Page 18 - PCA Metro NY Region POST April 2018
P. 18

The New Track Sea- son
The Metro 2018 track season will be just starting as this col- umn is published, and I have some thoughts I want to share.
Your Car
Track driving puts much stress on your car. It is very impor- tant that your car be in good shape
to handle these stresses. The pre-event tech inspection, while very useful (and re- quired), is not a comprehensive review of your car, so I strongly suggest your car get a thorough going-over by your Porsche dealer or an independent race shop. These places advertise in the POST. This is important – you do not want a mechani- cal failure at high speed.
Some Driving Thoughts
It’s a new season
The off-season lasted about 5 months, and you are out of practice. You prob- ably can’t drive as quickly as you did at the end of last year, so don’t push it right away. There will be many opportunities in the season ahead. Additionally, the tem- peratures are not hot yet since it is early Spring now and the track surface is cold. Approach the car’s (and your own) limits gradually. Take it easy – get the cobwebs out before pushing hard.
You’ve probably been told many times to be ‘smooth’ while on track. What does this mean, and why does it matter? ‘Smooth’ means do not be abrupt on the controls. The controls are the gas, brake and clutch pedals, the steering wheel and the gear
shifter. The reason that smooth matters is that track driving is about maximizing the grip at all times between the tires and the road surface. While there are underlying factors which determine this maximum grip level, such as the radius of the turn, the type of tire on your car, and so on, you, as the driver, can greatly reduce your car’s potential by how you (mis-)handle the controls.
Consider that you are approaching a turn which requires you to slow down quite a bit, such as Turn 1 at Watkins Glen. If you suddenly jam on the brakes very hard there will be much weight transfer from the rear to the front. The front springs will compress and the rears will extend, mo- mentarily reducing the weight on the rear tires, which may start to lock up. ABS will intervene to prevent this lock up, but you will not have the maximum braking effec- tiveness you would have had if you had been less sudden in your brake applica- tion.
Alternatively, consider that you are in a turn aiming for the apex. You realize that you didn’t turn in enough, so you sudden- ly add more steering. This abruptly causes weight transfer from the inside tires to the outside tires which disturbs the equilib- rium of the car. Total grip is reduced until the suspension settles down. Understeer or oversteer may occur, and your efforts then to stabilize the situation may cause you to lose more speed.
The solution is to be thoughtful in your driv- ing and not be rough with the controls.
The great majority of our cars have man- ual gearboxes, and only a few of those have the new automatic rev-matching capability, which leaves most of us with the need to ‘Rev Match’ and ‘Heel & Toe’ (Contined on page 19).
Track Ramblings
Rev Matching and Heel & Toe

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