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Race Driving Fundamentals: Visibility

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00:00 - Visibility is something that's obviously critical to our ability to accurately position the car on track as well as see and avoid or defend against other competitors.
00:09 The visibility however changes a lot depending on the type of car we drive.
00:14 As an example, although it might seem counter intuitive, the average road turned racecar has far better visibility than a modern factory built race car.
00:24 This isn't an oversight, it's purely for safety's sake.
00:28 The driver in any modern saloon car sits way back in the car, generally as far back as the B pillar which gets them as central as possible for weight distribution and protection in the event of a collision.
00:39 Consider a modern single seater.
00:42 The halo system that's become so prevalent over the last few years is a sacrifice in visibility but the gains in driver safety make it justifiable.
00:50 So why are we even talking about this? It's all about perspective.
00:55 When we add a roll cage, move and lower our seat and clip into our Hans device, we're just not going to be able to see as much as we're used to in our daily driven road car.
01:05 How we deal with this loss of vision comes back to the advice given earlier in the where to look module.
01:12 But as a quick recap it all comes down to looking further ahead in general as well as looking through the blind spots and letting our brain fill in the blanks for the points on track we're aiming for.
01:22 Next let's look at our mirrors.
01:24 There's not much to them, sure, but they're so incredibly important when it comes to being vigilant on track and gaining back some of the visibility we've lost due to our cage, seat and seating position.
01:36 In particular, the side mirrors can be key to seeing where other cars are around us which allows us to leave sufficient racing room and avoid contact.
01:44 Or alternatively we'll be able to judge how aggressively we can defend our line.
01:49 Get yourself in the habit of checking your mirrors every time you jump into the driver's seat, they can easily be knocked in the pits when we're working on the car or they may have been knocked around out on track due to contact with another car.
02:02 Either way there's nothing worse than leaving pit lane and then realising we have no usable wing mirrors.
02:08 A central rear vision mirror in the car is another must have but with that said, the visibility from this mirror can be compromised by the time there's a roll cage and a rear wing to look past.
02:18 There are a variety of different rear view mirror designs for racecars that aim to widen the driver's field of view.
02:24 These include mirrors with multiple segments or convex mirror shapes.
02:28 While these can improve your vision, equally you may find you're disorientated by some of these designs that tend to stretch or distort the view you're looking at to the point where it's difficult to get a sense of depth and location on what you're looking at in the mirror.
02:42 If you want to go down this path, try the mirror on a test day before you commit to using it for an important race.
02:49 In summary, visibility out of the car all comes back to driver comfort but in this case, it's about being comfortable with the amount of vision you have.
02:57 If you don't have good visibility, it's easy to lose confidence.
03:01 Race cars inherently suffer from poor visibility in favour of safety so it's all about making sure you're doing the best you can with the vision that's available.

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