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Old 09-04-2007, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default So how good a driver are you?

From Autospeed

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So how good a driver are you?
Posted on September 4th, 2007 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

Perhaps driving self-evaluation is like social class.

How? Well, whenever surveys are taken that asks people to list what social class they belong to (ie lower, middle or upper), the vast majority of people put themselves into the category of ‘middle’. And the interesting thing: there’s no correlation between a self-belief in belonging to a middle class and income. People others might call impoverished still think they belong to the middle class; many of those anyone else would call wealthy also think they belong to a middle class.

In the same way, an awful lot of people believe themselves to be good drivers. Or at least, well above average.

In fact, you need only read web discussion groups to see people, either explicitly or implicitly, boasting about their incredible prowess. Slippery roads, powerful engines and rear wheel drive without traction control on public roads? Ahhh, that’s just fun. Cars that are twitchy and unforgiving at the limit? That’s why you need real drivers, not these pathetic attempts who prefer front wheel drive and are good for driving only shopping trolleys.

Over the years I have ridden with quite a few excellent drivers, including former Australian open wheel and rally champions. I have also ridden with drivers who are very good completely away from motorsport: one in particular who was always, in my opinion, extremely unlikely to have a crash in an urban environment as he was always so very watchful.

But there’s one thing about good drivers that is universal. Firstly, they never ever say that they are good drivers. Why? Because they’re always so well aware of their deficiencies. Secondly, they want in their cars predictability, consistency and communication. Someone who finds a challenging car fantastic fun in difficult conditions, and who tells everyone about it, is very likely just a ******.

I think that it’s very important when evaluating your own driving that:

1) You never denigrate those who confess to being less than excellent in their driving skills. Instead, this self-analysis is to be applauded.

2) You constantly evaluate your own driving standard – taking the role of a make-believe critical passenger, if you like.

3) If you ever get a chance to, go for a drive with a really brilliant driver. It’s a reality check second to none.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:29 AM   #2
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Where's the criteria?
If I drive an average of 20% over the speed limit, but get to my destination on time, am I a good driver or bad driver? :gay: Now, if I got a ticket on the way, I'm bad x 2.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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my lap times suck.
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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i consider myself a better than average driver on the street. My parents stressed to no end that I be careful, watchful and aware when i drive and it used to **** me off but I have never had a moving accident ... lol other than one on a dusty road by myself where I smacked a chain link fence. Now when it comes to autocross, I know im a crappy driver because it is proven to me all the time.
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:00 PM   #5
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I do ok.

I completely dissagree with this statement:


"Secondly, they want in their cars predictability, consistency and communication. Someone who finds a challenging car fantastic fun in difficult conditions, and who tells everyone about it, is very likely just a ******."

In my racecar, yes I want, and need the car to be perfectly dialed in, predictable, and consistent. When I drive my miata on practice days or just screwing around on open lapping days I rarely check the tire pressures, run mix match compounds and sizes, as well, rarely mess with shock settings ect. The way I look at it is this, if it's a serious competition I'm there to compete and give myself every advantage possible, on a practice day I'm not going for time or points, I'm there to develop my feel for each corner of the car indivudually and quicly adapt to driving around weirdness.
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:07 PM   #6
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I tend to think I'm a good driver....I use my available resources: boost and breakdown lanes
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenR View Post
I do ok.

I completely dissagree with this statement:


"Secondly, they want in their cars predictability, consistency and communication. Someone who finds a challenging car fantastic fun in difficult conditions, and who tells everyone about it, is very likely just a ******."

In my racecar, yes I want, and need the car to be perfectly dialed in, predictable, and consistent. When I drive my miata on practice days or just screwing around on open lapping days I rarely check the tire pressures, run mix match compounds and sizes, as well, rarely mess with shock settings ect. The way I look at it is this, if it's a serious competition I'm there to compete and give myself every advantage possible, on a practice day I'm not going for time or points, I'm there to develop my feel for each corner of the car indivudually and quicly adapt to driving around weirdness.
If you do all the car work each time... you provide yourself with a stable car setup and then allow yourself as a driver to improve. The time put into a cars setup is missed by so many people anymore.

I'd like to think I fall into the "good driver" group talked about in the article.
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:05 PM   #8
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Well, I definitely qualify under #3. Until you've hitched a ride on a practice lap with a national-level driver who shows you that your efforts in SM2 are no match for a competently driven CSP car, well, you haven't lived. OTOH, if you can get one of them to ride along with you during a run and manage to get even a "That was OK" out of him, well, it's at least a minor confidence booster.
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
If you do all the car work each time... you provide yourself with a stable car setup and then allow yourself as a driver to improve. The time put into a cars setup is missed by so many people anymore.

I'd like to think I fall into the "good driver" group talked about in the article.

I do that with the racecar, the focus on that car is setting it up to be the best it possibly can be, steady, consistent, and driveable. An obscene amount of time is spent on alignment and weight balancing alone.

