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GerardWon
Master Racer



Joined: May 10, 2011
Posts: 46
Location: NYC Area

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:46 pm Reply with quote Back to top

So why do we do it? Why do we race?

A famous racer once wrote that it is a shelfish sport. True that!

My poor wife cleans the house relentlessly to cope with her fears when I'm heading out for a race weekend. A couple of years back she saw me driving sideways down a local parkway in the rain and was in tears when I got home. Sorry its' what I do. It's what I've always done. god only knows why; I really don't. Senna once said that 'the minute you sit in a racing car you know you are risking your life'. Truer words were never spoken.

My best memory of my first racing school; the first time I drove a proper race car is loneliness: you are utterly alone out there; you have no freinds.

So, it's a sport I love and also one that has bitter memories; like my heros being killed.

Pocono 1993 I'm racing for the championship in FF. It was a long FF race -- a 25 lapper. I was on pole for this race and the man to beat that year.
I come up to lap a slower car it was lap 23 and I'd been driving with snot in my mouth for 7 laps (gross but true). I'd managed to pull out about a 1 second gap to my nearest competitor I was leading. The lapped car spins in front of me on a fast (flat out 3rd gear corner) and it's 50/50 (when you race you put every thing into a percentage--your odds of making it). Anyway I kept my foot in it and this dude does what I was hoping for -- unlocks his brakes as I'm fying flat out at towards the side of his car: and therefore goes backwards out of the racing line and clear. if he didn't do that I'd have hit him broadside at triple digit speed and possibly killed him. We both would have taken an ambulance ride in any event.

After I won the race everyone was coming up to me and shaking my hand, clapping me on the back: a hero's welcome. Everyone except his wife -- she came up to me and never said a word. She just looked at me in a way I'll never forget -- like I was a nothing, a real shit. I'll never forget that look.

Was I wrong to do what I did? I mean that's racing: but when my kid tells me she wants to race -- that look is one of the reasons I tell her no.
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ellaboswell
Member
Member



Joined: Apr 29, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:05 am Reply with quote Back to top

Teens will navigate through the course under extreme conditions, like distracted driving and hydroplaning. The basic aim of the program is to help build the basic driving skills before sending out teens on their own
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GerardWon
Master Racer



Joined: May 10, 2011
Posts: 46
Location: NYC Area

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:37 am Reply with quote Back to top

ellaboswell wrote:
Teens will navigate through the course under extreme conditions, like distracted driving and hydroplaning. The basic aim of the program is to help build the basic driving skills before sending out teens on their own


Sounds like an xrummer bot to me.
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myownworld
Site Admin
Site Admin



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:20 pm Reply with quote Back to top

This was an amazing post Gerard. Really. Smile

I have always watched Formula One with fascination; while the sport itself thrills the spectators (not just the racers!) I wonder always about the enormous risks involved. Esp. when one sees one of those deadly crashes.

Unlike other sports, in racing you already know that one false move could cost you not only your own life, but that of someone else too. And that must mean such a lot of pressure for the drivers!

My hair stood on it's ends as I read your story... I don't know how you do it - I guess you must know it in your bones that this is what you were meant for - but I have a lot of respect for people like you!
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Astraist
Master Driver



Joined: Mar 27, 2010
Posts: 209

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:08 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Gerard,

The question of whether what you did was right or not is one that can only be answered by yourself. Personally, I find that motorsport has lost some of it's competitive nature over the last decade or so, and bold moves like your own are becoming more rare and that's a shame, but it's also a sport and sportmenship should be maintained too, but without being in the cockipt at the moment of truth this is just semantics.

Your post also illustrates what we both know about the subject of how these kind of events are "burned" into our memory. However, if you want to know in retrospect whether your moves were correct, than the best suggestion is to mention a "driving diary", on-board videos and telemety, as I always insist when giving a trainer's input to others.

As to the question of risks in modern motorsport: Rally, Rally-Raid, Formula and Saloon racing -- has all increased dramatically over the last decade, as it has with road cars too. The cars have been limited, tracks were changed or removed from single-seater chapmionships (the Nürburgring being the best example) and passive safety instrumentation has improved too. I fondly remember the famous track of Paul Richard (formerly the location of the prestigious racing school of Elf Windfield) where special abrasive surfaces colored in blue and red- which replaced the sand traps that hook cars and the amrco is also specially designed.

The Nürburgring is perhaps the very opposite and I always stress that it's a public road and not a racetrack. This should be added to an endless list of winding mountain roads around Europe (and, thankfully enough, two or three such roads in my own country, one near Jerusalem and one coming down to the dead sea) -- which skilled drivers use as if they were "open" circuits -- applying principles of performance driving and driving at a high speed - but still maintaining a constant, large "reserve."

