Sunday, August 14, 2011

[8/12/2011] HANSON School (DDT)

Event: HANSON International Driving School
Track: Mosport DDT - Brandt Circuit
Weather Conditions: 17-22°C Sunny

Took Friday off to enjoy a day of instruction at Mosport DDT with HANSON International Advanced Driving School. Great weather and a good chance for me to work on my driving and ask the instructors some questions.

This time I had a few friends going with me... my brother Jordan in his Ralliart, my neighbour Rick and his RX-8, Jeff in his Corolla, and Ryan in his E350. A few other people signed up through TSC and it was great to see them out there too! Always happy to see more Suby's at the track. Please chime in on your experiences if you happen to stumble across my ramblings :)

The things I came to practice were:
- Driving more relaxed, especially in the arms. I noticed in many of my videos that I have a deathgrip on the steering wheel.
- Squeezing the brakes and building up to a strong threshold braking rather than just slamming on them
- Getting more comfortable with trail braking/braking while turning and using up ALL of the tire's grip
- Taking a smoother line and not scrubbing speed off the tires as much

For the classroom part I was a keener and asked a couple questions to Derek Hanson, the head instructor:

Q: Left-foot braking, is it necessary to be good in road racing?
A: No. Left-foot braking is mainly used in cars without a clutch (formula cars) or in rally to get the back end to rotate while keeping the throttle pinned. For road racing that's not necessary. Your left foot will never be as sensitive as your right foot, so you will always be giving up some feedback by using LFB and the gains are not worth it.

Q: What about LFB for turbo cars to keep the turbo spooled?
A: Still no. Just apply throttle earlier to compensate. Turbo lag these days isn't what it used to be.

Q: Should we be double clutching?
A: No. You don't need to because the synchro's take care of all the work now.

Q: I've heard of many different ways to hold the steering wheel. One way is to hold it at 9-3 and twist your arms around while turning. The other way is to still hold it 9-3 but to shuffle your hand position while turning so that it's always at 9-3. Which is correct?
A: It depends on what kind of turn it is. Steering technique shouldn't just be isolated to one type of technique. It should be dynamic. Do what's comfortable and what you think makes sense for the turn. Sometimes you need to shuffle your hands. Never get caught twisted up, that's the worst thing that can happen.

During skid pad practice I couldn't manage to break the rear tires loose. I didn't want to e-brake it because of the risk of center diff. damage and I didn't feel like playing with tire pressures so all I did was up the rear dampers to max stiffness. It still wouldn't come loose though... From what I was told, my car was tri-podding. One thing I forgot to try was the Scandinavian Flick, like I did in the April school. Oh well!

Immediately after skid pad practice was a lapping session for my group. I managed to find a shortcut through the course because I forgot to set my rear damper settings back to normal ...

End result was a broken lip. Thankfully no mechanical damage. The lip was on it's way out anyway so this is an excuse for me to get a fresh one :)

In the morning I lapped with my instructor, Randy, same guy from the first school. I guess I improved a lot since the first school because he wasn't commenting much on my driving. He later signed me off to lap on my own in the afternoon. He said my driving improved a lot and asked me if my goal was to compete. I was flattered! Here are the highlights from my afternoon lapping... a battle with a Ferrari F430 and Lotus Elise