near the track-out. That's my recollection of what they were trying to teach me, so if its wrong its my fault for relaying in wrong and not indicative of their teaching methods.
Most instruct this way. It goes with trying to teach you to give smooth inputs , its better for beginners

My last instructor had a much different approach to corners. It was more of a "point and shoot" style. Brake hard to the turn in, turn in sharply (purposefully?) to the apex and apply full power. Continue applying full power through the apex (more of a straight line connecting the turn in, apex and turn out) and past the track out. Usually I was fully throttle well before the apex.
This is how I personally drive, whether or not one is truly better I couldn't say...which do you feel more comfortable pushing the limits with?
 

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With certain caveats, your goal is to maximize your exit speed, but the best way to do this varies from corner to corner. I find the "momentum" technique to ultimately be somewhat faster usually, but that said, you should still be at full throttle at the apex, not at track out. OTOH, I will often TEACH a late apex technique to beginners because it is a) safer, and b) allows them to ease into faster cornering speeds with an earlier apex as they (and I) feel comfortable.

A "point and shoot" style is also going to generally benefit a higher-HP more because they can recover lost momentum more easily and take advantage of the longer acceleration distance to apex than can a lower powered car where it's relatively hard to get momentum back..
 

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Having had time to mull over the differences in instructor track "styles" has left me with some questions.
...
I am not an instructor and have only been driving on the track for 4 years (and just recently moved up to wheel-to-wheel). However, I can say after much research that there isn't a correct answer. While there is certainly a group of principles and methods that most would agree with, I think you'll find the specifics all come down to personal choice. Here's a great thread from a professional driving coach. If you read it, you'll see many dissenting opinions, some even from pro drivers, surrounding what the pro coach (Peter Krause) is talking about. I think it's a good example as to why it's so hard to find consistent information about specific driving tips.
 

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Driving style is highly corner dependent, fast corner can and are normally attacked differently than slower corners.

My general method for the slower corners (say under 70mph) is the brake later than normal allowing me to carry more speed into the corner under braking (trail braking). This will give you more front end traction on turn in and through the first part of the corner where most of your turning is done. Some where between turn in and apex I will come off of the brakes very smoothly and get back on the throttle. It may be part throttle or full throttle depending on how well things went at corner entry.. :D Its all about how things feel. This technique works extremely well on decreasing radius corners and will allow you to put a lot of car lengths on the people behind you straight line braking.

Faster corners (70MPH+) I usually go for the straight line braking turn in and once pointed at apex get back on throttle. Its a bit safer on faster corners as you lessen your chances of spinning versus trail braking. Things just happen a lot faster at these speeds.
 

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The second technique is very close to what we use in the Spec Racer Ford, with has a very similar weight distribution to a Lotus (although, proportionally, we have less power and less rear tire "balance" (we run 205's front and rear).

Basically, the concept in an SRF is to get weight back to the rear tires as quickly as possible. Brake, turn, power down and pin the tail.

Even into Turn 2 at Thunderhill we do a modified variant of this; at the first brake marker I turn the car slightly and aim it at the inside of the track, then brake in a straight line from that point to nearly getting to the inside, then start feeding in the power to pin the tail.

And that's the way to think of it...that putting down power "pins the tail" of the car. (Obviously, too much power and you will spin the rears, but up to that point, getting weight backwards is good).

I've never driven a Lotus at fast enough pace where it really mattered (whereas even when I am cruising in the SRF I'm probably at 9/10ths), but it sounds like your second instructor had you doing this and it was working.

Spec Miata's are a great example of being very similar in power/weight of a Spec Racer, similar lap times, but get driven differently because they aren't so massively rear-weighted.
Steve
 

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If you want lap times, just record video and use a stop watch later when reviewing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies so far...very insightful. The second techique stuck in my head so much since it wasn't something I'd ever been exposed to. I had the feeling that the car felt much better under the point and shoot style, and I felt more in control. I can't wait to get out there again and try out both styles now that I've had time to analyze them.

If you want lap times, just record video and use a stop watch later when reviewing.
:up: boy...thwack me with the obvious stick...:thwack::D That's a great idea!
 

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Everyone here has great input, listen to them!

How many events have you done? What level group are you in?

FYI, all cars are momentum cars. You mention a momentum and point and shoot style. At HPDE, you may have heard of "the party line" this is supposed to be the fastest way to get around the track... PERIOD. This is also the line the instructors are supposed to teach. Pointing and shooting sounds like aiming for the cones to me, and not so fast. Momentum sounds like you are carrying more speed into, through, and out of turns, which sounds faster to me.

The thing is, once you start building speed, and keeping it, things happen much faster, so missed apexes, exits, and turn-ins all ammount to worse consequences. Lots of instructors, although they love what they do, are frightened to be in a wreck. So they teach the safest way to get around instead of the fastest way around.

I also find that driving the line, with momentum, at speed is easier than driving the line, with little to no momentum, slower than at speed. Mainly because when you are going slower, your car isn't naturally going to your exit points, drifting out, etc, and you have to drive the car there.

Still, the bottom line is what feels better to you on the track. You will be amazed how much further past your limits any car can handle. You feeling comfortable through the line will increase your confidence and allow you to push through the turns at a higher and higher rates. Also, listen to your instructors, get as many different ones as you can, ask specific questions about specific turns and you will almost always get different answers... sometimes from even the same people.

You are doing the right thing by asking and practicing! Keep it up!

