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I see this all the time in racing (NASCAR.. Isle of Mann TT... Indy... etc. ) two cars are battling, they are exiting a corner accelerating down the straight and the announcer says something like "the lead car is really getting the power down better than the trailing car" or "he gets such good drive off the corner and runs away from the trailing car". But they are normally wrong! It's a fallacy! They see the gap increase.. but that's not the measure they should be looking at.. it's the time difference which will tell them if the lead car is actually "pulling away" or not. If he's leading by 1 second mid-corner with a 2 car gap, then when they are doing 3x the speed on the straight, it will be a 6 car gap, but still only 1 second ahead!! Time between cars is the most relevant measure here. Obviously gap between cars matters too, but don't be fooled by an increasing gap and think that means that the lead car is accelerating better!

 

Rant over.

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9 hours ago, enginerd said:

I see this all the time in racing (NASCAR.. Isle of Mann TT... Indy... etc. ) two cars are battling, they are exiting a corner accelerating down the straight and the announcer says something like "the lead car is really getting the power down better than the trailing car" or "he gets such good drive off the corner and runs away from the trailing car". But they are normally wrong! It's a fallacy! They see the gap increase.. but that's not the measure they should be looking at.. it's the time difference which will tell them if the lead car is actually "pulling away" or not. If he's leading by 1 second mid-corner with a 2 car gap, then when they are doing 3x the speed on the straight, it will be a 6 car gap, but still only 1 second ahead!! Time between cars is the most relevant measure here. Obviously gap between cars matters too, but don't be fooled by an increasing gap and think that means that the lead car is accelerating better!

 

Rant over.

If they have the time interval at the top of the screen you can watch the numbers change and judge for yourself. Although they still will say that, I find the announcers to be quite a bit more accurate than they used to be, and they even quote the numbers to back that up. I find it especially interesting to watch the numbers when NASCAR is at a medium oval and the time fluctuates during a lap, showing where on the track one car/driver is better than another.

 

The corollary is "they closed up under braking, " while again keeping the same time gap. These two misinterpretations give people the wrong impressions, resulting in the usual "they have more power than we do but we can out-brake any car on the track!" I can't tell you how many people honestly believe that despite the opposite being true. In fact, I'm willing to bet that at least half the field believes that they out-brake everyone else. ;)

 

Unfortunately, this leads to some very sketchy passing attempts under braking that result in a messed up corner and a bigger time gap right after or even worse, an incident. The driver should have concentrated on setting up for a good exit instead. This is true of just about every car type. Passing under braking should be the result of a carefully planned sequence that started one or more corners before the passing attempt, not a last-ditch Hail Mary that knocks both cars off the road.

 

8 hours ago, Racer28173 said:

OK - here is my pet peeve:  They will say the trailing car has been faster on the last three laps, yet the trailing car was on the bumper of the leading car at the beginning of the three laps and didn't pass.......  He certainly wasn't faster in any meaningful way

If they manage to stay on the bumper of the other car, they are faster and it shows as soon as they clear the slower car when they immediately open up a gap. :)

Edited by mender
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1 hour ago, mender said:

 

 

If they manage to stay on the bumper of the other car, they are faster and it shows as soon as they clear the slower car when they immediately open up a gap. :)

 

They aren’t faster if they don’t get past.   Which 80% of the time they don’t.  They were faster as they caught up, but once they are on the bumper, they are only “potential faster”.  

 

Qualifying measures potential speed.  The race measures your ability to convert potential into results.  Simon Says schooled a lot of us on that at WGI last month. 

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2 hours ago, mender said:

The corollary is "they closed up under braking, " while again keeping the same time gap. These two misinterpretations give people the wrong impressions, resulting in the usual "they have more power than we do but we can out-brake any car on the track!" I can't tell you how many people honestly believe that despite the opposite being true. In fact, I'm willing to bet that at least half the field believes that they out-brake everyone else. ;)

QFT!! If I had a dollar every time I heard/read a mid pack team say "we can out brake everyone"... I could afford more racing!

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2 hours ago, mender said:

If they have the time interval at the top of the screen you can watch the numbers change and judge for yourself.

This is a great feature of Formula 1.. really helps show the DRS gains and the 'trailing car understeer'.

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2 hours ago, Racer28173 said:

 

They aren’t faster if they don’t get past.   Which 80% of the time they don’t.  They were faster as they caught up, but once they are on the bumper, they are only “potential faster”.  

 

Qualifying measures potential speed.  The race measures your ability to convert potential into results.  Simon Says schooled a lot of us on that at WGI last month. 

Semantics; they have a faster car but are running the same lap times.

 

But I understand what you're saying. :)

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