A Driver's Library

SirFignuts

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I have lots and lots of reading time at work and I wanna do my homework. Which books are required reading to prep for track day?
 

MadCat360

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Go Ahead: Take the Wheel has everything you need for track day prep. and club racing.

If you want driving, Speed Secrets is also good if all you've done are NASA/SCCA tutoring. Read it if you can't afford driving school. It's useless if you've had instruction from a good school, especially from Skip Barber as that's their curriculum basically. If you can, find Senna's Principles of Driving. It'll cost you about 80 to 130 bucks but you pretty much have to read it if you want to race.

EDIT, Oh, no, sorry, it's Going Faster that's the Skip Barber book. Speed Secrets is still pretty basic though.
 
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codymac

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No sweat. You can see an excerpt and a bit better info about Going Faster at Bentley Publisher's site here.

I'd bet lunch at a track day that it would be the top book recommendation for any instructor you end up with.
;)
 

Leonidae

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boganbusman

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How exactly is it "totally different"?? Sure there are a few differences between track and autocross setups, but most of the info from that link can be applied to any fast car.
Try actually reading it first.
 

Leonidae

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I can't imagine why someone who wants to go fast on a road course would look to an autocrosser for help.

That's like studying for an AP English class using an ABC book. Totally different trains of thought, totally different techniques.

That just sets up some basic ideas to follow, it's not a bible. in the end, it's the nut behind the wheel who tunes the car to his liking, this guy just gives some guidelines how to do it properly.
 

MadCat360

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How exactly is it "totally different"?? Sure there are a few differences between track and autocross setups, but most of the info from that link can be applied to any fast car.
Try actually reading it first.

I did. I found a lot wrong with it from a road racer's perspective. And what's this talk of setup? Why would you possibly want to "set up" a normal car for a track day? I can think of some people who fiddle with their tire pressure, but most don't.

Autocrossing is about as different from road racing as drifting is. The speeds are really low and the tracks are minuscule. "A few differences of setup" is probably the understatement of the century. And if you don't know how small courses with limited lines to play with and low MPH affects your driving style, I'm not sure you should be commenting on the differences therein... actually, if you don't know and you want to find out, a good way to do it is to bring a kart to the next autocross session you do. Go out in your normal car and then go out in a kart. Assuming the course isn't tiny, even by autocross standards, you will see how having room to play with and high relative road speed will affect your driving right away.
 

boganbusman

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And what's this talk of setup? Why would you possibly want to "set up" a normal car for a track day?
I'm not sure if I understand, but are you trying to say that a street car can't be set up for the track as well?

I can think of some people who fiddle with their tire pressure, but most don't.
Tire pressures are the last thing you adjust on your setup, so perhaps those people weren't happy with the rest of the car yet.
It's still an important thing to consider on any race car (or even street car), and I don't know anyone who doesn't fiddle with pressures! Everyone knows that tyres are on of the most important parts on the car, so you don't just set-and-forget. You may have also noticed that pro racing teams often change pressures during pitstops.

Autocrossing is about as different from road racing as drifting is. The speeds are really low and the tracks are minuscule. "A few differences of setup" is probably the understatement of the century. And if you don't know how small courses with limited lines to play with and low MPH affects your driving style, I'm not sure you should be commenting on the differences therein...
I absolutely disagree. Even drifting is not as different as you might think.
All three forms of the sport require the car to be tuned for high grip, and this is why I think they are not "totally different" as you would put it.
I realise that autocross is slower than circuit racing, but not all autox tracks are miniscule, and not all circuits are huge and really fast. Higher speed requires better high-speed damping, aerodynamics, and different wheel alignment, but that's about it.

actually, if you don't know and you want to find out, a good way to do it is to bring a kart to the next autocross session you do. Go out in your normal car and then go out in a kart. Assuming the course isn't tiny, even by autocross standards, you will see how having room to play with and high relative road speed will affect your driving right away.
A kart doesn't even have suspension, how can you possibly compare it to a normal car?
 

MadCat360

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A kart doesn't even have suspension, how can you possibly compare it to a normal car?

