A common misconception is that faster drivers do everything better than average drivers. Average autocrossers may lack a few major driving tools/skills. For example, they might struggle with car placement, lack smoothness, etc. They also have a less clear idea of what they are doing wrong or how to fix it. That said, average autocrossers occasionally shine, and collect trophies at national events from time to time. Good autocrossers often make the same mistakes as average autocrossers, but usually recognize their mistakes, and have strategies to avoid those mistakes in the future. Good autocrossers will frequently have success, win national events, but struggle to doRead More →

The greatest challenge in autocross is that we get a very limited set of runs within which to put in our best performance. This is made even harder at national level events, where we only get 3 runs on each course. With only a few opportunities to learn the course, find the right places to attack, fix mistakes, etc, having a well thought out strategy is critical! This brings up the often-asked question… What should we do on our first run? Should we put in a safe/clean run to build on? Should we attack hard to test the limits? What should we do if weRead More →

Imagine a tight 180 degree turn followed by a long straightaway. We have been taught that in such a scenario, a late apex is critical, because even though it results in a lower minimum speed in the corner (compared to taking a larger constant radius geometric arc), it allows us to get on the gas sooner, giving us a higher exit speed, and we carry that higher speed advantage all the way down the straightaway. Countless books, websites, videos, courses, and instructors talk about this, but unfortunately, not everything we are told about late apexing and early throttle is true. Certainly, getting on the gasRead More →

Have you ever asked a friend who lost weight and got in really good shape how they did it, and they said “I just watch what I eat and workout a couple of times a week”? Or perhaps you have asked a CEO or a similarly successful person to give you career advice; they commonly say something along the lines of “follow your passion and work hard”. In both of these scenarios, the advice given isn’t wrong, but we intuitively know that it is incomplete. There must be more to it! Why do people who achieve success give us these short, albeit well meaning, butRead More →

Photo by Perry Bennett (http://www.autoxpix.com) We hear experts talk about this with F1, or hear our racing friends lament about it, or perhaps we have experienced it for ourselves over years of competition: There comes a point in time when a driver no longer has the pace that he/she once did. The most common explanation is that reaction time slows down with age, and on the surface that seems like a reasonable justification. But turns out that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, and in order to really understand what’s going on, we need to think more deeply not just about our physical abilities, but ourRead More →

This is the second part in a 2-part series… Explained: Weight transfer vs body roll (part 1) Explained: Weight transfer vs body roll (part 2) Last time, we dissected the components of weight transfer, understood why we want to reduce it as much as possible, and saw that our only means through which to do so are vehicle weight, CG height, and width. We also established that reducing body roll makes no appreciable different to the amount of weight transfer. However, body roll brings about various problems of its own which we need to understand and try to solve for. The trouble we run intoRead More →

This is the first part in a 2-part series… Explained: Weight transfer vs body roll (part 1) Explained: Weight transfer vs body roll (part 2) Body roll and weight transfer are amongst the most misunderstood aspects of vehicle dynamics. The physics of vehicle dynamics is indeed incredibly complex, but the problem is exacerbated by the sheer amount of really bad (and dead wrong) information that is often passed along from other well intentioned but misinformed drivers. In this post, we will attempt to clear up these oft confused concepts, and try do so in terms that are easy to follow. Cause and effect Many people,Read More →

In the pursuit of lowering our lap times, our primary task is to keep the vehicle as close to the edge of grip as possible, on the optimal line. In order to do this effectively, we have many sensory inputs at our disposal (steering feel, seat of the pants g-forces, visuals, sound, etc), and while they are all useful to varying degrees, some of them may not be giving us as much valuable information as we think. Unfortunately the most commonly relied upon sensory inputs aren’t necessarily chosen for how accurate they are, but for how easy they are to pick up on. A lotRead More →

We’ve probably spent months, maybe even years, fine tuning the handling of our cars. We have probably spent even more time learning how to extract the most out of a car that is balanced perfectly for our driving styles. Having confidence and predictability in our vehicle’s handling is vital to extracting the most out of it in the heat of competition. But the fact is, no matter what kind of racing we are involved in, sometimes the car just isn’t going to behave as well as we want it to. For road racers, the most common causes of this include tire degradation, changing fuel loads,Read More →

Photo by Perry Bennett - http://autoxpix.com/

The unbending truth is that a race has exactly one winner. Every other competitor loses, and depending on their expectations, each of them has to deal with varying degrees of the emotions that come with losing. A single loss can be hard enough to deal with, let alone a string of losses that shake our very ability to perform. No matter what the sport, every competitor hates losing, and for good reason! Besides the blow to the ego, losing actually hurts; not in an abstract way, but in a very real manner! It makes your stomach churn, changes your blood pressure, constricts thousands of muscles,Read More →