At an actual race, there are no bad moves, there are uncalculated ones. A race car driver does not innovate while driving, he executes a plan which is generally pre-determind (based on the known driving line and planning far ahead). The problem is with slight overdoing (or underdoing!) of those moves. The race car is being pushed to it's utter limits, and the conditions of the track are being exploited to their fullest. As a result, an degree too much of steering or an inch too much of throttle or brakes will be enough to bring it over the edge and slide.

Due to the conditions I stated above, with addition to the callibration of race cars (especially single seaters) the cars let go at once and slide in a completly uncontrolable matter, regardless of driving skills. The observer could watch a race, divide the driving into segments which commence with a certain input of steering, brakes or throttle -- from which point the driver is now "committed" to the corner, braking manuever or attempt of overtake. Racing is an intelectual discussion between the car and driver, on the subject of the road ahead. It's not a monolouge, the driver is not in full control!

A name which I brought up in previous occasions: Re'm Samuel, was a rally driver in France in the 90's (and the first diabetic race driver in history!). In 2005, he attempted to repeat his success and drove in the Rally du-Var (Still the Final stage of the French Rally Championship). At one fast kink over the narrow mountain road, he encountered a crest which he drove over too hard, and started to slide. Perhaps his words will better portray the feeling:

Quote:

The co-driver calls out a "4+ left" which means a very fast left-hand sweeper that I generally approach in fifth gear with light-moderate throttle at a speed of 120-140km/ph. I do not know the exact speed, as the speedometer is disconnected, because I am afraid to know my exact speed. I am roughly 12km from the finish line of the stage (one out of 33). This is the highest crest in the race. To the right -- an abyss in the depth of some hundreds of meters to the left is the mountain, a distance of two car-widths.

[...]I approach the bend according the pace notes really, cut the corner. I was out of line, the overcrest renders the car momentarily airborne for one or two-milliseconds or so , enough to initiate an aggressive slide of the car's rear axle...

I find myself gazing at the concrete wall made of big rocks and set in concrete, as it nears the co-drivers door at a speed of over 100km per hour. In this speed, the hit is fatal. I give the car a burst of throttle to pull it back towards the center of the road. The rail tugs the back of the car. I am out of control and take the only course of action that could save me, just like we teach [...] to perform in an emergency, just like this one. I go hard for the brakes, lockup all wheels and...prey.

I see the mountain-side brushing by at the 1000 Wat of my racing headlights. I near the Rockey wall and the car rubs against it, ripping the remaining six headlights from the car. It than goes on to complete a full spin and stops against the direction of travel.
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:52 pm Reply with quote Back to top

GerardWon wrote:
So why do we do it? Why do we race?

A famous racer once wrote that it is a shelfish sport. True that!

My poor wife cleans the house relentlessly to cope with her fears when I'm heading out for a race weekend. A couple of years back she saw me driving sideways down a local parkway in the rain and was in tears when I got home. Sorry its' what I do. It's what I've always done. god only knows why; I really don't. Senna once said that 'the minute you sit in a racing car you know you are risking your life'. Truer words were never spoken.

My best memory of my first racing school; the first time I drove a proper race car is loneliness: you are utterly alone out there; you have no freinds.

So, it's a sport I love and also one that has bitter memories; like my heros being killed.

Pocono 1993 I'm racing for the championship in FF. It was a long FF race -- a 25 lapper. I was on pole for this race and the man to beat that year.
I come up to lap a slower car it was lap 23 and I'd been driving with snot in my mouth for 7 laps (gross but true). I'd managed to pull out about a 1 second gap to my nearest competitor I was leading. The lapped car spins in front of me on a fast (flat out 3rd gear corner) and it's 50/50 (when you race you put every thing into a percentage--your odds of making it). Anyway I kept my foot in it and this dude does what I was hoping for -- unlocks his brakes as I'm fying flat out at towards the side of his car: and therefore goes backwards out of the racing line and clear. if he didn't do that I'd have hit him broadside at triple digit speed and possibly killed him. We both would have taken an ambulance ride in any event.

After I won the race everyone was coming up to me and shaking my hand, clapping me on the back: a hero's welcome. Everyone except his wife -- she came up to me and never said a word. She just looked at me in a way I'll never forget -- like I was a nothing, a real shit. I'll never forget that look.

Was I wrong to do what I did? I mean that's racing: but when my kid tells me she wants to race -- that look is one of the reasons I tell her no.


Yeah, I certainly can understand your wife's look. In fact now in my 50s I am starting to understand how my parents felt when I started riding a bike...

And still, it looks like a calling to me. You just can't avoid it, no matter what the cost is... And you usually don't even think of the cost seriously when you are young...

IDK, there are a plenty of risky things out there, and there are a plenty people taking those risks, including myself. May be it's a fatum Smile
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

GerardWon wrote:
ellaboswell wrote:
Teens will navigate through the course under extreme conditions, like distracted driving and hydroplaning. The basic aim of the program is to help build the basic driving skills before sending out teens on their own


Sounds like an xrummer bot to me.


