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Discussion Starter #1
I've never done either but I am going to do a HPDE soon at Road Atlanta. My opinion with no backing is that oval racing is harder. I find it harder on simulators for one thing. Everyone says that you only turn left in oval racing so it's easy. Well then why does F1 and open wheel people struggle in Nascar? I'm thinking it's actually harder because the corners are longer. Sometimes a corner might be 1/4 mile long and the slightest mistake gets you overtaken by half the field, where in Road courses the corners are short and if you mess up it's not as big of deal for time lost. Opinions?
 

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It takes a great amount of talent to be good at either, but...

and I am way oversimplifying,

Oval has 2 (a true oval) to 4 (indy) apexes, and very little elevation changes.

Road Racing has more than 4 apexes, (or so I am told, its still a game of "hide and seek" at my skill level), elevation changes, many compromises (do I give up some speed/entry on this corner to get a better launch to that corner), off camber corners, etc...
 

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re: NASCAR or F1 ???

I would describe the difference, as folows. Oval racing is doing one thing really, really well e.g. turning left. Circuit is doing everything very well.

The problem seems to be that once one learns how to turn right, some of the talent to turn left just goes elsewhere. I guess it is lack of focus. :)

As history has shown very few people do very well in either one. Mario Andretti is the only genious that managed to win them all!!! and Indy!

Anton
 

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My personal oval experience (2 Night Before the 500s at Indy) is that car/setup is more important than driver on an oval. On a road course (100+ starts in US, Canada, and England), the driver can make up somewhat for missing the car setup but on the oval if you miss the setup keeping it off the wall is an accomplishment. If you get the car setup right, the oval track gets almost easy (if you can avoid other people's wrecks) -- on a road course, you can challenge yourself even with a perfect car.

No simple answer from me, admittedly someone biased toward formula cars on road courses, but my two oval races were generally enjoyable experiences. Guess that for me racing is racing. Choosing between oval and road course ends up being a very personal choice -- just be sure to try both in the type of car you plan to drive.

Also, there is a lot more to racing than just driving the car. Is a race a one, two, or three day process? Do you paddock in mud or on pavement, how much crew and support equipment is required, etc., etc.?
 

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kinda like the question "which is harder, cycling or swimming..." the reality is - in either one, the athlete (or driver) will push to the limit and use every bit of skill and ability they have to inch ahead. and the best of the best, will be people that are few and far between.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I can see how it'd probably be more about car setup than driver on an oval vs a road course. But then again, isn't that because it's harder to set the car up right on an oval than a road coarse? I'm thinking the more simple it is the more difficult it is, am i wrong?
 

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oval racing as in Nascar is very different than road racing. It's more about position and racing against the guy ahead/aside of you. Rubbin' is racin'.
Due to high speeds, drafting is very effective and keeps the packs large and the real skill is in maintaining and advancing position, not so much about being fastest. You are really racing the other cars and not so much the track itself.

Road races obviously takes more skills -- shifting, braking, transitions. But the packs are more spread out and there is less rubbin'. It's as much about attacking the track as it is about the competition.

So, you could be really skilled, the fastest guy at time trials on a road course, but if you aren't any good at racin' other drivers, you'll never win. Those are two different skills.
 

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I remember during the great Lotus 78 and 79 years reading how Mario and Colin would use asymmetric set ups for road courses based on Mario's Indy knowledge. Not that Colin didn't have asymmetric chassis designs for Indy, but Mario had technical set up knowledge far in excess of the average F1 driver of the time.

One thing that can be said for NASCAR is that their oval races have an endurance element for the drivers that F1 used to have. Making precise judgments in the heat of competition inches from disaster after three hours of driving is impressive.

BTW, Emerson Fittipaldi was pretty good at both and Al Unser Sr. was a great road racer. Full disclosure: I was a Al Sr. fan more than a Mario fan when it came to Indy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
oval racing as in Nascar is very different than road racing. It's more about position and racing against the guy ahead/aside of you. Rubbin' is racin'.
Due to high speeds, drafting is very effective and keeps the packs large and the real skill is in maintaining and advancing position, not so much about being fastest. You are really racing the other cars and not so much the track itself.

Road races obviously takes more skills -- shifting, braking, transitions. But the packs are more spread out and there is less rubbin'. It's as much about attacking the track as it is about the competition.

So, you could be really skilled, the fastest guy at time trials on a road course, but if you aren't any good at racin' other drivers, you'll never win. Those are two different skills.
That makes sense. I think they are both hard if you want to master it, but it's different skills. Road is more you against the track, and oval is more you against others. They both have skills which could take a lifetime to learn. They are just different skills. So basically they are both just as hard to master, but road is more fun because you have to learn the track and turns instead of just turning left. But oval is better for spectators because they can see the whole track.
 

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Oval you see 4 left turns 1000 times. Road course you see 25 corners 50 times. Rally, you see 1000 corners once. :)

-Michael
 

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Oval vs. Road Racing

Only amateurs set-up road-racing cars symmetrically. :)

Maybe this was the case in the '50's....

Most road tracks here are run clock-wise. That means that there are a lot more right turns. The same is true for running the track counter-clock-wise. Furthermore, independent of the track direction, some corners maybe more important for winning the race then others.

Simple logic dictates an asymmetric set-up. Sacrifice some less important and fewer corners to win where it counts!

Anton
 

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Road racing.
But most oval racing is not nascar with large fields at those speeds.
 

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I gather that oval racing tends to require more focus as there is no time to rest as there is on the straight at most road courses.
 

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Having raced both, they both require similar but different skill sets. The biggest adjustment is that circle track requires learning lateral grip. Most first time circle track drivers do not realize how fast you can actually corner the car. When setting up a circle track car, you really have to break the corner down and realize how each section can effect the next sections. I have also found that most road racers do not like running in close conditions. I was taught that if you can drop a pop can between you and the wall or car next to you, you are too far away. I have run this close to some road racers and they have the tendency to get out of you way. When I started circle track racing, I had to break my road racing habits. Now if I use some of my circle track habits, I have found that I can road race better. One big thing I lack in road racing, heel & toe. One big thing learned in circle track racing, left foot breaking.

Later,
Eldon
 

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What group will you be running with at RA?

Another question, which is more fun, circles or road racing?
 

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What group will you be running with at RA?

Another question, which is more fun, circles or road racing?
I run most of the HPDE events with Chin Motorsports. I had to demonstrate that even though most of my racing experience is circle track, the only thing I had to do was learn the track for road racing. This happened very quickly at the first event I attended. So, I start out in Intermediate and test for Advance typically on the second day. I am currently running Intermediate at RA and would have tested for Advance but I broke the transmission.

Circle track keeps the adrenaline following at a much more constant rate. Every 5-10 seconds you are turning and trying to get around somebody. Only on the larger tracks, 3/4 mile and up, you get a chance to relax. Road race tracks will have sections that create the same intensity but you always have long straights that allow you to shift through the gears and relax as the motor accelerates. There is nothing like going through a section of a track and doing "IT" right. When you have a circle track car that is working "Right", it is boring to drive. Fun to drive but boring.

I still circle track race because I love the competition and it pays better compared to road racing.

Later,
Eldon
 

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Right, CHIN is the way to go. As you know getting that advanced rating means being ready to point by anywhere on the track. A whole different ballgame from "pass me anywhere on the left". That's the fun though of road racing, making decisions when and where to pass on either side though winding track, up and down hill. Getting that point by at the top of 12 and in the esses , after 10a are neat.

In our little cars, having the advantage in transitions and anything not straight makes a twisty course fun. And gives a driver the opportunity to shine.
 
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