Winter testing

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Tailgate
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Winter testing

Postby Tailgate » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:39 am

Well, I managed to source a car for the 1800 class, needs some work but hopefully I'll get it sorted well before the 2011 season kicks off, hopefully get some testing in myself so come my first race I don't make a complete fool of myself !!

I was curious to know how much testing the "regulars" do during the closed season ? I guess budget, necessity and weather play a part ?

Well done to all, club, competitors and supporters for the 2010 season................

Dave.

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Re: Winter testing

Postby andrewcliffe » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:27 am

Well all Team Cliffe has done is one pre-season test a few weeks before the season starts to make sure everything works.
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Re: Winter testing

Postby Russ » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:19 pm

Testing? What's testing? Never heard of it myself.

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Re: Winter testing

Postby samier » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:41 pm

Tailgate wrote:Well, I managed to source a car for the 1800 class, needs some work but hopefully I'll get it sorted well before the 2011 season kicks off, hopefully get some testing in myself so come my first race I don't make a complete fool of myself !!

I was curious to know how much testing the "regulars" do during the closed season ? I guess budget, necessity and weather play a part ?

Well done to all, club, competitors and supporters for the 2010 season................

Dave.


If you are new to racing, then the best thing you can do is get seat time before a race. If you can get to an open pitlane even better, there is no substitute for getting comfortable in the car and getting to know its limits.

Remember on a race weekend, you get either 2 or 4 15 min sessions, certainly not enough to be on the pace if you are new.

Test as much as your wallet allows you too.
Last edited by samier on Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Winter testing

Postby tristancliffe » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:31 pm

I think a lot of 'testing' in club racing is a waste of time. You sit there doing lap after lap of the track at a pace that isn't either qualifying or racing, learning very little, wearing out the car and achieving not much more than making yourself poorer.

Personally I would recommend a day of testing at the start of year and make sure the car works, is reliable, and the driver isn't totally rusty. Then learn during the year - you pay to enter races, and to start with you probably aren't going to be winning much (unless your name is Nigel Davers), so treat each one as a useful test - i.e. in a competitive environment.

I have yet to see anyone in Mono benefit from testing the day before a meeting. They remain the same speed, relative to the rest of the field, as they were at every other event.

Exceptions apply:-
Oulton is such a bumpy circuit that testing there might be a little help, but only if you are NOT doing lap after lap of just driving around, but are coming in every three laps to tweak your dampers.

Some people use it to find out if their gearing is okay, but I've yet to change my gear ratios in the paddock so don't know how often people guess wrong.
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Re: Winter testing

Postby Tailgate » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:24 am

I can imagine when testing it would be very easy just to circulate and not achieve a great deal unless you set some aims. However, as 'samier' says, in my case I need to get comfortable in the car without the pressure of a meeting and its timetables etc, maybe then progressing to playing with adjustments to feel the difference. I plan to get at least a couple of test days before I attempt a meeting, then as mentioned learn as I go along.....hopefully !!

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Re: Winter testing

Postby tristancliffe » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:28 am

Agreed. But don't continue to test every meeting just because you can. It's not even much of a help with learning tracks - I find that watching onboard videos of similar cars on YouTube and MotorsportUK to be just as good and a lot cheaper than a test session.

Oh. And practice in your sleep too. Pretend, as you lie in bed (assuming there isn't anything better to do!) that you're driving. Imagine the effort of steering. The precision of gear changing. I reckon you can improve your muscle memory significantly doing that, even if you don't actually move.

Each to their own of course!!! There is no right or wrong.

Edit: And as Patrick says below, you need to find and solve things like not being able to select all the gears on track (even though you can in the garage), and having your helmet sucked off your head by the aerodynamics. Perfectly valid reasons to test. And Anglesey Coastal was odd as well, as Mono where the first race cars there, so nobody COULD watch videos of it. But I still maintain that pounding round for lap after lap on the excuse "seat time is useful" is a massive waste of money and won't make you quicker, safer or better. Pounding round for a day whilst tweaking the car to see how it responds is useful, if you can afford it, as long as you don't fall into the trap of just driving around.

Oh, and never believe testing times. They are ALWAYS quicker than the person will achieve on a race day, even if older tyres are replaced with fresh ones.
Last edited by tristancliffe on Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Monoposto Champion 2008, 2010 & 2011 with a Reynard 883 and a Dallara F398, and F3 Cup and Team Champion 2012

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Re: Winter testing

Postby phuston » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:56 am

When one first experiences a race car, one needs to learn: that it works, how it works, and how the driver can work within its environment.

When I bought my first car all the above were achieved at a disused local airfield that I was fortunate enough to gain access to. When I got to a race track I was comfortable with the car.

