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Old 03-09-2009, 09:33 AM   #1
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Question about shifting on track

I never drove on track, and one day I hope I would.

what are the rules of shifting on track?
do I take it to redline all the time?
if so when I do corner, I need to down shift, right?
what are the rules of down shifting?
do I not down shift if I am close to redline and down shift if I am around 3.5k to 4k rmp?

I just want to know more about how to drive no track
what to do and how to get the max power over the corner and track!

thanks


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Old 03-09-2009, 03:42 PM   #2
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No real hard and fast rules, it all depends on the track layout and how hard you want to run the car. Some corners are slow and others are simply bent straightaway’s. The trick is figuring out which one is which.
I rarely run my cars to the redline because the extra bit you might get will be wasted when you need to brake harder at the next braking zone. Since I am running in open tracks and not racing, I find no reason to buzz the motor and then tax the brakes. It is definitely more fun driving a car at the track than it is repairing one at the track.
You just want to keep it in the power band and drive smoothly. One time at Watkins Glen I was driving a ’94 SN95 Mustang with a 3.8 V6 and five speed. That engine had some torque but it ran out of breath by 5000 rpm. I found that I could run nearly identical lap times whether I drove the whole track in third gear or fourth gear.

I instruct novices at about 10 or so events a year so I’ve pretty much seen it all.
More often than not new drivers are preoccupied with shifting and will rest their hand on the shifter and shift everywhere possible. Before the turn, at turn in, at the apex, at track out, you name it and they are shifting there. I often find myself humming “Row Row Row Your Boat” into the headset microphone. If telling the driver to keep their hand off the shifter except when actually shifting doesn’t work I will either slap their hand away from the shifter or gently caress it, which freaks them out, to get the point across. We want two hands on the wheel controlling the car not one.
I have them leave the car in third gear for much of the course during the first sessions on track as it offers enough range to get around pretty quickly and makes it easier to learn the line, remember the track, how to properly brake and a host of other things without worrying about shifting.
I find it amusing when novices are in a gear and nearing the redline yet are nearly in the braking zone for the next turn. They will up shift for 2 seconds or less, then immediately downshift in the braking zone. All they need to do is moderate their speed in the original gear for another 2 seconds then brake for the turn.
What normally happens in this scenario is they don’t brake hard enough for the corner because they are preoccupied with shifting, miss the shift, look down at the shifter to see where it is, and then sail off into the corner in neutral at a rate of speed too high for the corner. Believe me it is not so much fun experiencing this from the passenger seat.
The other thing that occurs is they downshift at the beginning of the braking zone instead of just before turn in and immediately release the clutch. You gotta love axle hop. Yee-Ha. Sometimes they will get the wrong gear and loop the car because they got first gear instead of third or they lug the motor in fifth. The car doesn’t really appreciate either one.

Since you are in Topeka, come on down to the TrackGuys Texas World Speedway event at the end of the month. We’ll get you squared away and you will have a blast.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:46 PM   #3
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It is just always in my mind that I have to shift or down shift in turn...
i am so wrong... you are so right...

so I want to keep the power band, like 3-4k RMP in turns?
is it right?
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:15 AM   #4
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I'm no pro, but from what i've learned, you need to be accellerating out of the apex, so you need to be in gear, i personally try not to shift when turning if it is avoidable, sometimes along long sweeping turns, you need to, but in a hairpin or any other moderately sharp turn, you should not be shifting in the turn. As for engine breaking, unless you are in a serious race car, its not really needed. rely on the brakes to stop you and not the motor, the whole point of racing footwork is to keep your car in the powerband upon exiting a corner. we don't have formula 1 cars.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlbbaseball View Post
I'm no pro, but from what i've learned, you need to be accellerating out of the apex, so you need to be in gear, i personally try not to shift when turning if it is avoidable, sometimes along long sweeping turns, you need to, but in a hairpin or any other moderately sharp turn, you should not be shifting in the turn. As for engine breaking, unless you are in a serious race car, its not really needed. rely on the brakes to stop you and not the motor, the whole point of racing footwork is to keep your car in the powerband upon exiting a corner. we don't have formula 1 cars.
lol hit that nail on the head
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:48 AM   #6
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Really you want to hit the gas the moment you come off the brakes. No need to wait 'till the apex.

Downshifts need to be done in a straight line before the turn. Upshifts are usually at the exit of the corner or some it's mid corner.

I've always taken it right to the redline unless the motor is running too hot. You also need to think of where you'll be in the power band after the upshift - that's why high rpm's always win.

Now if it's your 1st time ever at a track it might be best to just leave it in 3rd or 4th and find the braking points and flag stations. I also highly recommend the no brake exercises - it's amazing how many people overbrake for corners.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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usually in our cars, since we have FWD, you can still brake into the turn, but not too far. in school, they taught me to brake just before you start sliding. (i know thats vague, but there is so much more to it.) alot of it has to do w/ weight transfer.
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:26 PM   #8
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Also, you want to shift as smoothly and gently as you can get away with. I was nervous on my first track day and tried to bang it into 4th gear as I came out onto the front straight at NHIS. I realized after watching video that thanks to the speed and the intensity of my concentration, what felt like a long time was actually still really quick. With that in mind, I relaxed and shifted more gently. Everything went smoothly and I could focus on looking out and minimizing steering inputs.

Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAwYB7YvXgs#t=5m07s
It's not a quick shift, but it's fast enough. When I was driving the car though, trust me, it felt like seconds between dipping the clutch and letting it back out.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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now about launching.
i rev the car about 3-4k rpm
then drop the cluch and floor it and the same time?

when I shift do I drop the clutch and floor it at the same time?

i just dono how to launch right and shift right
i don think the rpm should rev up a bit before engaging...
again I have a very old clutch, 97k miles.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
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If ur talking about dragging, then you will want to slip your clutch, but if its old, you don't want to do that cause it will ware out really quick.
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