Scale. Driving techniques between a kart and a car, what costs time, what gains time, are the same, with the only exception being a differential, which, in the end, doesn't make much difference in terms of corner goals and angle of attack because of slip angle (car) or equalizing rear wheel rotation (kart). As someone who's driven both extensively, and received top level coaching in both, I think I'm qualified to make that assessment. Do you honestly not understand the method of my example? If you drive a car on a relatively (for the car) tight autocross course, then switch to a kart (because it's small) the course gets relatively larger, and you'll be able to directly play with the differences of a small, tight cone course and a race course (which it will become because the kart is small enough). They differ quite a lot, and is the primary point of my "autocrossing is not a good place to learn road racing" shpiel.

Anyway, last time I checked, I could not find many stock cars short of supercars that allow you to adjust various parts of the suspension off the truck, except for the ubiquitous sport button. But do carry on to tell me that a Civic needs 10 thousand dollars in tuning before it's track ready. The man just wants to take his car and drive it around a track. I don't know why you're telling him to read things that only competition drivers with race prepared cars need to know.

All he needs to know is to replace anything worn or broken, and to pump up his tires. That's all you need to have gobs of fun, which is the whole point of a track day. And here you come telling him he needs adjustable sway bars and such. Ridiculous.

I normally don't pick apart posts but:

I absolutely disagree. Even drifting is not as different as you might think.
All three forms of the sport require the car to be tuned for high grip, and this is why I think they are not "totally different" as you would put it.

What? I've driven cars set up for drifting. I don't claim to be a drift guru, I like road racing, but those cars are as loose as a socal surfer on mary jane. No rear end grip at all. I tried to learn, but all my instincts told me to stay in grip mode, so I never got the hang of it. But it didn't have any grip at all. I didn't like it.
 

boganbusman

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This is hard to explain for me. I'm not trying to say that you're completey wrong, but you're not thinking about it from the same perspective as I am.
You keep mentioning how the driving styles are different, but I'm talking about the car itself. I understand that driving techniques vary a lot, so I agree with you there. However despite the driving technique, the cars themselves and the methods used to set them up are not all that different.

As for SirFignut's car, I have no idea what he has or whether it's modified. I never told him what to do with the car either.
I merely recommended that link because it is indeed a good read. If he gets involved in racing and wants to learn how to make his car perform better, it will be a good place to start.

(btw, I wouldn't recommend that he run adjustable swaybars. If anything I would say no swaybars, but that is a whole other kettle of fish)

What? I've driven cars set up for drifting. I don't claim to be a drift guru, I like road racing, but those cars are as loose as a socal surfer on mary jane. No rear end grip at all. I tried to learn, but all my instincts told me to stay in grip mode, so I never got the hang of it. But it didn't have any grip at all. I didn't like it.
Most ametuer drifters have their cars all loose and only drift at low speeds because it's easier, safer, cheaper. Pro drifting is done at high speeds, and to do that you want a lot of grip.
 

Necx0

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Yeh don't know what drift cars you have driven MadCat but any decent drift car will have massive amounts of grip front and rear. In terms of set-up drifting and racing aren't that much different, more in certain technical aspects such as the amount of lock required. A decent well balanced car will do well in either form.

As for getting out on track??? Give it a good service and safety check, put the tyre pressures right and head out and go nuts.
 

MadCat360

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This is hard to explain for me. I'm not trying to say that you're completey wrong, but you're not thinking about it from the same perspective as I am.
You keep mentioning how the driving styles are different, but I'm talking about the car itself. I understand that driving techniques vary a lot, so I agree with you there. However despite the driving technique, the cars themselves and the methods used to set them up are not all that different.

Well I can't comment on the technical side of things because I've never set up a car for an autocross course or anything even remotely the same size. So I have no idea in that department. But I think if the driving itself differs that much, then it's reasonable to assume that the technical side differs just about as much, yes?
 

boganbusman

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No, it's not really reasonable to assume that. There are a few physical differences (which I outlined before), but the method for attaining the right setup is still unchanged.
You're just using the same tool in a different way.

I won't claim to be some sort of expert, because I'm certainly not, but if you want I can link to a couple of discussions on other websites where we chat about this stuff. Mainly on the MR2OC forum in my case, but I'm sure other car clubs go through the exact same thing.

Were getting a bit off-topic here anyway :lol: I'll just finish by saying that learning how to drive better is still the #1 way to improve performance, and that's something I will definitely be working on once my car is finished!
 
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