LOL MyOwnWorld is too kind to everybody, including spammers. That's what I love her for Smile
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myownworld
Site Admin
Site Admin



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:21 am Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks Misha, you're too kind....Smile

But our friend Gerard, like you, is smart enough to spot spammers from a distance!

I do too actually, but I keep hoping they'll come to spam, but then stay on out of interest! My perennial hope in human race... Confused


Last edited by myownworld on Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mendy404
Member
Member



Joined: Jun 30, 2011
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:36 am Reply with quote Back to top

We have to learn it more before you have to improve it more....
*link snipped*
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GerardWon
Master Racer



Joined: May 10, 2011
Posts: 46
Location: NYC Area

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:02 am Reply with quote Back to top

Astraist wrote:
Gerard,

The question of whether what you did was right or not is one that can only be answered by yourself. Personally, I find that motorsport has lost some of it's competitive nature over the last decade or so, and bold moves like your own are becoming more rare and that's a shame, but it's also a sport and sportmenship should be maintained too, but without being in the cockipt at the moment of truth this is just semantics.

Your post also illustrates what we both know about the subject of how these kind of events are "burned" into our memory. However, if you want to know in retrospect whether your moves were correct, than the best suggestion is to mention a "driving diary", on-board videos and telemety, as I always insist when giving a trainer's input to others.

As to the question of risks in modern motorsport: Rally, Rally-Raid, Formula and Saloon racing -- has all increased dramatically over the last decade, as it has with road cars too. The cars have been limited, tracks were changed or removed from single-seater chapmionships (the Nürburgring being the best example) and passive safety instrumentation has improved too. I fondly remember the famous track of Paul Richard (formerly the location of the prestigious racing school of Elf Windfield) where special abrasive surfaces colored in blue and red- which replaced the sand traps that hook cars and the amrco is also specially designed.

The Nürburgring is perhaps the very opposite and I always stress that it's a public road and not a racetrack. This should be added to an endless list of winding mountain roads around Europe (and, thankfully enough, two or three such roads in my own country, one near Jerusalem and one coming down to the dead sea) -- which skilled drivers use as if they were "open" circuits -- applying principles of performance driving and driving at a high speed - but still maintaining a constant, large "reserve."

At an actual race, there are no bad moves, there are uncalculated ones. A race car driver does not innovate while driving, he executes a plan which is generally pre-determind (based on the known driving line and planning far ahead). The problem is with slight overdoing (or underdoing!) of those moves. The race car is being pushed to it's utter limits, and the conditions of the track are being exploited to their fullest. As a result, an degree too much of steering or an inch too much of throttle or brakes will be enough to bring it over the edge and slide.

Due to the conditions I stated above, with addition to the callibration of race cars (especially single seaters) the cars let go at once and slide in a completly uncontrolable matter, regardless of driving skills. The observer could watch a race, divide the driving into segments which commence with a certain input of steering, brakes or throttle -- from which point the driver is now "committed" to the corner, braking manuever or attempt of overtake. Racing is an intelectual discussion between the car and driver, on the subject of the road ahead. It's not a monolouge, the driver is not in full control!

A name which I brought up in previous occasions: Re'm Samuel, was a rally driver in France in the 90's (and the first diabetic race driver in history!). In 2005, he attempted to repeat his success and drove in the Rally du-Var (Still the Final stage of the French Rally Championship). At one fast kink over the narrow mountain road, he encountered a crest which he drove over too hard, and started to slide. Perhaps his words will better portray the feeling:

Quote:

The co-driver calls out a "4+ left" which means a very fast left-hand sweeper that I generally approach in fifth gear with light-moderate throttle at a speed of 120-140km/ph. I do not know the exact speed, as the speedometer is disconnected, because I am afraid to know my exact speed. I am roughly 12km from the finish line of the stage (one out of 33). This is the highest crest in the race. To the right -- an abyss in the depth of some hundreds of meters to the left is the mountain, a distance of two car-widths.

[...]I approach the bend according the pace notes really, cut the corner. I was out of line, the overcrest renders the car momentarily airborne for one or two-milliseconds or so , enough to initiate an aggressive slide of the car's rear axle...

I find myself gazing at the concrete wall made of big rocks and set in concrete, as it nears the co-drivers door at a speed of over 100km per hour. In this speed, the hit is fatal. I give the car a burst of throttle to pull it back towards the center of the road. The rail tugs the back of the car. I am out of control and take the only course of action that could save me, just like we teach [...] to perform in an emergency, just like this one. I go hard for the brakes, lockup all wheels and...prey.

I see the mountain-side brushing by at the 1000 Wat of my racing headlights. I near the Rockey wall and the car rubs against it, ripping the remaining six headlights from the car. It than goes on to complete a full spin and stops against the direction of travel.


Thanks for your words.

Btw, I remember reading what the great Fangio said about his epic drive in the '57 grand prix at the ring -- arguably the greatest performance in the history of motorsports "Even now almost 40 years later I can still remember the fear I felt'
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