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Race Driving Fundamentals: Practical Discussion

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Practical Discussion


00:00 - Alright we've just been through 2 modules, we've covered understeer and oversteer and I think probably for most people that have spent just about any time on the racetrack, they've probably got a reasonable understanding of these topics but we're going to dive in a little bit deeper with Andrew here.
00:15 So first of all, in terms of getting a handling balance, we've already talked about most factory cars tend to favour an understeer balance because generally that's safer.
00:25 When we're getting to more professional drivers, is there a preference that a driver will have with a chassis that's naturally going to understeer or oversteer? - A bit of it comes down to driver, a bit of it comes down to the type of car you're racing, there's no one definitive answer on that.
00:40 It's really hard to generalise it as such.
00:43 Some cars, if you're in a one make series where it's a car that doesn't have a lot of horsepower, you might find that understeer, when you're looking for the last couple of 10ths is just killing your exit speeds everywhere so naturally you end up with a car that rotates that bit quicker to be able to get out of the corner quicker.
00:59 So it becomes harder to drive, you're probably wearing tyres out quicker but then if it's only a short race, then that doesn't matter as much so we could be going over so many different scenarios within that but there's no one single answer is probably the best way to put it.
01:16 But most drivers always end up favouring, to build their confidence with just a little bit of understeer dialled in.
01:22 - Yeah OK and one of the examples you've just alluded to there, here in New Zealand we have a Toyota TR86 racing series with the Toyota 86 stock car with 200 horsepower, they're no rocket ship so this is where you're saying in the relatively short sprint race that these drivers are competing in, that's where understeer in that particular class will kill lap speed and they really want to try and make the car a little bit looser, little bit more towards oversteer? - Yeah that seems to be the general consensus with that is to get that car rotated and just get out of the corner as quick as you can but obviously it becomes to a point where even in a sprint race, you're trying to set your tyre pressures up so you can end up with a car that slides around after lap 2, lap 3 so it's a point and it's only fine tweaks that you're looking for when you're really looking for the final bits of time.
02:08 Whereas if you're a driver that's learning the ropes, you're not going to dial in a setup with a hell of a lot of oversteer because you just won't be able to build that confidence to get to the front so you're better to probably start with a little bit of understeer, get confident, spend probably a whole season getting confident with that understeer and when you're starting to really get to the pointy end, that's where those little fine add ons come into it.
02:31 - And this really comes back to what we talked about in the modules whereby understeer, the natural tendency is for the driver to handle this by backing off the throttle, which transfers weight forward, instating more grip on the front end, plus we're also washing off speed so that all helps, whereas oversteer, we're physically going to need to do something about it on the steering wheel and we're going to need to do that pretty quickly in order to prevent a spin so that's sort of that, it's easier for the novice driver while learning to handle an understeer.
03:00 Of course oversteer's a little bit more fun but again often a big slide's not exactly the fastest way around the track.
03:08 Now I just want to also talk about the fact that a common problem we see with drivers, and I've been guilty of this myself is blaming the chassis for a handling trait where it's actually the driver input that's causing the problems.
03:23 We already alluded to this a little bit as we've gone through these modules but can we just dive into that a little bit more? How do you see this playing out and what do we need to be mindful of while we're driving? - I think it's just coming back to making sure right from the word go we're doing everything right with that traction circle, transferring the weight correctly and making sure we're doing those 2 things first properly before we go oh the car's got a whole lot of oversteer, what's going on or you're on the exit of the corner and you've got this huge amount of understeer running wide, go back and think hang on why is it understeering, have I got a lock on? Am I gassing too early to create this? - And I think we're going to talk about this as well as we move into the cornering modules a little bit further through the course, essentially what we're actually wanting to be doing on the controls in order to get the most out of the car without creating a handling imbalance.
04:11 So we'll get into that a little bit further on but hopefully that's just a little bit more of a discussion around those terms oversteer and understeer, how they relate to what the car's doing on the track and whether we're going to be faster or slower with one or the other.

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