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Old 04-16-2012, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default Rainy track tips

This Thursday I'm going to be at lime rock for the open house. The weather forecast keeps going back and forth (rain, no rain, tornadoes, hail, snow, earthquakes, etc). I've never been on a wet/rainy track before. In the event of a rainy day: any words of wisdom?
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:26 PM   #2
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yeah, be very careful until you get comfortable. alignment tires, brake bias and suspension make a big difference. i cant offer any specific set up info for the rain but you will see very quickly if you car is good in the rain or not. the first time i had my 944t in the rain at road America it was scary, bad brake bias, was not adjustable, and the car was sideways in and out of every turn on the track, not the kink, went a little slow on that one but everywhere else. I decided to pull off and wait for it to dry. so perhaps a brake bias controller would be a good thing. also look to the spec miata guys for some words of wisdom on rain set up. Ive not even had my miata on the track yet so noob am i
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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I have done a lot of racing on bikes, MX and karts in the rain. I can't comment specifically on MX5's but presume the same follows....

Everything is about smooth, throttle, brake, weight transitions etc. Once you get a real smooth flow going it is often amazing how much grip or how fast you can go despite the water. BUT build up slowly, the margin of error is reduced significantly.

As I said, I haven't driven my car in anger on the track in the wet before but for the other bikes, karts etc I found wet weather to be a really interesting and fun challenge.

If you think it is hard and tireing concentrating in the dry you are in for a headache after a few wet sessions! Talk about single minded focus....

All in all I used the (oh so many) wet days we get here in NZ to practice and improve my general abilities. Sure sometimes you turn up to a track and wish like hell it wasn't raining and wonder if it's worth it but often, if you can mentally flick the switch to thinking about the positive aspects and just get out there you can come away with a lot of experience you would otherwise not have....

Oh, I imagine in an mx5 fogging windows would be a real concern.....AC or demister, anti fog etc may be a good investment.

Love to hear how you get on......
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:46 PM   #4
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The polished part of the track (dry line) is the slickest part. At the least, get one tire out of the groove there to maintain some traction and what the cross-over where you cross the polished dry line. Braking off-line will almost always have more grip than on line.

You'll see the fast hotlapper guys like myself initiate turn-in later to stay off-line, then traverse the polish straight, then add steering angle again when we find grip.

If it's going to be wet for a while, unhook the swaybars.

don't be afraid to work on car control and practice drifting somewhat.

---- gets ugly fast in the rain, try to go off straight. I'll fight to keep a car on track in the wet, not so much in the dry.

Tape up brake ducts.

Floss.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:51 PM   #5
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Hold on... this thursday is the open house? Details?

EDIT: damn its full. My friend did this last year and had a pretty good time.

FYI it looks like it will be sunny
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:52 PM   #6
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The biggest thing the rain taught me so far is how to really use momentum and precision. while maintaining slip-angle.

In the try, I'm always somewhat serious and out there on a mission to go faster and cleaner than ever before with less steering-input than the previous lap. In the rain, I can go our there to drive like a retard and play like a child. Just watch your mirrors because if you don't know who you're on track with, you can't trust them in the wet.
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:31 AM   #7
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Hustler, that is a perfect analogy. I always LOVED the karting in the wet (MX not so much!). Everytime I would come off grinning like an idiot after having the best fun.

You're right, it's because it feels less serious, more like just get out there and have a go, see how it goes. Might be good might be not so good....
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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You'll gain more experience in one day of rain than you will in one month of sun.

I don't know how well this applies to cars, but this is what I was taught for running the motorcycle on the track in the rain:

With decent tires in the rain, you can accelerate powerfully, you can brake hard, and you can turn aggressively; you just can't do any two of those things at the same time.

