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Spin = Two Feet In?


mender
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This is a continuation of a discussion on the fuel cell rule change thread. I'm hoping that talking about this will inspire people to go beyond the belief that stomping on the brake pedal in a spin is the best thing to do.

 

I taught winter driving techniques to people who were scared of driving on snow and ice because of their fear of "losing control". One of the more important parts of the course was to demonstrate that sliding doesn't mean losing control - unless the driver freaks out, hits the brakes and willingly gives up control. It was fun seeing the student realize that sliding was not the death knell that they had always been told it was ("You slide, you die!") but instead was a ticket to the next level of car control. 

 

I would establish the predictability of a slide by doing slow circles on ice with the back end out. Continuous constant radius circles with very little steering or throttle movement, then adding a little throttle and a little more steering to increase the radius of the circles, while talking calmly about what I was doing. Seeing that helped even the little old lady get over her fear, and as things turned out she was one of the more avid students once that was out of the way.

 

After about an hour of various exercises, the finale was to demonstrate and teach 180 spins in either direction that resulted in the car continuing in the original direction of travel but in reverse, then looping it around again and continuing with the car in drive again. A little practice got most students proficient enough to be able to do the two maneuvers back to back within the width of a two lane road (we had a large skid pad, so don't worry, it was safe!). A few even managed to copy my one-lane width demo. 

 

The point is that spin recovery should be uppermost in a driver's mind when things start getting exciting on track, not tossing out the anchor and hoping for the best. Granted, there are no guarantees in racing, and sometimes there will be contact no matter how well you handle the situation, but at least give yourself some options besides sliding to a stop.

 

Spend an hour practicing precision sliding, not just goofing off, and you'll be surprised at how much surer your corner entries are. Oh, and for those who complain that they don't have snow to play in, I didn't pick your part of the continent.:P

 

And you dirt track guys: move along, nothing new to see here. ;) 

Edited by mender
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I can see both sides.

 

1st, alot the cars in this series are NOT Mid engine.  Meaning, when they spin, they tend to cross the track going backwards (the back end of the car will be swinging around).  The both feet in adds a level of predicatability to those drivers following / near the spinner.  If I see the brakes locked, I have a pretty good idea that the spinning car is going to travel in its current trajectory for some time. 

 

I have been taken out more than once by a car completing their spin and just letting the car roll after the spin.  2 feet in usually eliminates this situation.  They will stay stationary.

 

I DO believe in knowing when to "bail" on saving the spin and when to drive through it.  

 

Anytime you KNOW you effed up and are about to go around, both feet it.  Otherwise, yea, try to save it.  I bet you can't fishtail more than 3 x and save it.  I dare you!

Edited by wvumtnbkr
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Have yet to read the paragraph of mender but I would like to put this here for discussion as well, looking carefully you can see my pedal feet and, right or wrong, my deliberate inaction till the end.

 

Car is automatic with ABS but at some point they do lock when sideways, you can hear the squeal change.

 

Edited by Team Infiniti
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Would be interesting to see pole results on this one.

 

As a person who has been on both sides of the issue, I am a firm believer in "if you spin, put two feet in".  If you don't then you are not doing what people expect and that can spell trouble.  Doesn't matter if you know what you are doing.  What matters is whether or not the person who is about to t-bone you does...

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I spun at NCM.  I got tapped pretty hard in the right rear in a right hand turn.  I countersteered, saw that wasn't going to work.  Went two feet in, then lifted off the brake when the car was rolling backwards off track and offline and rolled safely off track on the opposite side of track out.  Someone saw my video and said I should have kept my foot on the brake which would have put me about a car width from mid-track, but still on track when I stopped.  I politely disagreed.  His argument was that I could have rolled in front of a car trying to avoid me.  While that may be true, the other car spun to the track-out side of the track, since they would be looking at him when going through the turn, they could easily decide to take an inside line toward me.  So that seemed less safe.  In addition, I was watching approaching traffic and was not in any danger of getting hit. Cone Crushers was coming through the turn as I was coming to a stop in the grass.

 

Each situation probably has it's own unique problems (traffic, racing line, conditions, etc), but if you lose it, I'd lean toward both feet in until you can see a strong reason to try to do something else (like catch it or continue rolling in a certain direction).

