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#1
Todd Lamb

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Forget the hardware, let's talk about the software. What do you want to know about driving, racing, passing, strategy, etc?

Ask away!

Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

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#2
Steve Scheifler

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Excellent Todd!

From your experience, what is the single most common mistake or weakness that drivers who are "close" need to work on? Then the same question for relative beginners.

For example, for me it was originally a tendacy to over-charge a corner, coming in too hot which screwed up everything from there on. Probably still is to some degree, but now I think I give up the most on braking and a smooth transition back to throttle.
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#3
Todd Lamb

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Good question Steve.

For the less experienced drivers, I commonly see a tendency to get on the brakes early and stay on the brakes too long, overslowing the entry to the corner and thus too slow at the apex. This leads to the immediate need to go back to full throttle, instilling a really bad habit - using the throttle as an on/off switch. Occasionally the opposite happens as you described: fast in/slow out from trying to bonsai the brake zone.

For more experienced drivers the biggest hurdle is trailbraking. This is where the last .5 - 1.0 second is locked away. It's a difficult technique to learn because the penalty for failure is high (usually a spin or an off). The hardest thing to learn in racing is how to release the brakes. As you described, the transition from braking to turning is a delicate balancing act of brake pedal, steering, rotation, and maintenance throttle.
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#4
Armando Ramirez

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So you reviewed my in-car video...


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#5
Todd Lamb

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Eyes UP!  :)

 

So you reviewed my in-car video...


Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
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MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#6
NPiekarski

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Todd, can you explain more about trailbraking from your experience. How/when to use it, when its not a good idea and simplifying its execution.


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#7
Todd Lamb

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General rule of thumb. Trailbrake in slow and medium speed corners, but not so much in fast corners.  The slower the corner, the more trailbraking you'll need to help the car rotate (turn).

 

In the faster corners, you don't need the rotation. Trailbraking tends to give way too much rotation, and it's a pretty high risk time for any rotation at all due to the speed. In fast corners you want to be on POWER early, perhaps even at turn in (I'm looking at you, Road America Kink). However, one advanced method is to be off throttle at turn in to initiate rotation if needed. It works very similar to trailbraking in that you're keeping the nose of the car loaded up a bit while beginning to transition weight to the outside tires at turn in.


Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
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SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

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#8
David S.

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At the start of every race I seem to lose 5-6 spots going into turn 1. It seems like I always pick the wrong "lane". Do you have a preferred lane for Summit Point or do you go with the flow? For reference, it's the SSM class and I'm usually in the middle to back of the pack so there is almost always something that causes the inside or outside lane to come to a near stop in front of me.

#9
Mike Collins

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I know you are a big fan of 9 and 3 and never letting go. I still one hand preset so I'm at 9 and 3 at apex... I know this is because of previous training for another kind of driving. Do you think it stylistic or worth time????
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#10
MDixon

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I have always taught my son that its not the last to brake but the first on the gas.

 

Hope I am not leading him wrong


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#11
FTodaro

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I have two

 

1. can you use lifting off the throttle even in slower corners to help turn or rotate the car vs. trail braking and if so when?

 

2. How do you know when your getting the most out of your corner speed. what do you do to figure out if your leaving to much on the table (without spinning like I do to figure it out)?


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#12
Todd Lamb

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More than a few rows back and you are at the mercy of whatever lane you're given leaving the grid. I know it's not a huge help to say this, but the best way to avoid getting stuck in the wrong lane is to work on qualifying closer to the front so you can control your own destiny.

 

It's pretty tough to change lanes in a tight pack on the start, but if you leave a car length in between you and the car in front it can give you some time to "make other plans" if your line is slow. A lot of times the faster lane will have someone sleeping on the start, leaving a gap for you to slot into. Just have to be really careful about moving side to side on starts - easy to not see a car during the chaos and end up causing a huge wreck.

 

 

At the start of every race I seem to lose 5-6 spots going into turn 1. It seems like I always pick the wrong "lane". Do you have a preferred lane for Summit Point or do you go with the flow? For reference, it's the SSM class and I'm usually in the middle to back of the pack so there is almost always something that causes the inside or outside lane to come to a near stop in front of me.


Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
Atlanta Speedwerks
www.atlspeedwerks.com
SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

Spec Miata / Spec Boxster / Spec Cayman specialist

Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Director

Global MX-5 Cup team

MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#13
Todd Lamb

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I think even some driver's schools teach this?

 

Here's the way to look at it. Hands at about 9/3 and that "home" position is where they stay. Very rarely do you ever have to turn the wheel past 90 degrees on a racetrack, so there should be no issue with arms crossing unless you're having a big moment (more on that later). If you keep hands in their home position on the steering wheel, you get muscle memory plus a consistent visual of how far you've turned the wheel.

