Marc's Public Blog - Cars


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Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

Table of Content for cars:

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2009/10/24 Skip Barber 2 Day Advanced Racing School
π 2009-10-24 00:00 in Cars
After doing the 3 day racing school, it felt like I just got enough to get a taste and wanted more, so I did the 2 day advanced racing school.


you can see my gopro camera taped on my helmet
you can see my gopro camera taped on my helmet

Unfortunately, I was sick all week just before the event, and while I was better the day of, I wasn't at my top. Adding to that that I didn't sleep well either the night after, day 2 wasn't much better: I had to dope myself up with energy drinks.
It mostly worked, but I did have some moments of brain fade, which isn't so good when you're driving a racecar. Not counting 3 spins including 2 track outs in 2 days (vs 0 on my 3 day school), I also almost rear ended an instructor because I kind of forgot to brake in 11... In the end, no harm done, but it wasn't stellar.

This gave for some somewhat more fun videos.

We also had some freak fog during saturday afternoon, to the point where I had to slow down and wipe my helmet visor to see anything. The video above shows some of this.



Anyway, back to the class: it was kind of the same format than the 3 day class, just faster. We got a quick intro/refresher on the cars and spent the morning autocrossing to refresh our memories with heel and toe shifting and oversteer control.


not much room between the brake and the gas
not much room between the brake and the gas

This time I brought old shoes where I had cut off the sides so that my wide feet did not push on the gas while I was trying to brake :)

Here's a short video showing the exciting parts of the autocross:

The rest of the time was spent on the track. Putting aside that I managed to spin out on the very first turn of the very first lap (triple doh!), the first day was mostly to practise threshold braking and the line, following an instructor. We got feedback from instructors standing at a few turns after each session. They were standing at vantage points like this one:





On the second day, we did some practise starts for those who were going to come back to race, and then we got 3 sessions where we got to follow instructors in race cars or where the instructors were following us. I did reasonably well within my group, getting only passed by one guy who was in the race series and just signed up for some track time, and the instructors of course who could lap all of us :)
That said, even if I got my laptimes below 1:50, I just wasn't consistent and by the one session before last I finally had an instructor who had time to follow me and give me some disturbing feedback on how I was basically doing it all wrong and being slow in the wrong places in turns. Also, I had some brain fades where I would just score a bad lap, forget to brake in time at 11, or spin in 5 (twice each :-/).
By the very last session, I had my time down in the 1:48's with a single lap at 1:47, strangely when I actually passed 2 cars in the process (meaning most likely 1:46 had it been clean track), and to celebrate I managed to spin out in turn 5 at the next lap :-/ .

In some ways I'm a bit disappointed with my performance since I got faster but not in the right ways, and either I was too tired/sick to be more consistent, or I'm just not good enough to be consistent like real racers... The other problem is that it took a while for the instructors to have the time to follow me around the track and give me feedback and by the time I got it (one session from the end, it was a bit late to improve all that much. That was disappointing too...

At least I got some good videos with the gopro camera on my helmet and used the opportunity to sample video editting software on linux and found that kdenlive is actually fairly decent and easy to use for piecing up video clips from multiple source and pasting them together with simple effects, which is really all I need.

Below are a few results of that work (and piecing video together actually takes way too much work, not counting that I had close to 3H of raw footage :) ).

By the way, the realism of iRacing is pretty impressive, although either the computer drivers are top notch, or the simulation is a bit over optimistic on speed, brakes, and/or tire grip. The video is worth watching just for the virtual rendition of the car and the track though:

While I was there, I also got Jennifer signed up for the 2 day car control clinic, and it worked out pretty well for her. She learned to drive more at the limit, where she wasn't comfortable being at all, how to countersteer, brake and turn at the right amount and in the right order :)
She did quite well during the 2 days and enjoyed them.



Also, I took my minimag RC plane and took some shots of the track from the sky, as per the Minimag RC Overfly of Laguna Seca post.


2009/10/24 Minimag overfly and pictures of Laguna Seca
π 2009-10-24 00:00 in Cars, Rc
I took my minimag to Laguna to take some shots like I did at Thunderhill recently.
Unfortunately I didn't have the time during lunchtime so the sun was lower and showing in some shots.

Laguna was also harder to get because of how much bigger it is compared to Thunderhill where I can mostly overfly the whole track while being in a couple of spots. Laguna has much more track that just isn't visible from the paddocks. So, I ended up driving around the track (not on) and finding other vantage points that had better visibility. This mostly worked, except my 200+ shots taken around the corkscrew: I had a great vantage point, but my camera got knocked out of angle during a tough takeoff and all my shots were unusable :(

Anyway, here are a few of the good shots, and you'll find more in the link below










2009/10/16 TEAM event at Thunderhill
π 2009-10-16 00:00 in Cars
Timing didn't quite work out here, I got mildly sick the day prior to the event. After a good night of rest, I thought I'd be ok enough the day of, but that turned out not to be quite the fact.

Anyway, I went to bed early the night prior and got up around 5:45 for my flight to Willows.
Said flight there was mildly interesting due to a presidential flight restriction and special flight rules, but it was otherwise a nice flight up with sunrise.



My buddy John from BAMO had taken the car up, and I was able to do 3 sessions in the morning before deciding that I just didn't quite feel right while driving. At the same time I had managed to forget my spare pads at home anyway and I really didn't have brakes for much more than those 3 sessions either way.

nice hood
nice hood

My tech crew, thanks John :)
My tech crew, thanks John :)

keeping close track of my brake pads
keeping close track of my brake pads

It just felt like a wise choice to call it quits while I was ahead, and I just went back home around lunchtime and ended up putting in a mostly full day's worth of work.

I got a couple of laps where I set my GoPro to take a picture every 2 seconds. If you wanted to see all of them somehow, see the picture library below, but here are a few samples


It just feels wrong to take 12-13 through the 'straighter line'
It just feels wrong to take 12-13 through the 'straighter line'

turn 4-5
turn 4-5

The video of my 3 sessions are below:




Flight home was nice and quick. I was actually back at work by 13:15-ish.



See more images for TEAM event at Thunderhill

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