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Old 05-09-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default ABS on a track car

I'm looking at used Miatas and was wondering what your opinion is of ABS. Should it be avoided or not? I'd like to use it for 9-10 track days a year and drive it back and forth to the track. I intend to do Xidas, 6ULs, RS3s, sways, bushings, seat harness, roll bar etc. Seems like a plus...no flat spotting expensive tires, but maybe I won't learn threshold braking as well.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
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I would go for a car with ABS, you can always easily disable it (which is probably what I would do for dry situations, enable when it gets wet or you have a noob driving your car).
That being said, I wouldn't eliminate any cars simply because they don't have ABS.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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No track experience with abs, but if you find one you like, you can always disable it.
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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If I could do it over again, I'd look for one with ABS just so I would have the option. The "weight penalty" is not really that bad and it would make me feel better about letting other people drive the car.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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You can always disable it so I wouldn't ruin it out. Non-abs will teach you real quick to not lock up the breaks as you'll be paying for a new set of front tires shortly after.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
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I prefer abs beacuse I tend to double drive my cars.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob300zx View Post
I prefer abs beacuse I tend to double drive my cars.
What do you mean by double drive?
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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I let my friends and family do track days with me. I prefer abs so I dont have to worry about them flat spotting $600 in tires and ruining the weekend.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:55 AM   #9
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You might lose out on that .5 of a second; however, you'll be able to consistently not blow braking zones and flat spot brand new tires. One of the guys I run with specifically set out to find a car with ABS, and he and his wife have nothing but good words to speak of their NB's ABS.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:02 AM   #10
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My racing Miata doesn't have ABS. It is a benefit to me only because the rule book adds +5% weight for cars with ABS/driving aids, so I can run my car a bit ligther then some of my fellow racers. However, every time it rains, I miss it.

ABS IS a driving aid, so if you where a good enough driver you should be able to drive as fast or faster without it, in any condition. But we are talking about amature race car drivers and club racing and few of us are in truth that talanted drivers. At least not the majority of us.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:53 AM   #11
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Except that even if you are an exceptionally good driver, you still can't apply different pressure on each wheel based on your perception of whether or not each wheel is locking up or not. The ABS does, and backs that up with irrefutable data from each wheel.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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Ive had track cars with and without ABS and I know for sure ABS is a good thing especially in the rain or when you are really trying to chase someone down. it really helps to know you can really drop anchor when you are trying to get those brake zones as short as possible.

that said I think it good for people to learn how to threshold brake a car without abs on a race track, learn to roll off the brakes when they lock, adjust your line to compensate. honestly great braking skill is probably one of the hardest track skills to learn imo. so get the brakes set up right and install abs kill switch that you can activate when you are trying to catch or run from someone on the track. you can then kill abs when you wanna work on braking as hard as possible without engaging the abs.

you could think about doing some brake tests, figure how hard you can brake into a corner with the abs kicking on a and then back it out a couple feet, kill abs and then you should be about right.

I would not pull the abs unless you are required for a race series, take the weight if that is an option
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:27 PM   #13
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I miss abs in my 99.

That said

Braking is actually more fun without abs. Locking wheels then letting up is an interesting feeling.

I also have gotten into serveral oh shizat situations because i didnt known capabilites or lack thereof with my non abs brakes. Abs is the same every time.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob300zx View Post
I prefer abs beacuse I tend to double drive my cars.

I'm just glad you're not granny shifting...............
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:45 PM   #15
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A car with a good ABS system always has a race advantage over non-ABS car.

Only the beginner drivers brake in a straight line (thus start & finish braking for the upcoming corner way early). If you brake in a straight line, you are slow

The skilled racers are still hard on the brakes during corner entry and keep braking almost all the way to the corner apex. (brake end point at apex or earlier depends on the corner shape of course)
When you're braking hard in a corner there is more weight on the outside wheel and you can brake much harder with it while the inside one would lock (and brake less when locked and flat spot too).
So ... if you have ABS you can brake harder (and avoid flat spotting too) with unloaded inner tires cause the ABS takes care of that. If you don't have ABS, you give up braking, because the locked inner tires brake less (and sometimes you lift up the pedal to avoid flat spotting too).

If you watch Formula 1, you can see this (inner tires locking) at pretty much every event nowadays (especially qualifying) since ABS systems got banned some years ago:

Also, here is how the braking friction graph looks when the tire is braking while rolling (static friction) vs when locked and sliding (kinetic friction) in general:





Attached Thumbnails
ABS on a track car-frictiongraph.jpg  

Last edited by j_man; 05-10-2012 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:50 AM   #16
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yeah some of us drive to the track with only 4 tires so if we flat em the weekend is over. makes giving up a little in the trail braking department an easy decision
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:54 AM   #17
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Great info!
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:36 AM   #18
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Wow so what are noobs like me supposed to do if we go to the trak and dont have abs? Just brake in a straight line?
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
Wow so what are noobs like me supposed to do if we go to the trak and dont have abs? Just brake in a straight line?
You need a running car before going to the track, work on that first.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:09 PM   #20
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well the way I teach and I think most people instruct is the following. first I dont even really worry much about braking until they have a consistent good line but I make them do all their braking in a straight, get off the brakes completely before turn in, turn in and increase throttle on track out till your 100% throttle. then you start working on compressing the brake zone into as short a distance as possible while taking care to not over brake. once you have the line you want pretty dialed and good straight line braking, we pick a couple good corners that lend themselves to easy trail braking, usually longer medium speed corners, then we drag the brake to the apex. then you basically work on further compressing the brake zone, brake later, based on how aggressive you get with the braking in the corner. when learning trail braking it is easy to over brake so making sure that does not happen is more important then extracting the maximum trail brake.

I always make new students brake straight because it is better and safer to start at the beginning and choose the corners to trail brake vs being sloppy and just dragging the brake into corners. a sloppy habit is not trail braking. trail braking must be deliberate and in a street car especially, not every corner lends itself to trail braking.

as a student gets faster through a particular corner everything changes and if you are trying to brake more in a corner due to the increased speed it is easy to induce a spin. so if an instructor lets you get in a habit of trail braking without a discussion of when and where they are doing it wrong. because the car that gets a little unsettled at turn in, may turn into a spin when you add 5 mph or whatever.

buy the skip barber racing manual if you want lean more. it will give you a great base before you go on track. I bring it with me to the track and make people read certain sections if i'm unable to get my students to understand something.
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