If you have been reading this blog, you will know that this year I was finally at the point where I felt THECar was good enough to win any race, the company was at the point where I could take some more time to focus on my driving, and that my goal was to fine tune the car, and learn to drive better. Improving my driving is the only way I can ever achieve my ultimate goal of one day winning something with my own car.
What I want to write about today is what I like to call invisible speed. You do everything the same, but you are slow, or you are fast, and you can’t figure out why. If you lose a 10th of a second or even less in the critical accelerations on a track, you can easily notice a 1 second loss per lap. How to gain time here?
Spinning the tyres tends to be slower, the more you spin the tyres, the slower you accelerate, but if you don’t spin them at all, you are going too slow. It’s a balancing act. This is possible to test on a slippery track. Approach a jump out of a corner and smash the throttle, then take the same line and smoothly apply throttle, you will jump much further.
It is one thing to work on this with your driving, and that’s a thing I have been focusing on lately, but another way to approach this issue, is to work on your engine tune as I wrote about here, and your clutch. The power delivery can do the work for you, and when you combine a better mechanical power delivery with a better in tune driver, you will go faster!
David Ronnefalk won the Euros at Reims in France. That track is the slipperiest damn surface ever invented. I tried his car after the race and noted how strange his engine felt, super slow and smooth pickup of power, and to me the clutch felt broken. At the time I thought this is how he likes it. Fast forward to a higher grip track, I again tried his car and this time the engine and clutch were snappy and powerful. Put 2 & 2 together, fine tuned engine powerband and clutch to the conditions = Go faster, win Euros.
Today I grabbed a carbon shoe off a JQ RTR 🙂 and ran one carbon shoe, and 2 alu shoes, all with 1.1 springs (JQ springs run softer). Went out, car felt slow, did a good time anyway, with 8L 5:05. Leaned out the low end a bit, went faster. Then just drove and got used to it, did a run that honestly felt slow, I noted that the car was easier to control in the corners, I could apply throttle and the car would maintain its line and just increase it’s speed slightly in the corners, but overall I still felt slow. Crossed the line with a new track record, 9L 5:36. I didn’t learn to drive better in the last 2 days, I didn’t drive any differently, I found the right engine tune and clutch setting for the conditions. And maybe for my driving style too at this track.