But sometimes if you don't know what bad is and force yourself to feel the difference between bad and good, you can fool yourself into thinking your setup is better than it actually is, because it's consistent, consistently bad.

Driving perfect cars everytime won't teach you how to deal with less than ideal conditions, and in racing, I've rarely ever seen perfect conditions.

Last edited by BenR; 09-04-2007 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Well, I definitely qualify under #3. Until you've hitched a ride on a practice lap with a national-level driver who shows you that your efforts in SM2 are no match for a competently driven CSP car, well, you haven't lived. OTOH, if you can get one of them to ride along with you during a run and manage to get even a "That was OK" out of him, well, it's at least a minor confidence booster.
I know right. Also, there is nothing like riding with a guy who can set a second or two faster in your own car and have never driven it before..


I'm decent...but I ride with guys who scare the **** out of me...lol...and then I realize again that I'm decent...I can teach others a little bit, but I have so much to learn .
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:48 PM   #11
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I have full faith in myself to scare the **** out of anyone that rides with me.
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:57 PM   #12
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I was up at summit point one day, hanging out with the Camaro-Mustang Challenge guys.

A Spec miata driver took each of them out during some practice laps....each and everyone of them (including me) left the car with faces white as ghosts. You know these guys are doing something right to have lap times about 1 sec down from most of this class with about 1/2 the HP and only a few hundred pounds lighter.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:25 PM   #13
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Yeah, I've ridden with some spec guys. It's unbelievable how aggressive they are entering corners. That level of confidence I will never have. Can't imagine what it's like in F1 or other formula type race cars.

I'm slow on the track, too aggressive on the street but good at handling panic situations since I've put myself in a lot of them.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:46 PM   #14
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I AM ******* AWESOME

just like every other ******* SUV driving, cell phone chatting soccer mom thinks they are.
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
I was up at summit point one day, hanging out with the Camaro-Mustang Challenge guys.

A Spec miata driver took each of them out during some practice laps....each and everyone of them (including me) left the car with faces white as ghosts. You know these guys are doing something right to have lap times about 1 sec down from most of this class with about 1/2 the HP and only a few hundred pounds lighter.
I've seen this happen before...its great.

I once rode for a couple laps shotgun in a panoz race car. The guy was rhomping on the car in 3rd, took off the steeringwheel, asked me if I wanted to drive (lol), shifted into 4th, I resonded "not today", then put the wheel back and laughed his *** off.
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Old 09-04-2007, 05:01 PM   #16
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I'm decent on the street.
Good at Autocross.
No idea how good or bad I would be on a track day.
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:37 AM   #17
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I consider my self a safe driver. Good? Who knows.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:58 PM   #18
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I used to think I was a really good driver. Not just cause I thought so, but cause I was told so by just about everyone who had rode with me. Then I rode with a buddy of mine who just blew my mind. I was scared the first few times, but then I realized that he had everything under control. Now I let him drive whenever we go somewhere.

He did some work for Keith Vergas at MSR. He was breaking in a new motor in his back-up SM car, and we were passing other SM cars even though we were only revving to 5500rpm. And he had 235lbs of ballast in the passenger seat (that was me)!!! Oh, and he was running 3 Hoosiers and 1 RA-1 due to a blow-out.
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_sir_6 View Post

He did some work for Keith Vergas at MSR. He was breaking in a new motor in his back-up SM car, and we were passing other SM cars even though we were only revving to 5500rpm. And he had 235lbs of ballast in the passenger seat (that was me)!!! Oh, and he was running 3 Hoosiers and 1 RA-1 due to a blow-out.
where the **** do these ******** find the speed? I don't ******* understand. I've never ridden with that guy, but I've heard from other at hallett that he's basically god to the SM scene.

I'm taking the green car, and a buddy has his new sm and we're going to crash a "Z-meeting" at hallett this weekend.

I may call you for some dyno work soon.
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:10 AM   #20
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Yeah, Keith is damn fast. Has the SM record at MSR. He is also aware of how fast my friend, David, is, after watching him pass EVERYONE at MSR besides the LG Motorsports Vettes when he was running the motor at 100%. He rode with another friend of Keith's and just coaching cut 1-2 seconds off that guy's lap times.

And he drives that well on the street, too. Did a DSM cruise last yr and we were 14 out of 14 cars at the beginning, against a few Evo8s (3 or 4), a modded 944 Turbo, and several GS-X and GS-T Eclipses that all had over 400whp. Halfway thru the "spirited cruise" we were 2d, only cause the person leading was the only one who knew the route. When we stopped, EVERYONE was running up asking what was done to the Miata. It only had Koni's and GC Coilovers (700FR/325RR), and shitty Ziex 512 tires. They thought it had to have a turbo or something, cause they couldn't keep up in the twisties.
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