 

So back to that big moment. You're in a corner where you have to turn the wheel 90 degrees. Let's say you get tapped at turn in, or the car just starts to get out from under you mid corner and the back is coming around. You have 180 degrees of steering correction to save the car. If you had moved your hands, you'd only have 90 degrees of steering correction, which puts the wheel perfectly straight :o instead of actually countersteering. At that point you're flailing away at the wheel, but it's too late. You need the immediate reaction to save a car from spinning. 180 degrees of steering wheel is plenty to catch a car if you have quick hands.

 

I know you are a big fan of 9 and 3 and never letting go. I still one hand preset so I'm at 9 and 3 at apex... I know this is because of previous training for another kind of driving. Do you think it stylistic or worth time????


Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
Atlanta Speedwerks
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SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

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MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#14
Todd Lamb

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1. Generally speaking a slow corner involves some pretty substantial braking, so you'd want the trailbraking. I think maybe what you're asking is about trailing throttle oversteer. If so, then yes, lifting partially or even fully transfers weight to the front of the car, making the back lighter and thus inducing oversteer aka rotation. In a long duration corner like the carousel at Road America or Keyhole/Carousel at MidO a little lift will help point the nose of the car to the inside of the track.

 

2. When coaching I use lateral G's quite a bit to determine the grip that is still left on the table. Some other cues in SM are unwinding the wheel to drive out to the exit curbing, as opposed to keeping the car loaded up all the way to the track out point, or simply not using all the track at the exit of the corner.

 

 

I have two

 

1. can you use lifting off the throttle even in slower corners to help turn or rotate the car vs. trail braking and if so when?

 

2. How do you know when your getting the most out of your corner speed. what do you do to figure out if your leaving to much on the table (without spinning like I do to figure it out)?


Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
Atlanta Speedwerks
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SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

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MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner

#15
Rob Burgoon

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How pushy is your default setup and how does your oversteer/understeer and brake bias setup change from one type of track to another?

 

edit: yes these are car not driver, but these are very closely tied to driving technique.


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#16
Todd Lamb

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In SM we spend a considerable amount of time on setup. We get it where we want it before we leave for the track, and recheck several times throughout the weekend to make sure things haven't changed (they usually move a little).

This allows us to make small changes at the track - usually cross and ride height are the only adjustments needed. Mid Ohio requires some other oddball adjustments to keep up with Bennett. ;)

The baseline setup is neutral. The adjustments keep it neutral. It is a driver preference thing somewhat, but having a neutral car means very little speed scrub from sliding one end or the other. It also means when the track changes (gets grippy or greasy) the balance of the car doesn't change, so there's no "chasing the setup".
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#17
ECOBRAP

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I don't have the budget for test days, so I haven't had the opportunity to try out left foot braking. Do you see merit in terms of lap time? I cannot conceptually understand a noticeable difference, because the tenth of a second it takes me to move from the accelerator to the brake does not equate to a tenth of a second in lap time (the difference in speed of coasting versus still accelerating for a tenth of a second is too small?) Or does it add up over the lap? Curious to know if any nationally competitive SM drivers don't use left foot braking.


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#18
Todd Lamb

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While left foot braking has it's place in racing (mainly karting and sequential gearboxes), it is not necessary in SM. There are a few that do it, and do it well, but there's no advantage in my opinion. I have even seen some drivers botch starts and cause huge wrecks trying to left foot brake on the start to load up the driveline. They jab the brake when the car hits the rev limiter, thinking their foot is on the clutch (there's that muscle memory thing again). Cue the major pileup as a driver locks up the brakes while everyone else is full throttle.

 

Now, there are times when you need to pump the brake pedal with your left foot before the brake zones to push the caliper pistons and pads back into position (to rectify "knock back"). But there should be no braking force for that to actually slow the car down.


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#19
Rob Burgoon

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In SM we spend a considerable amount of time on setup. We get it where we want it before we leave for the track, and recheck several times throughout the weekend to make sure things haven't changed (they usually move a little).

This allows us to make small changes at the track - usually cross and ride height are the only adjustments needed. Mid Ohio requires some other oddball adjustments to keep up with Bennett. ;)

The baseline setup is neutral. The adjustments keep it neutral. It is a driver preference thing somewhat, but having a neutral car means very little speed scrub from sliding one end or the other. It also means when the track changes (gets grippy or greasy) the balance of the car doesn't change, so there's no "chasing the setup".

 

Really.... So you don't go for a little push and balance it with trailbraking?


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#20
Todd Lamb

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You could balance a little push with trailbraking on corner entry, but then the car will still be tight the last 2/3 of the corner and scrubbing speed with extra wheel input while you are trying to accelerate.


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Full disclosure: SMAC chairman, my opinions do not reflect anything to do with the SMAC unless specifically stated.

Todd Lamb
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SpeedShift Transmissions - reliability and performance

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Spec MX-5 Challenge Series Director

Global MX-5 Cup team

MX5 Cup Champion - Has won a Season in the MX5 Cup Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill NASA Champs Winner - NASA Champs Winner ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner Majors Winner - World Challenge Winner - World Challenge Winner




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