Image of a car rotating through a race track corner

All contests of speed involve making use of (and enjoying the feeling of) g-forces. Different types of vehicles create those forces in different ways; airplanes rely on jet thrust and aerodynamic forces, motor boats rely on turbine thrust and displacement of water, and cars rely on the grip generated by the tires. For any performance driver, understanding how tires work is critical to our ability to extract and use the maximum forces they have to offer. Understanding slip angle “Slip angle” may be one of the most misunderstood terms in performance driving. Here are some things that slip angle is NOT: Slip angle is simplyRead More →

While it sucks that most of us are stuck at home right now unable to participate in motorsports activities, we can choose to use the time productively and get better prepared to kick butt when racing activities pick back up. There are, of course, innumerable things we could be doing; we could work on our cars to make them faster, we could turn to sim racing, we could enroll in online courses, and so on. But today, let’s focus on 2 specific things that anyone can do without spending a dime. 1. Review past performances Take advantage of this down time to review your pastRead More →

After a year of focusing almost exclusively on autocross related content, let’s turn our attention to something most applicable for track driving, though still applicable to all forms of racing. A student of the Beyond Seat Time online course (The Complete Autocrosser’s Manual) brought this to my attention. Some of you may have come across this before, but it was new to me, and definitely something worth sharing! Race Optimal, conceived of and built by Ricky Vesel, is a website/service that has a library of 100s of race tracks from around the world, and uses simulations and computations to find the best line around theRead More →

In case you missed it, round 1 of this test is here. Last time, on medium grip asphalt, the Bridgestone RE71R edged out the BFGoodrich Rival-S 1.5 by 0.3 seconds on my 2009 Corvette Z06 prepped for A-Street (front sway bar, double adjustable shocks). For round 2, a couple of things were different: I made some shock adjustments that have made the car much better behaved in high speed transitions, and… More importantly, this test was done on high grip concrete. The airport concrete at this site is very similar in grip and feel to what we see at the SCCA Autocross National Championships inRead More →

Here at BeST, we’ve always tried to dispel some of the well-intentioned, but ultimately inaccurate pieces of advice that get handed down from driver to driver over the years. We’ve talked about how there is a limit to how smooth we want to be, we saw that sacrificing the first corner in a pair of linked corners is not always the right answer, we established that getting on the gas before the apex is a misguided pursuit, etc. Today, we turn our attention to another oft repeated phrase; that looser is faster. Let’s examine this idea a little more closely, and see what truths andRead More →

Here are the results from round #1 (of 2) of my test of the top 2 autocross tires; the BFGoodrich Rival-S 1.5 vs the Bridgestone RE71R. This was tested on my 2009 Corvette Z06 prepped for A-Street (Strano front sway bar, Koni 30-series double adjustable shocks). Let’s get this out of the way first. Everyone has their own ideas of the “proper” way to test tires. Given unlimited runs, unlimited time, the ability to setup my own test course, etc etc, I may have done things differently. But given that my testing was during the course of a regular autocross event (I double entered), IRead More →

In this video, we will go over what drivers expect from national level autocross courses, and what they DON’T want, as well as cover the parameters and constraints we have to take into account. We’ll spend the bulk of our time talking about how to create a balanced course, and I’ll share some ideas on how to get started. This presentation assumes that you have a grasp on the basic aspects of course design, and the goal is to give you some ideas and things to think about in order to design fun and balanced national level autocross courses. NOTE: This video is an abridged versionRead More →

When it comes to figuring out the racing line, we often hear conflicting advice. We hear autocrossers preach the mantra of cutting distance above all else, while track drivers, as well as most racing education material, talk about using “all of the track” to carry more speed. Who is right? Are the rules different for autocross and track driving? Spoiler alert: The rules for determining the optimal line are identical for autocross and higher speed track driving. But in order to uncover what’s going on, we need some context. We need to uncover the origins of some of the common hand-me-down advice, and understand whyRead 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 →