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I believe the single most important upgrade most people can get for the new Elise is to upgrade their driving skills. To that end here is a link I found on another forum:

http://www.turnfast.com/

Please feel free to post any good tips you may have:)
 

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I've been to that web site before, it's very good. There used to be another excellent site at http://www.drivingtechniques.co.uk, but it looks like it's gone. :(

While reading is good, I believe that the only way to really improve is practice, practice, practice. I just added up the other day that I've been autocrossing about 35 days this year (my second season), and I still have a lot to learn. If I can get over the fear of stuffing a nice car into a wall, I'd also like to try some track days.
 

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ConeFusion said:
If I can get over the fear of stuffing a nice car into a wall, I'd also like to try some track days.
Cone,

If you did 35 days of AutoX, then you are more than ready for a road course. Remember, you are in control of how fast you go. Besides, if you attend one of the better run events (like BMW or Porsche), the instructor will rein you in if he/she thinks you are driving beyond your ability.

Stay smooth and the speed will follow...which I'm sure you already know!

:D this is the way you will look after your first track event. PermaGrin
 

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Try and find local car club that does AutoX>>>

Mercedes Benz club allows none Benz's in AutoXing events...great way to learn the nuances of handling of the Elise...being a mid engine car (and depending on how you set up) be prepared to manage oversteer (larger front tires) or understeer (smaller front tires)...will be curious to see if the Fed Elise has that option of front tire selection. Also attend a club event at a track...since you are somewhat close to Summit Point the Jefferson Circuit is excellent teaching track...I have handled many a club event there and much prefer the Jefferson over main track.
 

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BMW CCA also runs very good events, both AutoX and road course. They have very good instructors and stick to very strick safety rules.

They too allow non-BMW owners to drive. I brought my funny looking BMW (Toyota Celica) for years.
 

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Yes, mapes, I do think I'm ready for a track day, and I should have enough discipline to stay within my limits. The BMW club has track days here twice(?) a year, and they're supposed to be very good. Still, I think they had about 6 cars going off last fall (it was partly raining), and I'm sure that all those guys were planning to drive safely. One guy crashed a Viper into a wall. :eek:

Unfortunately our local track (Gateway) has walls at the outside of a few turns. I think I would be more comfortable at a track where you have a chance to walk away without substantial damage if you go off. I heard that Hallett (Oklahoma) is very nice and has run-off areas. Blackhawk Farms in the Chicago area is supposed to be good, too. Those are a few hours away, but it might be worth it.
 

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CF

No matter what club you drive with, there is always the chance that some moron will go off and hit a wall, or hit someone else. I saw a 3000GT slam into an MR-2 on the track, because the MR-2 was being completely unpredictable and was spinning out on the same corner multiple times. He should have been kicked off, and he wasnt, and an accident was caused becase of a poor decision by the official to keep him on the track. No, this wasnt BMWCCA fyi. Usually people are off way before this.

The point is...you make the decisions on the track. Sure, accidents can happen, but just remember...it is within your insurance bounds to attend "driving school." I was a bit nervous the first time on the track, but just remember that it is A LOT SAFER TO DRIVE ON A CLOSED CIRCUIT THAN ON AN OPEN ROAD!
 

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I saw a miata flip over a few times at vir. First time ever on the track. It had been raining but dried up the night before and he was on racing slicks.

Racing slicks provide AMAZING amounts of grip. Believe me, its total night and day. Of course that means the limits of your grip go up exponentially. When your car gives out, it gives out bigtime. If you have never been on the track before, DO NOT USE SLICKS. I dont care how good you think you are, or how fast you drive on the street, go on street tires. They will provide so much more grip than you can use it isnt funny, but they will not bite you like slicks will.

The miata I was writing about was going to hot into the turn and made an early turn in. Car gripped, he got nervous and lifted, violent reactions happend. Car slid off course, and he tried to "save it." Which caused the car to spin and flip.

He was fine, car wasnt.

If he were not on slicks he probably wouldnt have pushed quite so hard, and his overall speed would have been slower, letting him concentrate on the line, not on "ohmygodwhatsgoingonIamgoingtoofasthelpme"


In the elise that "lift" he did would have caused a hard spin. Dont try it, its not fun.

Remember, have fun, thats what you are there for. Its a great time, don't compete with anyone, just learn.

Scot
 

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There are not many tracks that are totally safe as far as runoff. You have to know the places you can push it and where you can't.

There was a death at Buttonwillow this weekend. A 45mph off course into a dirt berm. Killed the driver. Stuff happens.

Even autocrosses are not 100% safe. Everything involves some risk. Know the risks.
 

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Randy Chase said:
There are not many tracks that are totally safe as far as runoff. You have to know the places you can push it and where you can't.

There was a death at Buttonwillow this weekend. A 45mph off course into a dirt berm. Killed the driver. Stuff happens.

