16 NOVEMBER 2019 scca.com
SECTION 1: WHAT IS A SKIDPAD?
It’s a place to drive crazy without
crashing. It’s a circle, usually with
a low-traction surface. It’s like a
shooting range for cars: A place to
practice dangerous activities in a
safe and controlled environment.
It’s a classroom for driving, and a
laboratory for handling setup.
SECTION 2(A): WHAT IS A
SKIDPAD USED FOR?
The skidpad is used for getting a
car to its limits of cornering grip
and beyond in a safe and consistent
environment. Obviously, it’s used
for deliberately causing slides,
and learning to control them. Not
so obviously, it also may be used
for seeing the amazing effects of
weight transfer front-to-back. It’s
also used to quickly see effects of
suspension adjustments in simplified
cornering with far fewer variables
than on a racetrack – especially
ultimate cornering grip.
SECTION 2(B): HOW CAN YOU
TUNE ON A SKIDPAD?
Skidpad tuning usually results in
a car that is too loose for normal
competitions, because it focuses
solely on steady-state cornering;
no tail-wagging transitions. This
makes it best for testing the
balance of springs and swaybars.
SECTION 3(A): WHAT CAN YOU
LEARN FROM THE SKIDPAD?
While entertaining, it’s a
learning tool as well. It’s about
driving, not just skid control.
1. Weight management, your number
one job as driver. (Especially, how
using the brake and gas pedals
moves load forward and back,
greatly influencing handling.
The pedals are more important
than the steering wheel!)
2. Skid control, what they didn’t
tell you in Driver’s Ed class: Steer
into the skid, catch it, then snap
the wheel back straight!
3. Training the eyes. Always
look ahead to the inside edge
of the line you want, in any
form or direction of slide.
4. Training hand speed. Catching
slides requires lightning fast
5. Training the feet. Using
pedals to transfer weight.
6. Learn when to bail out and use
the ‘chute: Slam the brakes. When
to slam on the brakes and clutch
(“If you spin, both feet in”).
SECTION 3(B): THE WET SKIDPAD.
Why? It’s easy to slide. To learn how to
control a slide, one first has to create
one. It’s much easier if the surface is
slick. Another very real reason is to
reduce tire wear. Sliding tires wear
out in a hurry and eat up dollars.
SECTION 3(C): WHY NOT?
NO HOOK SLIDE.
The downside to a wet, or very
slick, skidpad is that because
there is so little grip, it’s less like
dry pavement. Slides are easier to
control with low grip. There’s no
“hook slide,” the most dangerous
and violent thing that can happen
in a car. Very real in the dry, when
a counter-steer is not recovered.
SECTION 4: HOW TO CORRECT
ON-THE-LIMIT AND OVER-THE-LIMIT
1. Steady state, approaching the limit.
This is where the natural chassis
balance reveals itself. Gently add
power until the car wants to run
wide of the circle, then back off
slightly to hold the curve. Keep eyes
in, on the circle, and you’ll sense
the slide much sooner. But at any
speed, small changes in weight
make a big difference in direction.
2. Going over the limit, what
RANDY’S RULEBOOK: SKIDPAD TRAINING
2-TIME RUNOFFS NATIONAL CHAMPION
3-TIME SOLO NATIONAL CHAMPION
4-TIME PROSOLO CHAMPION
4-TIME WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPION
2-TIME ROLEX 24 GT WINNER
SCCA MEMBER SINCE 1980