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39 minutes ago, wvumtnbkr said:

Anytime you KNOW you effed up and are about to go around, both feet it.  Otherwise, yea, try to save it.  I bet you can't fishtail more than 3 x and save it.  I dare you!

And this is what I'm saying is the wrong time to just lock them up - unless there's a reason. Control the trajectory of the car so that it goes where you want it to go.

 

And I can fishtail a car all day long because I practice. :) One of the drifting exercises that I would teach is figure 8s.

Edited by mender
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10 minutes ago, moortom said:

Would be interesting to see pole results on this one.

 

As a person who has been on both sides of the issue, I am a firm believer in "if you spin, put two feet in".  If you don't then you are not doing what people expect and that can spell trouble.  Doesn't matter if you know what you are doing.  What matters is whether or not the person who is about to t-bone you does...

That's part of what this thread is about: alerting drivers to other possibilities. 

 

I know this is considered an entry level/novice series but it's gotten 'way beyond that now. Time for people to start upping their racecraft, and that includes proper handling of potential incidents so that they don't become actual incidents.

Edited by mender
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Video of the incident I mentioned above.  The sad thing is that we were in 4th or 5th with an hour or so to go and the guys that hit us were in 2nd and were about to take the lead.  It bricked both of our cars. 

 

 

After watching that, Cone Crushers were a bit closer than I remembered.  This also harkens to the point by discussion earlier.  The 2nd place driver said he thought I was pointing him by.  When I checked my mirrors and saw that he was too far back I went for the turn.  He went for the pass.  It ended poorly for both of us.  The moral of the story ignore the blue flag, watch your mirrors, don't crash into people who you thought gave you a point-by.  

Edited by zack_280
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13 minutes ago, Team Infiniti said:

Have yet to read the paragraph of mender but I would like to put this here for discussion as well, looking carefully you can see my pedal feet and, right or wrong, my deliberate inaction till the end.

 

Car is automatic with ABS but at some point they do lock when sideways, you can hear the squeal change.

 

Need about another 15 seconds of video ...

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10 minutes ago, zack_280 said:

Video of the incident I mentioned above.  The sad thing is that we were in 4th or 5th with an hour or so to go and the guys that hit us were in 2nd and were about to take the lead.  It bricked both of our cars. 

 

 

After watching that, Cone Crushers were a bit closer than I remembered.  This also harkens to the point by discussion earlier.  The 2nd place driver said he thought I was pointing him by.  When I checked my mirrors and saw that he was too far back I went for the turn.  He went for the pass.  It ended poorly for both of us.  The moral of the story ignore the blue flag, watch your mirrors, don't crash.  

Have the corner workers never seen a couple of cars racing before?  I get your frustation.

 

Going back across the track looked like a dicy move, even while watching the other traffic.

Edited by mender
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7 minutes ago, mender said:

I know this is considered an entry level/novice series but it's gotten 'way beyond that now. Time for people to start upping their racecraft, and that includes proper handling of potential incidents so that they don't become actual incidents.

 

No, it definitely hasn't.  We don't have any prerequisites for driving in our series.  You pretty much have to assume that the guy next to you is out there for the first time unless you know them personally or have been turning laps next to them long enough to get a feel for their comfort level.

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I’d have to say.  It depends.   

 

If you’ve really lost it and you’re  going backwards, most of the time you need to stop.  Don’t keep rolling.  Are there exceptions? Yes.  This is where being aware of what’s going on around you is helpful.   Is that always possible? No.   I think the biggest sin is spinning off track and allowing your car to roll back on track. That has to be where this old saying came from.    

 

Learning car control and catching the car or knowing when to open the wheel and just drive in the grass for awhile are pretty good skills to have.  Just not that easy to learn.   

 

Certainly both feet in can be the be the right decision 

 

 

Edited by JDChristianson
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1 minute ago, JDChristianson said:

I’d have to say.  It depends.   

 

If you’ve really lost it and you’re  going backwards, most of the time you need to stop.  Don’t keep rolling.  Are there exceptions? Yes.  This is where being aware of what’s going on around you is helpful.   Is that always possible? No.   I think the biggest sin is spinning of track and allowing your car to roll back on track. That has to be where this old saying came from.    

 

Leaning car control and catching the car or knowing when to open the wheel and just drive in the grass for awhile are pretty good skills to have.  Just not that easy to learn.   

