Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Gravel Practice

On March 19th we attended our second Race Lab event - because seat time is the best investment you can make and because it's been a very long winter and we completely forgot what it's like to drive on gravel. Following are some of our lessons learned.


Lesson 1. We drive like maniacs when we don't care about run times! The car left the event with more battle scars than we get from a season of racing. Even I hit a barrel at least twice - and I tend to be the most cautious driver of us three!

Lesson 2. On gravel, you can never have enough spare tires. We brought one and that was not enough. We de-beaded one tire completely, and the second tire had so much rocks stuffed between the rim and the sidewall that it began loosing air. That might have had something to do with our low tire pressures too. In hindsight I think we should have run them at least 38psi hot, as the marginal gains in traction with lower psi are far outweighed by the risk of de-beading a tire and not finishing a run.

Lesson 3. Slow in, fast out works - we have data to prove it. Danil had consistently faster run times than myself that day. Analyzing the data from our logger confirmed our suspicions - I had much faster corner entry speeds, and much higher Gs in the corner entry. But my corner exit speed, and more importantly the speed on the following straights suffered because of that. Flying into a corner way too hot and scrubbing off speed sideways is fun, but not the way to be fast.

Lesson 4. Race Lab is seriously one of the best value for money loose surface events in the province! Our day was cut short when we lost our second tire, but even still we had so many runs we were ready to go home. Huge thanks to Leo and the volunteers for making these events happen!

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