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      10-06-2010, 09:43 PM   #1
MaxL
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What do you do when you think you lost the feel?

I had an amazing weekend at Circuit Mont Tremblant with BMW Quebec. I "got" the track right away, and after a session of riding in my instructor's car, I got our on the track and drove like never before. I passed 12-15 cars out of 26 in my run group, many faster and on better tires, which was something I did not expect for the first time at this track and my rather limited experience (just moved to the yellow or B group this year).

Anyway, my instructor and I both were surprised my that. Next day my first session was also good, although I was not pushing hard, but I was still faster than half of the cars. Then I went solo - same thing, doing great having fun, full throttle almost at every apex and good consistency.

But then last two afternoon sessions I hit a wall (not literally, thank god). First session, driving seemed the same, but it was SLOW. I was doing everything the same way i did before, but my laps were at least 5 seconds slower, consistently, and getting progressively worse by the end of the session. The next session, last of the day, I tried to take it easy and was much more gentle with controls, but the car was still sliding around and was not fast. I tried to be more aggressive - not helping, more smooth and gentle - not helping. It was like there was nothing I could do to get back the pace. The strange thing is that I was still mostly consistent, besides my intentional changes of driving style, and my line was still good. But I was really slow.

My instructor first thought that my tires were going away, then told me it was fatigue, but I did not feel tired and I was still driving the same line rather consistently.

Did anyone have something like that happen? I can stop beating myself up because of it. I mean, driving is not even that important for me, but I cannot stop thinking WTF happened there. The worst part is that I'll probably will not have a change to get back on a track till April :-( to convince myself it's not a permanent condition.
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      10-06-2010, 10:21 PM   #2
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Sounds like you killed your tires to me, or somebody oiled the track. The worst thing you can do is lose confidence. Confidence breeds competence.
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      10-06-2010, 10:40 PM   #3
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I had a similar experience this year at NJMP when it was 90F and "wicked" humidity. I was driving as well as I could for the first six sessions (4 on day one, 2 on day two) and then just completely lost the plot halfway through the 3rd session on Day Two. I just backed right off and work on a better line for the rest of the session, packed up and went home, missing the 4th session. I was making mistakes from being tired and dried out, so I just bagged it before I made an expensive mistake.
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      10-07-2010, 08:03 AM   #4
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I have had that happen lots of times where you just start going slower at the end of the day.I usually just start packing up as there is a not a lot be learned at that point and if you push to try to go quicker, you are more likely to make a mistake.It is pretty normal at most of the trackdays that I attend to see almost an empty track after 4.00pm after having a couple of hours tracktime already.
If you are running a street tire they can get slower all of a sudden during their life well before they are worn out.Most race series that run heavier cars that run a street based tires are shaved to 3 or 2/32's and fall off noticably after 1 or 2 sessions.When you are starting with a full tread tire they are well heat cycled well before the tread is at its best for dry traction.For all of us that have limited tire budgets it is a comprimise that we have to deal with!

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      10-07-2010, 09:21 AM   #5
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You're not alone. I can usually chalk-up my slower end-of-day lap times to one of the following:
1. tire fatigue or overheating - sometimes my tires get too hot and get slippery. Monitor your tire pressure constantly.
2. I'm driving too hard and aggressively - I'm overcompensating in steering and throttle input to make up for being tired and feeling slower. This is hard for me to detect but it's a downward cycle. I feel like because I'm putting "more" into my driving I should be going faster, but this is actually slowing me - for example, too much throttle, then too much brake, then too much throttle results in scrubbing off too much speed in my corner entries and exits. I'm constantly feeling like i need to make up time, and the cycle continues. Sometimes less is more on the track, really everywhere in life
3. Gearhead999's comment is very valuable: "I usually just start packing up as there is a not a lot be learned at that point and if you push to try to go quicker, you are more likely to make a mistake."
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      10-08-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R A W L S View Post
1. tire fatigue or overheating - sometimes my tires get too hot and get slippery. Monitor your tire pressure constantly.
I was checking tire pressures after each session and adjusting them before each session. As the day wore on and the ambient/track temps went up, I had to adjust quite a bit.

The OP is not saying if he did any of this - if he didn't, this is the most likely culprit IMO.
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      10-08-2010, 07:27 PM   #7
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Agree with all the posts before. Very good advice given BTW!

-> Tires definitely played a role... but driver fatigue must have compounded it... and by fatigue, we do not mean feeling sleepy, simply losing the focus.

OP, time for you to read "Inner Speed Secrets" from Ross Bentley and Ronn Langford
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      10-09-2010, 11:06 AM   #8
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Thanks for good advice everybody. I did check tire pressures after almost every session and kept the hot pressure constant throughout the day. But it did not help much, I guess - heat seems to have done something with the rubber, as the tires now are hard like plastic and started developing tiny cracks. Still have more than enough grip for street driving, but I'm replacing them with winters before next weekend.

I now realize I should have packed early - I've got my money's worth and some more, and there was nothing more to learn that day. I'm lucky learned this lesson cheaply (so there is value in internet forums after all )

Now reading Speed Secrets and making plans for the next season.
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      10-09-2010, 11:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxL View Post
Thanks for good advice everybody. I did check tire pressures after almost every session and kept the hot pressure constant throughout the day. But it did not help much, I guess - heat seems to have done something with the rubber, as the tires now are hard like plastic and started developing tiny cracks. Still have more than enough grip for street driving, but I'm replacing them with winters before next weekend.

