Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

For road racing, autocrossing, or just taking that curve in style. Oh yea, and stopping!
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Jadewombat
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Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by Jadewombat » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:44 pm


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ps2375
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by ps2375 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:02 am

Really must know that track well. It seems like better lights would be on those cars...

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DORIGTT
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by DORIGTT » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:46 pm

If EVER there was a case for adaptive lighting, this would be it!

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DORIGTT
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by DORIGTT » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:47 pm

If EVER there was a case for adaptive lighting, this would be it!

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Jadewombat
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by Jadewombat » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:19 pm

Yeah, it looks pretty straightforward following the taillights of anther car...up until about 6 minutes into it when he takes the lead.

I agree, I'd want some rally lights all over the hood of that car lighting the way.

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ProctorSilex
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Resurrection!

Post by ProctorSilex » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:43 pm

Non-pro tip: Try to follow what you can see that cars ahead of you are lighting up rather than the cars themselves.
I have done one 24H race. I got some seat time on a day of practice before the race... in the rain. My first time out in the race was just before sunset the next day! It had gotten dark by the time I had to come in, but it still wasn't dark enough to be true night driving. Sometime after midnight I had my next stint which was after a nap. Another tip: quit napping at least thirty minutes before you drive. It was horrible going out in full darkness half asleep getting blinded by super bright lights and deafening noises! I was disoriented and upset. After about 45 minutes, I was fully awake and got into the groove. Following tail lights is better than nothing when it is all you have, but racing involves constantly adapting your own path to the track. Tail lights tell you nothing about conditions and can be bad for depth perception to me at least. Tail lights also promote following the car ahead which is mimicking that driver's habits and mistakes. Monkeying a slower or poorer driver is better than not seeing at all but it will not make you competitive.
Look ahead is key as it allows the driver to form a plan seconds in advance. Once a plan is made, it requires much fewer references for the driver to execute. Getting a glimpse of the track ahead from a leading car's head lights was all that I needed to plan the turn such that I mostly looked ahead at the lit track and ignored all the darkness that I was driving through. Seeing off track cars ahead, mud and grass smears across the track that weren't there the last lap, and other changes helped me adjust before getting there and being surprised in the dark.
You might be thinking that brighter lights on your car are the ticket. However, your car only lights what is mostly straight ahead which only works for straights and very minor turns. It also lights closer regions better which can be blinding and obscure the area further ahead that you want to see. For larger and sharper turns, your car would need lights pointed in more directions. The racing body will likely limit lighting and lights carry weight, aero, and alternator load penalties. Also, the brighter your lights, the more other drivers will hate you.
Another tip: avoid your mirrors. In day racing, mirrors are extremely important for awareness of other drivers, but they become a problem at night. No need to become a full blown Italian, just avoid direct reflections and shift your perceptions to depend on sound and the blinding volumes of light in your peripheral vision rather than looking directly for other cars. Adjusting them to be indirect like the little paddle switch on a street car's mirror is not always so simple in a race car, especially in a multi-driver endurance race. On top of that, there is usually no time for side mirror adjustments. You may have to move your head or shift around in your seat to avoid the super bright as the sun lights in your mirrors that kill your night vision.
I mentioned this to another driver on my team at the time who acted like the above was common knowledge, but nobody ever mentioned it to me and I have not read it anywhere. Once I got it figured out, I rather enjoyed night racing and wish I could do it again. That said, it is not for everyone. It scares some people too much. Others may have great trouble seeing because of physical issues such as glasses or eye surgery.

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ProctorSilex
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by ProctorSilex » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:51 pm

Jadewombat wrote:
Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:19 pm
Yeah, it looks pretty straightforward following the taillights of anther car...up until about 6 minutes into it when he takes the lead.
That I don't have any tips for. There were enough cars on track during my one night race that, even when I was overtaking, I got some good glimpses ahead from the slower car. Also, there was usually someone following me which can be of benefit if they are far enough back and pointed at where you want to see. It might be dimmer, but the car behind you can also light your way.

