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Getting comfortable being uncomfortable. How did/do you do it?

I feel the one thing holding me back right now in my driving is "not being comfortable being uncomfortable."

It's like I have this illogical thought in the moment that grip will be lost instantly and I'll go spinning off the track as I feel the G forces increase.

I know it doesnt happen like that, but I'm finding it difficult to overcome it completely.

I've actually improved some via mental priming and maybe I just need more practice.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who has experienced this...how did others break through that plateau?

For reference.



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TMSBOSS

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By finding a competent instructor and listening to their advice, then slowly push limits. If your car pushes, oversteers a bit you then know when to back off, just a bit. Adequate run off areas at your track are also key. Make mistakes.....in moderation.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Make mistakes ....in moderation, what a great sentence. You do have to be willing to push the limits to find said, but you can do it in a logical manner. Attempting to find the sweet spot on a dangerous track is silly , but when there is adequate run off that should be the place to test your metal.

Another aspect is the tires you run, as some telegraph the situation much more than others? I think even experienced drivers continue to test the limits , as they can change from track to track depending on the surface, the tires on the car, the wear on the tires, temperature , etc. So working to find the point you will push the envelope can be ongoing , and being uncomfortable eventually will just become finding your skill level's comfort zone. Seat time raises the level , so just keep running the course and it will come!
 
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I’m in the same boat as you. What I do is watch a car with the same tires I’m running and if they can do it I can do it. Or I know my car is capable of doing it.
What I do is find a later braking point, (slowly, pun intended). Then try to carry a little more corner speed just until it’s uncomfortable. Then when I’m comfortable, I go just a bit more to the next uncomfortable spot. BUT.... I make sure I’m on my same line. Once I get to a point I’m happy with I work on being consistent.

I hope that helps.
 

domesticpower

Track Addict
190
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Bill hit the nail on the head when he said some tires are better than others. I've seen someone spin a stock power WRX STI into a tire wall on slicks. Not to scare you, but it's important to learn the limits on a forgiving tire that chats near or at the limit. I heard some tire squeal in the video which means you must be running a more friendly tire so that's a good start (and you must be very close to or at the limit, so you're already there in some corners!).

Like others said, you'll have to find the limit at some point to be comfortable driving at or close to it so make sure to push the car on a corner with a lot of runoff. It seems like you have a few of those at your track (and one where you exit right next to a concrete wall, that would be a bad corner!). Maybe go to a driving school that offers a skidpad so you can safely spin the car in a controlled environment and feel what that's like and how the car feels right up to that point.
 
Usually the greatest bang for the buck once you feel you've reached a plateau is utilizing data analytics via an AimSolo or similar, and hiring a qualified coach to interpret the data. For me, being able to see in black and white where I am losing time compared to a driver who knows how to maximize the car's potential near the limit is invaluable. The most common areas where intermediate drivers lose time is usually braking too hard and mid-corner speed, which I think may directly relate to you feeling "uncomfortable." It may be that when you can see in the data that you can brake less or later, or yes, the grip is there for a few MPH more in that high-speed sweeper, then you will feel more comfortable.
Another consideration is how confident you are in your car control skills. I am uncomfortable with the fact that I am carrying much more speed in my GT350 than any other car I have driven, and if I make an error or something goes wrong (flat tire, contact, fluid on the track engine failure, etc.) do I have the feel to recover the car before I lose control? Based on a racing incident I was involved in a couple of years ago, I had to conclude the answer was no.
My solution to hopefully become better at this is to do some ice driving (there is an ice driving school in Steamboat Springs, CO. but it is expensive) and practice some car control skills in lower-powered momentum cars that are more forgiving.
 
Usually the greatest bang for the buck once you feel you've reached a plateau is utilizing data analytics via an AimSolo or similar, and hiring a qualified coach to interpret the data. For me, being able to see in black and white where I am losing time compared to a driver who knows how to maximize the car's potential near the limit is invaluable. The most common areas where intermediate drivers lose time is usually braking too hard and mid-corner speed, which I think may directly relate to you feeling "uncomfortable." It may be that when you can see in the data that you can brake less or later, or yes, the grip is there for a few MPH more in that high-speed sweeper, then you will feel more comfortable.
Another consideration is how confident you are in your car control skills. I am uncomfortable with the fact that I am carrying much more speed in my GT350 than any other car I have driven, and if I make an error or something goes wrong (flat tire, contact, fluid on the track engine failure, etc.) do I have the feel to recover the car before I lose control? Based on a racing incident I was involved in a couple of years ago, I had to conclude the answer was no.
My solution to hopefully become better at this is to do some ice driving (there is an ice driving school in Steamboat Springs, CO. but it is expensive) and practice some car control skills in lower-powered momentum cars that are more forgiving.
I'm actually not braking hard enough or quick enough (braking too early and dragging it out).

