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Chronic bad driving habit

Old 04-23-04, 11:39 PM
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Chronic bad driving habit

Trail braking!!

I can't stop from riding my brakes lightly during the first half of a turn. This is why I'm so slow in my FC at autocrosses. I've got my line downand run clean when I don't spin out, but my turning technique is all FWD and no FC. I either enter way too slow or enter nice and fast and trail brake, fearing a push out of the turn but getting a spin instead.

When I randomly forgot to ride the brake one day during a tight turn in my FC, the car stuck to the highway like a magnet and impressed the **** out of me. It is actually very balanced and has no understeer except on turn entry. But I always get this acute fear of the car pushing right out of the turn if I don't ride the brakes (10 years of driving VWs and an Integra is lurking in my subconscious). This causes me to either enter turns much slower than I should or causes me to spin out in turns when I think I am entering too fast (even when the car can easily take the speed if driven correctly).

So what should I do? Should I talk myself through some slow turns with correct technique? My FC is actually a tad heavier in back than front and has a thicker than stock anti-sway bar in back with the stock one in front, so it is very neutral if not slightly tail-happy. I can't drive such a neutral car!

I took a ride with turbojeff at last weekend's autocross in Wingsfan's V8 FD and it scared the **** out of me, but he never lost control and NEVER rode the brakes when turning, just hit the brakes very hard for about a half a second before turn entry and started turning while the nose of the car started coming up after brake release.

I tried copying that technique and realized that the car is much faster through turns than I thought it could be. So I suck, and I can't stop driving as if I am in a nose heavy FWD turn pusher. Race pros, help me!
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Old 04-24-04, 05:54 PM
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You already know what's wrong, you just have to make yourself do it. There's no other way around it. You've explained it's a driving error so there's nothing you can do but make the driver stop!

I love driving different cars because you have to pay attention and give it what it wants, not what a different car wanted. Drive the car the way it wants to be driven and it will go faster than if you're trying to make it do something it doesn't want to do.

It's always safer to enter slower. If you enter too slow you realize it and can speed the car up. If you enter too fast there's nothing you can do but sit there like an idiot and wait for the speed to scrub off before turning the car in the rest of the way. Too fast will always hurt you more than too slow.

Your ride with turbojeff probably scared you because you are still making some big driving mistakes. When you are driving correctly yourself you never get scared riding in a really fast car, you just grin from ear to ear
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Old 04-24-04, 09:24 PM
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i use trail braking to get the end out, sometimes its more fun that way
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Old 04-24-04, 10:08 PM
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Originally posted by Turbo23
i use trail braking to get the end out, sometimes its more fun that way
Does this stress your brakes more?
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Old 04-24-04, 11:18 PM
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It stresses the paint on the side of my car where the cones (4 or 5 at a time) always hit it after I trail brake.
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Old 04-26-04, 05:50 PM
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yes it will wear the brakes out alittle more
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Old 04-26-04, 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by Turbo23
yes it will wear the brakes out alittle more
Not so much brakes but rotors? Enough to crack emm.
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Old 04-26-04, 09:37 PM
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Your problem is simple and you can over come it by changing one simple thing that your doing wrong. It has nothing to do with your breaking. Your looking in the wrong spot. Look further up the course, like where you will be in 3-4 seconds and you will find yourself getting on the gas sooner and preparing for the next turn not the turn your already in. Which means getting on the gas. Keep your eyes up. You should have your rotation done before the apex anyway. A good trail brake should rotate you into the turn not through it. The throttle takes you the rest of the way.
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Old 04-26-04, 10:45 PM
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I started out in autocross before moving over to mostly track events. Autox is all about being able to walk the course and go out and drive it at close to 10/10s the first time - which I never got very good at. Spending all day out in the heat just to get 4 minutes of seat time, even once a month, was just not enough to burn the right sensations into muscle memory. On the other hand, if you can get onto a track for an HPDE, you'll get 2 hours a day, 2 days in a row that will allow you to "sneak up" on a turn gradually, and try things out different things, like left foor breaking, trailbraking, etc. in a way that is very hard to achieve in autox. In general, the best way to break a bad habit is not to just tell yourself not to do it, but to replace it with a good habit. I bet if you can spend some time on the track, your driving will improve quickly.
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Old 04-27-04, 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by macdaddy
I started out in autocross before moving over to mostly track events. Autox is all about being able to walk the course and go out and drive it at close to 10/10s the first time - which I never got very good at. Spending all day out in the heat just to get 4 minutes of seat time, even once a month, was just not enough to burn the right sensations into muscle memory. On the other hand, if you can get onto a track for an HPDE, you'll get 2 hours a day, 2 days in a row that will allow you to "sneak up" on a turn gradually, and try things out different things, like left foor breaking, trailbraking, etc. in a way that is very hard to achieve in autox. In general, the best way to break a bad habit is not to just tell yourself not to do it, but to replace it with a good habit. I bet if you can spend some time on the track, your driving will improve quickly.
yeah, having relatively long track time was/is great for me because i was/am able to get the car to the limits, and once you know how the limit feels, you just duplicate that feeling
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Old 04-29-04, 06:55 AM
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I am no expert and giving tips, but what help me a lot, is to imitate the v8 class drivers. I find that placing my left foot on the brake (but not depressing the brakes) gives that extra bit of confidence to keep accelrating etc... If things do go too fast you can just apply the brake, without lifting off the throttle too much. Obviously if you are braking hard and shifting gear the normal method is still best.

practice whatever works for you.
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Old 04-29-04, 12:44 PM
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Left foot braking is an advanced driving technique useful for rotating the car when you are not down-shifting in a corner, or when you just want to help transfer a little weight to the front tires to help them bite for a turn, while still keeping the throttle open to keep the turbos spinning. This is considered an advanced technique because it requires a fair bit of practice to become as adept at modulating the brake pedal with your left foot as you are now with your right foot. Just having your foot "on, but not depressing" the brake pedal is not a habit I would want to encourage - you will be unnecessarily increasing wear and generating heat in your braking system.
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Old 04-29-04, 03:06 PM
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Put on your Nike's, and "just do it". You know what the problem is, so you are already most of the way there.
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Old 05-02-04, 04:24 PM
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Thanks a lot for the tips, everyone. The one thing that helped me the most was the comment about not looking far enough up the road when entering a turn. I started observing where I look when entering the turn and it is usually straight ahead, not up along it.

The FC is a sweet handler when braking is only used to counter its turn-entry understeer and it is allowed to glide through a turn undisturbed by brake or power.
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