Flutterby™! : High Performance Driving

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High Performance Driving

2009-03-24 02:46:31.8665+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

On Saturday, a friend took me out around the track a few times at Infineon raceway. We were in a run group with about 60 cars, most of 'em seemed to be Corvette, BMW 5 series, Audi S and RS, MINI Cooper S, with an exotic or two. 60 cars on that track was a little crowded, so apparently we weren't going terribly fast, but I didn't notice the speed for its lack.

I have a new appreciation for the physical side of auto racing: Yeah, 1G lateral may not be too much, but getting slammed back and forth in the S turns can take a toll on a body.We were out for just under 20 minutes, and between the adrenaline and the physical aspects, that was just about right.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Automobiles ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-24 04:28:08.24474+00 by: igor'

Its so true. Amounts of physical and even more mental concentration required for racing are insane. I started doing martial arts as a way to increase both, after realizing that could last 10-15 minutes tops, before spacing out and slowing down/becoming dangerous to others. Haven't raced in a long time (a lot of time and $$ required), but fortunately the martial arts stuck.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-24 09:59:37.520425+00 by: radix

Wow! Sounds like a cool outing. After you go up the hill, there's a hairpin then a series of esses, right? That would be the sports car layout (I think NASCAR has a different layout when they race at Infineon.)

As to the physical, the kings were at it on Saturday. Audi's R15 won on it's inaugural race, the 12 hours of Sebring (which was incidentally the 100th race in ALMS history). Peugeot was close with their (also) turbodiesel, it should be an interesting season.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-24 12:25:58.662066+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

We were on the long track, except taking turn 9 rather than 9a, the spot that really felt like a hill (ie: where the 'Vette got stuck behind the cars that didn't have as much power) was that region between turns 1 and 3. There's a less steep climb between 6 and 7, but the MINIs could come out of 6 with enough speed that they didn't seem like they were slowing that much.

And it's funny, on the track that stretch between 6 and 7 just felt like a wide sweep, on the map and from the stands it looks more like a long straight.

On the time and money commitment: Yeah. Autocross takes less money, but you get a lot less actual driving time and there's a lot more waiting around.

#Comment Re: Motocross made: 2009-03-24 18:05:23.784298+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Wow, that's really cool, Dan! I've never been on a car racetrack; I've only experienced a small amount of autocross.

By comparison, I did do some motocross racing as a teenager, and back then it was one of the most strenuous activities one could do (consistently ranking with swimming, soccer, et al), but adding an element of speed and danger. Controlling a 200 pound motorcycle for 20-30 minutes through hundreds of upshifts and downshifts, through widely varying speeds, terrain, and weather conditions (all while competing against fellow riders) was quite an experience!

Fairly recently, the world's best, Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart side-by-side:

Jeff, on my Honda Elsinore (circa 1974):

There are big differences between the motocross tracks of today, versus those 30 years ago. And the apparel, too!

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-24 20:31:43.558227+00 by: Dan Lyke

Wusses, these days, with their carbon fiber and Kevlar...

Yeah, Jeff, when I was playing Ultimate which is generally played, unlike soccer, with zones which run the full length of the field, the prevailing wisdom was that aerobically Ultimate players bowed to no one except motocross riders.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-24 22:37:23.354758+00 by: jeff [edit history]

I never experienced gasping for breath in an aerobic sense, but after finishing a moto one would come off the track barely able to move certain body parts (e.g. open or close the fingers on your hands). That's why shifting was done mostly without the clutch (freeing-up the left hand). One had to keep focused using both hands firmly planted on the handlebars in order to keep the bike upright through all of the terrain changes. I was generally pretty beat-up after a race!

I was pretty darn good at frisbee in my day, and I'm surprised that I never got involved with Ultimate. I should have. It looks like a helluva lot of fun.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-24 23:03:24.313685+00 by: meuon

I'm jealous.. Wish I was/had been there.