I now realize I should have packed early - I've got my money's worth and some more, and there was nothing more to learn that day. I'm lucky learned this lesson cheaply (so there is value in internet forums after all )

Now reading Speed Secrets and making plans for the next season.
What tires where you running?
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      10-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #10
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PS2s that had a fair number of heat cycles in them already (9 track days, but only 3 in the dry)

It was supposed to rain both days, and the temp was only 3C in the morning, so I decided against AD08s. In the end, it did not rain on the second day, and the temp was up to 14C in the afternoon.
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      10-09-2010, 02:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxL View Post
PS2s that had a fair number of heat cycles in them already (9 track days, but only 3 in the dry)
"there's your problem right there" /plumber

Even if the track days are rainy you still get the tires hot if you have any kind of driving skill at all, and the heat cycles in the rain are actually just as severe as dry cycles because the temperature swings are just as big.
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      10-09-2010, 03:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
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"there's your problem right there" /plumber

Even if the track days are rainy you still get the tires hot if you have any kind of driving skill at all, and the heat cycles in the rain are actually just as severe as dry cycles because the temperature swings are just as big.
I agree that your tires are the root cause of your issues.PS2's in the rain do have very good grip in the rain and do build a fair bit of heat and will wear quite noticably even compared to the dry if you are pushing.I normally get 3-5 full days out of my tires before they are toast.
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      10-10-2010, 08:27 AM   #13
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I am surprised that your tires held up that well, given 9 days of track time. Reading your comments, I agree, tires and fatigue played a major role in your slow down. I normally do not run the last session of the day, particularly on the last day of an event. If I have two students, I may not run the last two sessions on the last day.

If you get new tires, I bet you return to simular results that you experienced earlier.
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      10-10-2010, 09:21 AM   #14
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I think all of the above are reasonable recommendations. What I do, particularly if you are at the end of 2 or more track days and things are winding down, particularly since the track is now much more open with fewer cars is take it down a bit.

I've found that if you just wind your effort back a couple of notches, focus more on car placement and precision (smooth, nice line, proper apex, check all corner stations and everything around you) you will find that you are able to consolidate your learning without stressing about not driving to the same level. This is not a bad idea at the end of day one either (especially if it's darned hot and your sick of standing in the sun waiting for your run group). Give it a try you'll feel better about your driving, rather than worrying about your time/speed/cars passed.
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      10-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #15
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I guess you've lost that "driving" feeling, heh? Get it?

A day at the track will cause mental fatigue. You don't necessarily feel physically tired, like running a marathon. But my brain is always drained.
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      10-14-2010, 08:39 AM   #16
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I guess you've lost that "driving" feeling, heh? Get it?
... oh oh that driving feeling, you've lost that driving feeling and now it's gone, gone, gone, oh oh ...

Sorry I couldn't resist.
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      11-02-2010, 06:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMPowerJ View Post
... oh oh that driving feeling, you've lost that driving feeling and now it's gone, gone, gone, oh oh ...

Sorry I couldn't resist.
LOL..... i thought the same thing.... good job Goose
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      11-05-2010, 08:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxL View Post
I had an amazing weekend at Circuit Mont Tremblant with BMW Quebec. I "got" the track right away, and after a session of riding in my instructor's car, I got our on the track and drove like never before. I passed 12-15 cars out of 26 in my run group, many faster and on better tires, which was something I did not expect for the first time at this track and my rather limited experience (just moved to the yellow or B group this year).

Anyway, my instructor and I both were surprised my that. Next day my first session was also good, although I was not pushing hard, but I was still faster than half of the cars. Then I went solo - same thing, doing great having fun, full throttle almost at every apex and good consistency.

But then last two afternoon sessions I hit a wall (not literally, thank god). First session, driving seemed the same, but it was SLOW. I was doing everything the same way i did before, but my laps were at least 5 seconds slower, consistently, and getting progressively worse by the end of the session. The next session, last of the day, I tried to take it easy and was much more gentle with controls, but the car was still sliding around and was not fast. I tried to be more aggressive - not helping, more smooth and gentle - not helping. It was like there was nothing I could do to get back the pace. The strange thing is that I was still mostly consistent, besides my intentional changes of driving style, and my line was still good. But I was really slow.

My instructor first thought that my tires were going away, then told me it was fatigue, but I did not feel tired and I was still driving the same line rather consistently.

Did anyone have something like that happen? I can stop beating myself up because of it. I mean, driving is not even that important for me, but I cannot stop thinking WTF happened there. The worst part is that I'll probably will not have a change to get back on a track till April :-( to convince myself it's not a permanent condition.
I think you're living in your head too much, try being the only girl out there with everyone passing you including a mini cooper, which was my experience the first time out. All I care about is technique, maybe you shouldn't concentrate so much on all those cars you are passing and instead see how clean your driving is. Now when I go back in the spring I will just assume last in line and focus instead on how I am improving on my turns, I really don't care where I am, just that I'm out there having fun. RELAX
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