So far, it's worked well for me - and by the time you realize you're slipping on two wheels in the rain, you're already on the ground. I've dropped the bike at triple digit speeds in the rain before simply because my foot brushed up against the rear brake lever while braking. That had potential to be a bad day.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
If it's going to be wet for a while, unhook the swaybars.
This - at least I always disconnect one link of the rear sway when wet. Wet pavement will really help you get 'in touch' with your car - will take some super concentration and quick hands - but for the love, don't do it on slicks or crappy tires. I use full thread RA1s - they work, but suck when compared to a REAL wet race tire. Otherwise, have fun honing your drift skilz
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:28 AM   #10
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The lack of grip will amplify setup issues with your car. If its a little loose on a dry day, it will be VERY loose in the wet. Go back and read Hustler's posts again, because he's right. Be SMOOOOOTH, take your time, and have fun.

I love racing in the rain, I think I actually prefer it... but that's probably because I tend to win when it rains (all the corvette driver's I race against are pansies )

EDIT: Regarding tires. Slicks still work when its damp, just NOT in standing water. My rule of thumb is this: Drag your shoe across the tarmac, if it pushes water (creates a little wave) use treaded tires, if it doesn't move any water use slicks. If there are ANY puddles or little streams in your line, use treaded tires.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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Rainy trackdays are the best ever. Especially in a pretty much stock car.

If your suspension is adjustable, soften it up, you don't want it rock hard.



I was overtaking pretty much everything that day, and that includes EVO's and Imprezas. I'm a limited driver, but I guess they were even more limited than me!
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:52 AM   #12
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First thing with rain is to get your defrosters going, turn your shocks down to match the reduced grip, drop your air pressure some, preheat the brakes while still under throttle, I also still warm the tires up as they still gain heat, on the first lap I'm watching the drivers behind me very closely, if I can't gap the guy behind me by a corner or two I will let him by in TT I don't want his mistake being mine too. I the just experiment With were the traction is.
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:05 PM   #13
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:44 PM   #14
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^ good read, thanks

Rain event last year - what a great learning experience:
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:40 PM   #15
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yeah it can be alot of fun. I drove a Subaru powered turbo ford festiva on the track and it was a very fun and interesting experience. the car had no set up, race tires in the front streets in the rear no defrost so I was was like looking through a glass bottle. not the safest car in the rain but even this disaster of a car was pretty predictable in the way it behaved badly. really fun and fast, no handling at all.

on a side note. good advise on the tire choice. one added thing, the most dangerous time is when it starts to rain a little. just enough to be slippery and really catch you out. once its been raining for a while, even during heavy rain the track will be more predictable because it washes away some of the slippery oils or everyone is just going slower.

if you want slippery practice try doing a event in light rain right after a vintage race day. kidding dont.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:54 PM   #16
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Or during a chumpcar race.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:03 PM   #17
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I did an open track day in he rain last year-by midday everyone else headed home and myself and another Miata had the whole track to ourselves.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:24 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input, everyone. The weather forecast as of now looks like it'll be fine.

The rain wouldn't worry me too much if I was in my NB, but I'll be in (someone else's) mx-5 cup car. I have driven a stock NC twice and both times were for autocrossing. So I have no idea how the hell this is going to play out. My goal thursday is to keep it shiny side up and try to learn as much as possible.

While on the topic, any pointers for lime rock? I know turn 2 is a common spin out area. Anything else I should know about/not do/worry about?
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:35 PM   #19
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I haven't been on the track yet (going in june) but I would say just be careful on how you transfer into turn 6 and turn 7 (last 2 before the main straight). I have seen quite a few spin outs there. A kid I know spun his 400 hp evo out in the rain there, luckily it was and he stayed on pavement.

Let me know how it goes...I cant wait to do the EMRA track day in june. I am praying my car will be ready.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:54 PM   #20
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Fer sure. I don't think it'll be anything wild, but it's a good excuse to get out of the office and I can't go carting until the weekends.

Those prices for EMRA aren't bad. I've done mainly SCDA in the past. Are they remotely in the same ballpark?
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