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Jadewombat
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by Jadewombat » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:33 pm

Hmmm, I've heard from other Auto-X drivers (and Star Wars Episode 4) the best way is to visualize the course in your head. How many laps into it do you need to where you know, more or less, what to expect?

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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by FJCamper » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:14 am

Hi Jade,

I'm a builder, not a driver, but being around some fast pro international drivers I've learned a couple of advanced techniques.

In night driving, slow down until you memorize the course in the dark, and adopt your daytime driving habits to it. To be specific, a fast driver is thinking one, two or even three turns ahead, and taking actions in turn one that will make him fast in turn three.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tng5ReSc2wY

Here, for visual effect, in a valuable one-minute video clip from Road Atlanta taken from the front bumper of our Ghia. Note that at 28 seconds in, you hear a very short, sharp brake squeal as the driver hard brakes not for the corner he is in, but for the upcoming corner where in that frame sets a Datsun 510. By the time the Ghia reaches that spot, it's under acceleration.

That's just thinking ahead one turn.

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Jadewombat
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by Jadewombat » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:52 pm

Ah OK, starting to see it in my mind's eye. Thanks FJ.

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ProctorSilex
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by ProctorSilex » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:45 am

Jadewombat wrote:
Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:33 pm
How many laps into it do you need to where you know, more or less, what to expect?
I didn't get an email notification for this thread.
What FJC said! On the one had, thinking and setting up your actions ahead are fundamental (yet difficult) driving skills. On the other, drivers tend to forget to actively work on such basics to enhance skill.
In the movie "Rush", there is a scene of James Hunt visualizing and driving the track from inside a garage (IIRC). I imagine that the ease of doing so varies by individual. If you try autocrossing, you might be surprised by how easy or hard it is to memorize a track from just one walk through. The ability to memorize should improve with experience. Studying maps is helpful. Watching videos of a track before you drive it helps too. Those things help me remember a new track faster (within a few laps) for 95% of it. That 5% can be real trouble, however, as none of the track is how it appears from the map and video perspectives. VIR full course, for example, is close enough to videos and maps for nearly every turn to have a good feel and preparedness your first time. The exception for me was turn 4 which is a tricky bottleneck that is hard to appreciate until you are in it and, I think, requires more care than all the other turns despite the slow speed. Turn 4 surprised me my first time (in the rain!), on cold R compounds in the cold, and even on hot R compounds in warm weather when I let my focus go.
To answer the specific number of laps before becoming comfortable/aware/fast/confident/whatever, that depends on you. In the light, if you have experience and you studied the map, studied videos, and ran the track in your mind, one to three laps should be enough to get on it on a new track (maybe not be fast in lap times but trying to be). A pro might be getting great times on the first lap. I was talking with an AER and PCA racer who said that he learned to be aggressive and on top of things right from the start of the race regardless of getting tires et al up to temp even on new tracks. To know it well enough in the dark is going to be harder because, well, you can't see it well. Do your homework with studies and visualization at least a few times on separate occasions before race day/night. If you can get practice in the light before hand, do it!

Speaking about racing, anybody looking for a driver?

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Jadewombat
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Re: Racing in the daytime looks hard enough as it is

Post by Jadewombat » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:44 pm

Yeah, I've taken a great big break from autoX. I campaigned in a very quick Mercedes C300 sport with a 6 speed manual a few years ago. I won H-stock easily that year in my local region, but across other classes I wasn't in the consistent top 10 or even top 15 out of 50-60 or so people at each event and there were other H-stock people in the state way quicker than I was.

I'm getting to a point in my life (some people never do...) that I have the patience and discipline to work on things like this (racing technique and more importantly seeing ahead) and I'll give in another go when I'm good and ready to and would definitely like to try road racing also. There's been several people who are great at autoX, great at autoX and road racing, great at road racing but not autoX, and of course great at autoX but not road racing.

I played golf a little in high school and sucked at it. I started again 25 years later and had one goal in mind--to only have fun and every time I've been out since then I've managed to do that. I'll have the same attitude about car racing when I start again, just have fun...

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