Even autocrosses are not 100% safe. Everything involves some risk. Know the risks.
Most people like to think of that track as "safer," because there is only 1 wall to hit (amazing that some people hit it too). So that gives people a false sense of security. I saw a Impreza roll 6 times off teladega (whatever you call that fast sweeper), and I almost hit a guy on the straits when he went off into the dirt and tried to shove it back on the pavement and of course lost control and spun into the wall (talk about a scary moment). People do stupid things.

Just be clear headed and have a blast! After I started doing track events, I never went back to autoX. Definetly a speed junky!

FYI, I have NEVER spun out on a track. The track is NOT a place to test the limits of your car. It is safe to test limits at an autoX, because cones dont hurt, or big open parking lots in the rain when nobodies looking ;)
 

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Randy Chase said:

Even autocrosses are not 100% safe. Everything involves some risk. Know the risks.
At the last autoX I ever attended at Jack Murphy stadium (what the hell do they call it now??) I was cornerworking in the last session. A hot hatch came into a fast open slalom section too hot and started to spin. As I got prepared to wave the flag and pick up cones, for whatever reason - tire pressures too low, asphalt too hot - his rear rim caught the pavement and violently rolled the car. Driver was unhurt, passenger broke a number of bones in his right hand (and arm?), car was totalled.

The very next car through after the restart spun in exactly the same section (hey, it wasn't _my_ fault), tried to keep his foot in it, and slammed in to a light post. Less injury, less damage, but stuff does indeed happen.

Understand the risks and be prepared to accept them, wherever you are (whether the track or driving home tonight). But most importantly, do what you can to change the risk ratio by using good judgment.
 

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I remember that day. We have been looking for the corner worker since then. :)

MW, I still think a San Diego autocross is as much fun as a track event. Taking the corners at 60mph is fun. Our tracks at Qualcomm can be similar to Streets of Willow. Often I get bored at tracks.

I spun off the Big Track in my MR2 in turn 8...trying to see how fast I could go. It was over 115mph when I ran out of talent. :)
 

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BMW CCA doesn't really want open roof cars in their events. To run you have to have an SCCA approved roll CAGE. I gave up trying to get clearance on my Caterham with those guys.
Chris
 

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Randy Chase said:
I spun off the Big Track in my MR2 in turn 8...trying to see how fast I could go. It was over 115mph when I ran out of talent. :)
I remember that day. I had the best seat in the house, following Randy through 8 saying "you're going to fast, Randy. You're going too fast!" Wiggle. Dust cloud. I'm also the self-appointed Voice of Reason with this story. The speed quoted keeps going up whenever he tells this story. *ducking* :D

Qualcomm Stadium is a nice site. I've run autocrosses in other parts of the country where an SCCA safety steward would have conniptions. The Q does have those corvette magnets lining the west side of the West Lot, though...
 

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Randy Chase said:
I remember that day. We have been looking for the corner worker since then. :)
I chose to take exile on the east coast, where, since we can only run autocrosses for about 8 months out of the year, I'm less likely to cause harm. :D
 

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Modern Wedgie said:

FYI, I have NEVER spun out on a track. The track is NOT a place to test the limits of your car. It is safe to test limits at an autoX, because cones dont hurt, or big open parking lots in the rain when nobodies looking ;)
As my old SCCA driving intsructor told me, if you haven't spun, you aint going fast enough..... When I was first racing, my nickname was Dusty. Heck, I invented new ways to spin!

Seriously, I don't quite agree with that statement. A track is the place to test your limits.... just choose the AREA on the track to test.... Example... if your runoff area has a big wall, that isn't the wisest place to push. But if theres plenty of runoff, why not? Yes, its not 100% safe, but what is... Most important thing is being smooth and knowing proper spin recovery.

Jose Soriano
 

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I'll take this another step.

I try to push the limit on the track, but if there is a hint that I'm going off and not going to recover I don't fight it. I try to go off in a straight line vs sideways to reduce the probability of flipping the car. Get both feet in and try to get the car straight.

This, of course, is done on corners with ample run-off room. On corners where there is danger, I get to 9/10's - it isn't a race on lapping days and I don't want to ball the car up.
 

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A guy I know has a M Roadster and a spec Miata. He instructs at various track day events. He doesn't do track events in the M Roadster because, as he put it, you put in enough track time and you are going to have an accident even though you may not have caused it. "Do I want to have to repair a $40+K car, that insurance won't cover, or a$12K car?" I would imagine that an Elise will not be easy to repair. Can your wallet stand it? If so, go for it.

John Lefcourte. '00 Miata
 

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Chris,
I know the feeling, despite the upgraded roll bar the size of the Caterham scares people BMWCCA has got it all wrong about open top cars though. Panoz will allow Caterhams to run provided they have the upgraded or FIA roll bar and harnesses. What kind of Caterham do you have?
 
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