38 JULY 2020 scca.comTECHNICAL
“I start every session slow and gradually come up to speed.”
For beginning drivers or thosewho have had a long layoff,this is sound thinking. For therest, the drawback is that whenit goes green for the race,everyone else is on it hard – areyou mentally prepared?
Perhaps the trickiest thing
in high-performance driving
is learning to go fast on cold
tires. Many will frown at you if
you go too hard, too soon, and
make sloppy mistakes. But if
you let the slow start habit take
hold, you will rarely be qualified
well – and even if you pull out a
late-session flyer in qualifying,
you won’t be ready to hold the
pace when the race goes green.
Work on pushing harder,
sooner, every session. It’s
a difficult skill to develop,
but it has major benefits.
“I have some killer tweaks up my sleeve this weekend.”
Tweaks of the week almostnever pan out. Set your carup to run reliably and withsufficient compliance to allowyou to survive your mistakesas well as those of others.
Not only do most tweaks notwork out, but they distractyou from all the basics. Stickwith the fundamentals, at leastuntil you get near the frontof the pack. Until then, tweakyour driving, not your car.
“I’ll figure out the track when I get there.”
These days, there is no excusenot to know the track beforeyou arrive. Not everyone hasa simulator, but everyone hasa computer. I recommend thespeedsecrets.com Virtual TrackWalks, but there’s also You Tubevideos. You can also talk to friendswho have been to that track. Youshould be able to discuss the tracklayout using the correct cornernumbers or names the momentyou set foot on the facility.
“I’ve been really busy at work. I haven’t checked the alignment, brakes and shocks in quite a while, but I’m sure everything is OK.”
Your car needs attention. Every
driver downplays off-track
excursions. Any time the car is
off the track surface, there is a
chance that something in the
setup changed. Have a system
to stay ahead of your car’s
needs. It’s not enough to have
a checklist; you have to use it.
“If it rains, I’m not going out.” Perhaps you won’t everexcel in the rain, but youshould learn what rain racingis all about. It may evenimprove your car control.
Speaking in very generalterms, most cars will accelerateand decelerate in the wetfairly well, given appropriatetires, of course. What theydon’t like to do is turn. Insteadof accelerating through theturn, you run straight in, stayoff the racing line as much aspossible, get through the turncarefully, and accelerate out.
“Set your car up torun reliably and withsufficient complianceto allow you to surviveyour mistakes”