PS, if you can't tell, I am a momentum guy...
 

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One more thing, you may choose different styles for different turns and different situations. So don't limit yourself to one style. Break the track down turn by turn and litterally build your own style to get yourself around the track, pick up as many "Tips and Tricks" from others along the way and try them all out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
davecarama said:
How many events have you done? What level group are you in?

FYI, all cars are momentum cars. You mention a momentum and point and shoot style...
Only 1 event, and A (novice) group with instructor, so I've got ALOT to learn.
I'm using momentum and point and shoot just to describe what I think they are...it may not be the best way to name the different styles (as I'm guessing on the names).

One more thing, you may choose different styles for different turns and different situations. So don't limit yourself to one style. Break the track down turn by turn and litterally build your own style to get yourself around the track, pick up as many "Tips and Tricks" from others along the way and try them all out.
Thank you, good advice. Very Bruce Lee philosophical approach, I like it. :D
 

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hmmm...the turn and shoot style sounds more appropriate for the AWD car. Cuz they tends to understeer at turn-in but then has better corner exit speed...
 

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hmmm...the turn and shoot style sounds more appropriate for the AWD car. Cuz they tends to understeer at turn-in but then has better corner exit speed...
That's exactly what I was thinking. Sounds like how Evo drivers describe how they drive their cars: "Understeers like hell, so I brake very, very hard, get the car slowed way down, square off the corner, and then floor the damn thing, letting those three differentials sort everything out."

At any rate, I am wondering if this is less a debate over two completely speed-making styles, and more a matter of the second instructor simply advocating a much more pronounced slow-in, fast-out approach, in order to correct some problems. Keep in mind this was Mr. Know's first outing. It's entirely possible the "point and shoot" instructor was trying to over-emphasize a technique in a particular way to get him to slow down, and get on the power quicker. One year from now, were he to drive with the very same coaches, their advice might suddenly creep much closer to each other, as "coaching tools" wouldn't be quite as necessary.

I will ask Robert Craig how he drives his Cup Car. He's the only Lotus guy in SCCA racing I know of (I think he's in improved touring with M3s, Vettes, etc), and I think he makes 2:02-2:04s around Thunderhill, which is the fastest Lotus time I know of.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
:clap: Thanks Jon, and nice meeting you that day. You are probably right. This was entry level, basic instruction for someone who had never been on a track before. Unfortunately either I don't remember, or the last instructor didn't tell me what he drove on the track normally. I think that affects things alot as far as styles go. The mention of the safe negotiation of corners over fast negotiation of corners probabaly has a lot to do with it as well.
 

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hmmm...the turn and shoot style sounds more appropriate for the AWD car. Cuz they tends to understeer at turn-in but then has better corner exit speed...
Actually, it's what you do in anything that's heavily rear weighted. Porsche 911's use it as well.

If your car understeers, THEN you trailbrake to get weight onto the front wheels to let them grip more and turn in sharper.

If your car by nature oversteers, then you want to get weight to the back end to keep the tail pinned so it doesn't come around.

Generally speaking, the more your car comes around if you lift mid-corner, the less trail braking you want to be doing.

Steve
 

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Actually, it's what you do in anything that's heavily rear weighted. Porsche 911's use it as well.

If your car understeers, THEN you trailbrake to get weight onto the front wheels to let them grip more and turn in sharper.

If your car by nature oversteers, then you want to get weight to the back end to keep the tail pinned so it doesn't come around.

Generally speaking, the more your car comes around if you lift mid-corner, the less trail braking you want to be doing.

Steve
Spec miatas tend to oversteer...another reason why your miata instructors probably drive this way.
 

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Theoretically, the fastest way around the track is the momentum school. You are always trying to be at the edge of the friction circle in accelerating, braking and turning, maximizing your cars abilities.

The point and shoot sounds like the slow-in, fast-out school. One instructor that explained it as "the guy who floors it the earliest out of a corner wins the race down the straight". In is the slow-in, fast-out, you turn-in later than normal (late apex), but this allows you to get in the gas earlier. Cornering speeds are lower, but if you have enough horsepower, exit speeds are higher than if you are waiting until track out to apply full throttle. PCA teaches slow-in, fast-out to beginners as it is a safer way around the track. The momentum technique doesn't give you much of a margin if you mess up braking or the turn-in point, but slow-in, fast-out gives you more leeway in case you make a mistake.

I use a mixture of these. At the beginning of a track day, I will late apex until I feel comfortable with the track, the car and myself. As the day progresses, I will slowly move back the turn-in point and try to carry more speed until I hit an optimal point. These are typically my best sessions.
 

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:clap: Thanks Jon, and nice meeting you that day. You are probably right. ... The mention of the safe negotiation of corners over fast negotiation of corners probabaly has a lot to do with it as well.
Nice meeting you too! And, yes, unless you're racing (and HPD isn't racing) I think one should always leave one or two tenths on the table. If not for the health of one's own car, for the health of the other car you might spin in to.
 

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Actually, it's what you do in anything that's heavily rear weighted. Porsche 911's use it as well.

If your car understeers, THEN you trailbrake to get weight onto the front wheels to let them grip more and turn in sharper.

If your car by nature oversteers, then you want to get weight to the back end to keep the tail pinned so it doesn't come around.

Generally speaking, the more your car comes around if you lift mid-corner, the less trail braking you want to be doing.

Steve
That's what I was thinking....so in the Elise are people trail-braking more or less?
 
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