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      08-20-2009, 10:11 AM   #51
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Drives: E92 M3 - DCT
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

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Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Yes, your instructor will try to slow you down to introduce all that in a safe manner, so if you just listen to him/her, the chances of you putting it into the wall without traction control will be decreased early on, but realistically speaking, how many beginners actually are in a position to "get" that during their initial track days? I will confess that I didn't when I started. It's not as if I was mashing the throttle coming out of every turn or yanking on the wheel or anything, but I still didn't get the nuances of what they were trying to say--in retrospect, I was driving faster than I should have--and I am glad that MDM was available to me at that time, especially in an expensive high powered car. An intermediate driver should get it, and behave and make choices accordingly, and this should be a non-issue for an advanced driver.
Then I'd say you just didn't have very good instructors early on. In the 10 years I've been a high-performance driving instructor, I have never had a student hit a wall or barrier, but that's not to say they didn't get it. They got it eventually, when I felt they were ready. Some of them went on to be successful racers too.

I was actually advocating getting a fully caged race car for drivers who are in the process of picking up and practicing advanced skills--mainly for safety reasons. Obviously, you should still be mindful of the amount of risk you are taking, but, by definition, there is more risk/experimentation involved in practicing some of the advanced skills and driving faster. Your "limit" should be going up as you learn and you should obviously never intentionally exceed it (not to mention the car's limit), but you should drive somewhat close to it or you will not learn how to go faster--if that is your goal. And, sometimes that is what happens for you to really understand where it is (otherwise, there would never be any accidents, incidents, spins, run offs, etc. on the track in advanced groups--excluding pure stupidity).

However, you, as a long time instructor, have a much deeper understanding of how students behave in general, so I'd defer to your opinion if you disagree about that part of what I said. Cheers.
Like I said in my response, a fully caged car is a good idea, but not for everyone. Many are barely able to afford the nice cars they have and cannot even entertain the thought of buyig another toy to learn in at the track. So I say, go have fun in your fast high$ ride on the track if that will make life more pleasureable... but be precautious about it. That's why I believe in classroom instruction as well as on-track instruction. Good drivers don't go off track unless something unpredictable happens (a tire punctures, suspension arm breaks, coolant hose on car ahead bursts, etc.). They need o know how to react, which can be taught in a classromm, and then by doing (at slow speeds). When I raced Spec Miata, Id go to my local track during an "off" day and run laps at 10/10ths all day long without ever putting more than a wheel off. It's what test drivers do. There's no better way to quantify the effects of a change (tire brand, tire pressure, alignment setting, etc.). It's important for an instructor to be able to discern whether or not a student has natural ability. I've been with a few who I knew would NEVR get it, and would never be able to drive their cars anywhere near the limit. However, they had a blast going as fast as they did, and that's what it's all about... having fun. That holds true even for racing schools. If somebody signs up for a racing school and isn't having fun, then they should just make the best of it and go back to doing what they were doing before. But this thread sin't about racing schools, it's simply about how much fun one can have with their track-worthy M cars without taking too much risk. How close they can drive to the limit isnt' as important as how much fun they having. if an instructor tells a student to do deeper, brake later, carry more speed here and there, and the student gets nervous, then the instructor isn't doing his job properly. The student needs to be having fun, and that pays dividends when he signs up for another event

Mmmm... M&Ms,