This is the second show for 2017 Autocross SCCA Solo National Rookies Series. It was fun to hear their insights and experiences. The may be rookie racers but most of them have autocrossed for quite some time. So their insights and racing tips are that much more helpful.
This show features four guests. If you’ve listened to the previous show and this one you will notice some similar advice and comments like: The grip level is quite high in Lincoln so make practice runs on the test course.
Terrance Pearson – ES Mazda Mazdaspeed Miata (Alaska)
Gordon Kuhnley – STR – 2000 Honda S2000
Eric Less – Kart Modified – 2018 Briel Kart
Dan Simms – AS – 2009 Corvette Z06 – 1:11
Who else will catch my reference to Lincoln Airport instead of Forbes Field where we had Nationals back in the early 2000’s.
He shares a lot of insights, tips and thoughts for racing from the mental side to setup.
He worked at Honda R&D as a design engineer on suspension and had the MDX front suspension as a project. Interesting hearing how bushings on cars can impact your suspension and thus handling.
He now drives cars on a pad we should be using for auto cross in San Angelo Texas. He says he has learned a ton driving on all season tires. Don’t challenge he or Lane Borg his coworker and codriver this year since they get a lot of practice!
He mentions that if you are slow in a certain type of car it might point to a weakness you can improve.
He has been autocrossing with his dad for many years and continues to do so at Nationals.
He watches the other competitors and likes to stay calm and relaxed rather than feeling any stress.
He did quite a bit of TAG Kart Racing…who else wants a kart for the track?
Biggest key he learned in karts was getting to the limit and learning to feel it.
He has autocrosses a D Street Nissan Sentra as well as a 350Z Convertible.
He also did Baja FSAE and got to autocross them (He isn’t sure what the colleges were thinking).
He bought a formula ford and ran it in CMod in 2008 and learned a lot.
He looks for areas he should be best at as a place that can separate him.
Mentally he focuses less on other people and more on good technique. He likes to rotate on entry.
Uses the DL1 for data and it is more useful with data port data.
He likes to make a car as loose in the slalom as he can handle which makes it better in sweepers.
When it comes to practicing he focuses on car setup or driver but not both at the same time.
***When at nationals he ends the practices with three runs he treats just like nationals as in they count so being clean is key. (I really like this approach as compared to mine which is probably over driving for the fun of it).
Get feedback from people and have them drive your car for you.
His dad asks him after wards about three things he did well and three he can improve on.
1:54 Walking course: 1st walk pick out key cones (circle them on map)
Mark technical areas he thinks he can use as an advantage.
Example: Fast exit slalom vs. slow exit.
He will stop after a section and rerun it in his mind and any previous sections.
He visualizes as the front view of the car like he is a GoPro on the front.
He does not preplan inputs.
He has his codriver walk them through the course – what are they seeing and planning to do.
At nationals he thinks about being as fast as possible.
He only looks at video of someone he trusts.
He thinks about the position of the car relative to cones as well as direction it is pointing.
He thinks about weight transfer and likes the book I often reference but forget the name of which is “Driving on the Edge”
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Nick is the guest on this podcast. He was just awarded the 2016 Solo Rookie of the Year for Autocross.
He was 2nd place in the STR class which had 64 drivers – driving a S2000. And he wasn’t even driving his own car (which helps since he no longer owns an autocross car).
I think you will get some good autocross tips and things to try after listening to this podcast. ***He started autocrossing in 2013*** so he caught on quickly. And you will hear how he learns while not actually racing.
Yes he has video game racing experience and talks about the setup he uses which makes the braking feel real.
He has driven in STS in a Civic and a CRX, as well as an ES Miata.
He talks about how he looks at data and videos and we will share a link below to some of his data.
He talks about over driving on purpose for practice as well as not being able to duplicate being fast with applying throttle later. (It worked for a codriver but he had to find another way to drive faster.)
And a tip I’m looking forward to implementing – watching videos at 1/2 or quarter speed. (I tried this and had to mute the volume on my coaching video to keep watching it.)
I thought we were going to wrap up the interview when he mentioned owning a kart so we had to hear about that. He has a 4 stroke kart which sounds much more up my alley for lower maintenance!
This episode is with Julian Garfield who has won 5 junior kart championships in autocross and has a 2nd in CSP and 3rd place finish in DSP at nationals. And the third place was with his mom riding shot gun since he only had his drivers permit.
Julian has great insight on kart setup and driving which was all new to me. If you are a parent of a junior kart driver take notes.
He talks about adding distance to keep the junior kart in the torque band rather than taking a tight line which would bog the kart. Sounds like physics supports a wider line at times.