 

Certainly both feet in can be the be the right decision 

Of course, but the trick is to make that decision according to the situation.

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5 minutes ago, moortom said:

 

No, it definitely hasn't.  We don't have any prerequisites for driving in our series.  You pretty much have to assume that the guy next to you is out there for the first time unless you know them personally or have been turning laps next to them long enough to get a feel for their comfort level.

It definitely has.

 

While you are correct that anyone out there can be a newb, probably well over half the field have been doing this for a while and as such should be thinking about things like this.

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16 minutes ago, zack_280 said:

The moral of the story ignore the blue flag, watch your mirrors, don't crash into people who you thought gave you a point-by.  

I'm by nationality a very courteous driver but I've resolved to not give any more point-bys. 

 

Also, I tell my team to report any flags and then let the crewchief sort things out.

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9 minutes ago, mender said:

It definitely has.

  

While you are correct that anyone out there can be a newb, probably well over half the field have been doing this for a while and as such should be thinking about things like this.

 

So you agree that a significant portion of the field is made up of novice drivers?

 

I agree that we should all strive to improve our knowledge and skill level as it will help avoid these types of wrecks.  And yes, half of the field that has been doing this for a while and therefore should be much, much less likely to get confused by an out of control car and hit it.  But that is only half of the field.  The other half NEEDS predictability.  They are generally overwhelmed and are not going to be capable of identifying whether or not you are locking the wheels, see your trajectory, evaluate what type of car you are driving and how it may behave differently (i.e. mid engine), and adjust their course all in time to not hit you. 

Edited by moortom
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44 minutes ago, mender said:

That's part of what this thread is about: alerting drivers to other possibilities. 

 

I know this is considered an entry level/novice series but it's gotten 'way beyond that now. Time for people to start upping their racecraft, and that includes proper handling of potential incidents so that they don't become actual incidents.

 

I've only spun a car on a racetrack once, plus a few here and there at autocrosses.  I've gotten way sideways and saved it a whole lot.  In each case I knew the difference, and it was pretty darned clear to me the exact moment when I became a passenger and needed to just stand on the pedals.

 

I doubt that during a spin anyone has enough situational awareness to evaluate the traffic around them and consistently make the right decision, especially in heavy traffic.  I don't think I could and I'm definitely not a novice.  As an example, I was in the back of a pack of about 15 cars at Nelson Ledges this summer and the guy at the front spun right at the apex of turn 3.  At night.  He stopped mid-track and everyone avoided him because we all knew exactly where he was going to end up.  Being at the back, I bailed into the outfield immediately because I wanted no part of that particular cluster-you-know-what.  If he had gotten off the brakes to try to get off the track he probably would have backed right into my door.

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1 hour ago, DaveH said:

 

I've only spun a car on a racetrack once, plus a few here and there at autocrosses.  I've gotten way sideways and saved it a whole lot.  In each case I knew the difference, and it was pretty darned clear to me the exact moment when I became a passenger and needed to just stand on the pedals.

 

I doubt that during a spin anyone has enough situational awareness to evaluate the traffic around them and consistently make the right decision, especially in heavy traffic.  I don't think I could and I'm definitely not a novice.  As an example, I was in the back of a pack of about 15 cars at Nelson Ledges this summer and the guy at the front spun right at the apex of turn 3.  At night.  He stopped mid-track and everyone avoided him because we all knew exactly where he was going to end up.  Being at the back, I bailed into the outfield immediately because I wanted no part of that particular cluster-you-know-what.  If he had gotten off the brakes to try to get off the track he probably would have backed right into my door.

So when you decide to stand on the pedals, it's because you are making the car go where you want it to or just along for the ride?

 

My point to all this is to keep driving the car and have an idea where you want it end up, not just hit the brakes and hope for the best. 

 

As for situational awareness, that needs to be there before the incident so that you have a chance during the incident. I've had people come up to me after an on-track incident where I left space for them and basically saved their bacon and have them ask me how I knew they were there. I knew before the incident where they were and that didn't change just because of the incident.

 

In my case, my problem wasn't that I didn't know he was there because I did. The issue I had was that I didn't think about him braking 100 feet deeper and blowing the corner, then fixating on my door. You can go back and watch the background to see how he zeros in. 