The biggest limit is dealing with G forces in fast sweepers.

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Mad Hatter

Gotta go Faster
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Racers 360 service has been better for me then a track instructor..... Its hard to get instructions when your are pushing to the next plateau (there are many!!) on the track. Watching a video break down of your driving and being able to rewind half a dozen times helps us old folks....

I thought I was late breaking fine till I had a couple of videos reviewed. That was a real eye opener!
 

JDee

Ancient Racer
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My solution to hopefully become better at this is to do some ice driving (there is an ice driving school in Steamboat Springs, CO. but it is expensive) and practice some car control skills in lower-powered momentum cars that are more forgiving.

Not sure this will help. The grip level on ice is so far removed from what you experience on pavement with our cars that I can't see it being of much value.

I've driven on ice all my life and raced on it successfully, both with and without studs. In rubber to ice classes I doubt if we would even see .4 of a G lateral. Yes, .4, and even less than that longitudinal, except under some really weird circumstances (like the ice melted and we were racing on mud!).

There is so little grip on pure ice without studs that you don't really even feel the loads (other than when you slam into another car, which happens a couple of times a lap). Things happen so slowly that we used to call it waltzing with cars. In stud classes I would equate the grip to about what you would feel on gravel. They tend to limit the stud count up here as it's so hard to keep a track functional with a lot of studs, they just eat through the ice in no time.

Race craft is race craft no matter the speed, but I found few of the lessons learned in ice racing to be of any value in pavement racing vis a vis vehicle dynamics on pavement. Not saying don't try it, it is a huge laugh, but I wouldn't expect it to be a lot of help.
 
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One thing that helped me was having an ibstructor or a friend who is a good driver take you out for a ride in yiur car. They can find the limit of you car/ tires etc in half a lap! Seriously. Pro drivers will he able ti take your car to the limit and you can then feel just what Your car is capable of. Then you know where the limit is and you can would on pushing it.

I always say "smooth is fast". If you can smoothly transition the weight of your car from fully loaded on the right to fully loaded on the left in a smooth fashion, quickly, you will cut lap times down fast. Once you find that limit, you can push past it a tiny bit and just saw the wheel a tiny bit to catch it, you will gain that confidence. Find a good safe corner and work on that "sawing" technique. You WILL go past the limit of grip. It happens to EVERYONE eventually. Due to track conditions, tires going away, driver error etc. Knowing how to catch it is the key. If you have that confidence, you will then be able to push all the corners, Knowing that you can catch it once you do find the limit (or over shot it a tiny bit)


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All of these are spot on suggestions and advice for sure, seat time is really really really critical to progress your confidence! I have always suggested learning the physics of driving the track whether racing or track days, the book below is a great reference tool while your at home pondering your next trip to the track! It helps with the why's and how's things work with not just your car but any car - the more you understand will help your confidence, read it, learn it and try the techniques on your next outing!

https://www.amazon.com/Faster-Mastering-Driving-Barber-Paperback/dp/B00QORBUN4
 
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Well as Mario Andretti famously said, if everything feels under control you’re not going fast enough.

I went to an awesome seminar on this subject a while back with a well known racer and coach. He made a ton of great points throughout the day but the basic gist of it was that driving fast and well at the limit is like any other sport, it’s about being in the zone. And getting comfortable at the limit and in the zone is more about visualization and feel than analytics and video. He said those things definitely have their place too but that wasn’t his main focus.

So he spoke about incrementally being more aggressive with particular corners and really focusing on one particular sense at a time, and even taking notes afterwards about what something felt, sounded, or looked like. Then try it a little different or slightly faster and write notes again. All about gaining sensory info.

He was way, way into visualization. Not video. Driving a lap with your eyes closed. How close can you come to your actual recorded lap without opening your eyes? What does it feel sound and look like in your mind? Now do the same thing but 1 second faster.

He did not advocate driving crazy or reckless but he did suggest driving a little messy, in incremental steps, really focusing on visualization and fixating on what your senses are telling you along the way.

One more thing, he said the biggest difference maker by far is corner entry. Really using 100 percent of available grip all the way through that transition is the hardest. Mid corner and exit he said people tend to be much better at using all available grip and driving at the limit.

Sorry for the long winded post, obviously I enjoyed the seminar I was really geeking out on it lol.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Stevbd......

Great info and I have often stressed to newcomers to find out where the local autocrosses are being run? Running an essentially shortened road course, where visualization and rapid mental adjustments must be made , not only help one find the edge at lower speeds ,it helps when on an actual road course to concentrate, almost in slow motion. Looking ahead, visualization, hitting your apexes , become easier and often your awareness of the car's limits are easy to digest at a slower time of occurrence? Most autocrossers learn to visualize since the track is run with no practice, only a walk through and this technique carries over to the race track with major benefits , imho.
 
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