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7 hours ago, Team Infiniti said:

Look back. I fixed it

 

How many laps does it take to get the rears up to temp? On the oval I would light up the right rear by turning up the track a bit and spinning the tires. That helped a lot, I made quite a few first lap passes while other guys were trying to catch the back end of their cars.

 

Really hard to critique what you did without first driving your car. In the Fiero, I avoid lift-throttle into a corner and instead set up to be at maintenance throttle at turn-in. I'm working on getting the car to work better in that phase because I lose time to others there (check the video). It makes for a very deliberate corner entry but the reward is I can get to full throttle earlier than other cars and gain more on the next straight than I lose on corner entry. 

 

So the question would be about the mid-corner balance of your car and the effect of trailing throttle. In the same situation, I would have waited until the Fiero slowed enough and went offline enough from the drift then applied throttle to transfer weight to the rear and hopefully drive it out of the corner. First inclination would be to keep it from crossing the track in front of the two cars you just passed. Second would be hopefully recover and continue on with minimal loss of time. Third would be to keep the tires rolling and avoid flatspotting them. Fourth would be to keep it off the wall. 

 

I purposely have front brake bias in the Fiero for my other drivers because I know their first inclination is to hit the brakes in this situation. That would lock the fronts and at least give them a chance to save it without looping it in front of the field. I keep telling them that the throttle is their friend and that they need to get back on it when they feel the rear end shift but they can't seem to break their "training".

Edited by mender
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3 hours ago, moortom said:

 

So you agree that a significant portion of the field is made up of novice drivers?

 

I agree that we should all strive to improve our knowledge and skill level as it will help avoid these types of wrecks.  And yes, half of the field that has been doing this for a while and therefore should be much, much less likely to get confused by an out of control car and hit it.  But that is only half of the field.  The other half NEEDS predictability.  They are generally overwhelmed and are not going to be capable of identifying whether or not you are locking the wheels, see your trajectory, evaluate what type of car you are driving and how it may behave differently (i.e. mid engine), and adjust their course all in time to not hit you. 

Actually I doubt that even a tenth of a given field is newbs but I understand your point. 

 

I felt I was giving the guy behind me as much opportunity not to hit me as I could by getting off the track.

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I would say that you drive for the situation. Going two feet in any time you get out of balance is very predictable, but cars stopped on track are not necessarily safe. It's good, reliable advice for someone who hasn't been on a track before, but it isn't the ideal outcome for someone who at least somewhat knows what they're doing.

 

My first response is to save the spin, as long as saving it doesn't mean I'm going to hit another car. Being on the line and at race pace is the easiest way to not get hit, so I'd rather keep going than stopping if I can. If I can't save the spin, then I do as much as I can to avoid other cars and give them a chance to miss me. Sometimes while in a tight pack, that would mean going two feet in. Sometimes it means not braking and just driving off the track. If I'm not in traffic, ending up off-line or off-track is the goal. A car off-line and moving off track is easier to miss than one sitting on the line, assuming other cars are actually driving where they're supposed to be.

 

It's all judgement. Once you screw up, your number one goal should be doing what keeps everyone safe.

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Lot's of generalities here.  But one that is missing.

 

When you've just given it all you have to save a spin and are now a passenger, do you really know which way the steering wheel is pointed?  Do you know what part of your spin you'll be in when the car scrubs off enough speed for the tires to hook up?  Not likely.

 

Because you don't know where the car is going to go when it does regain traction, not having your foot on the brake makes it a game of Russian Roulette.  It will roll in what ever direction the wheels are aimed which is not necessarily in the direction it had been heading.  If the brakes are locked, you may do a series of pirouettes off into the weeds, but you'll do them in a straight line.

 

Cars moving in straight lines, or cars that are stopped are infinitely more predictable than cars that have the potential to change direction w/o notice.  Does not matter if it is mid-engine or has the weight balance of a wheel barrow.  Does not matter if we're describing someone's first time on track or a Kimi Raikkonen level of skill and experience.

 

 

In 25 years of wheel to wheel racing I've never had contact with a spinning car (mine or the other guy) that went two feet in.  In 3 years of Champcar I've had the pleasure of 3 cars spinning in front of my car, not going 2-feet-in that resulted in body work and trips to the frame shop.  I guess I'm just biased.

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