Four years later I purchased an 1800 Swift. and raced it untested a few days after buying it. It was a nightmare, airflow tried to remove my helmet, the gearchange fouled the steering wheel and bodywork, when steering my hands caught the bodywork and flicked the ignition switch off, the temperature gauge did not work, and a rear wheel tried to fall off........ these are the faults that I can remember from a traumatic fifteen minute qualifying session.

Race meeting time is expensive and a driver is under pressure. It is too expensive to squander with an underprepared car and driver.

A very talented driver may learn a track in a few laps, the rest of us need much more time, especially if we have no track experience, or experience of the track. Testing was very popular when the new Anglesey Circuit was opened because it was new even to experienced drivers.

I am with Samier on the need for time in the seat.
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Re: Winter testing

Postby andrewcliffe » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:14 am

Christmas Day Morning 2005 - Tristan, Martin and Myself use the local airfield to try the Reynard 883 for the first time
2006 - Tristan and myself contest three sprints at RAF Bentwaters, Brands Hatch and Lydden Hill. We win something at each event. Car still has its F3 spec engine in it.
April 2007 - shake down test to run in new Mono spec engine, prior to rolling road session to set carburettors.
May 2007 - first ever race - Castlecombe. Wet practise (combined qualifying for all classes), dry race. Thrown in at deep end!
June 2007 - test session at Snetterton. Wet.

Since then there has been a pre-season test at Snetterton to make sure that everything is still working. We did one extra test with the Dallara at Mallory Park, but as everyone was going to help Lenny get settled with the Reynard he bought from us, taking the Dallara wasn't much more complicated or expensive, and Tristan only took the car out for one of the morning sessions.

Apart from a couple of track days and hire karts, Tristan had no prior racing experience of any sort, except online racing using PC simulations, these being a mixture of fictional and 'slightly' realistic in both cars and tracks.
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Re: Winter testing

Postby tristancliffe » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:40 am

And I'd advocate using a decent PC simulation as a training aid, and as a substitute for just driving around in a real car.

  • They won't help you learn a circuit other than knowing which way each corner goes. So don't be put off if the simulation doesn't have real tracks, as they are of little use.
  • They won't help with certain aspects of driving - heel and toe, using the gear lever efficiently, or how to brake on the limit.

  • They can and do help with understanding car behaviour and how to catch/correct/instigate slides and spins.
  • They can and do help with race craft (if you play online against real people). By which I mean controlling the Red Mist, thinking about lap times whilst qualifying, thinking about how to force the guy ahead into making a mistake whilst simultaneously not letting the guy behind past.
  • They can and do help with car setups - you can (on the good simulations) feel how changing toe/camber/ride height/caster/wings/anti-roll bars effects the handling - useful when you're trying to cure a problem with your car, and Carroll Smith's Engineer in Your Pocket isn't where you left it.

By decent simulation I do NOT mean rFactor, Gran Turismo, Forza, Need for Speed. There are only three worth bothering with (in order of my preference): Live for Speed, netKar Pro and iRacing.

But I don't play them much any more. I don't have time!

Oh, and Andrew, we didn't win anything at that Lydden sprint. It was damp, and a lot harder than the dry events. And I'm still annoyed that you were better than me through Druids hairpin at Brands.
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Re: Winter testing

Postby andrewcliffe » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:58 am

the playing against real people is the key - whilst you can play against computer opponents, they usually follow a pre-determined path, they don't make mistakes.

Live for Speed has a free version, but the quality of opposition is usually kids playing online. Paying a bit more gives you access to the more interesting cars, and the online servers which are only available to the paid members, the quality of the driving is much higher.

The Formula XR is closest to a Mono spec car, at 490kgs and 190bhp. Due to licensing issues they're not real cars as such, but close enough. The developers have had input from race teams and have had access to various cars to measure things.
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Re: Winter testing

Postby samier » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:00 pm

Tailgate wrote:I can imagine when testing it would be very easy just to circulate and not achieve a great deal unless you set some aims. However, as 'samier' says, in my case I need to get comfortable in the car without the pressure of a meeting and its timetables etc, maybe then progressing to playing with adjustments to feel the difference. I plan to get at least a couple of test days before I attempt a meeting, then as mentioned learn as I go along.....hopefully !!


When I jumped into my Formula vx Junior at Mallory in 2008, I never sat in the car to prior to the day. Looking back it was the worst possible way to enter a meeting.

As Tristan says, its also pointless going round and around unless you have someone with you know knows what they are doing, eg. driver coach /engineer or someone helping you progress in your driving and car setup throught the day.

Atleast try and get a couple of tests at 2 different circuits.

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Re: Winter testing

Postby Tailgate » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:25 pm

Lots of good pointer's and suggestions...thanks.

The circuit I did my ARDS on is local, cheap and will be ok to give the car and me some runs, I can at least check engine, brakes, gear box etc, it isn't the best surface so will be more Acropolis than Donnington but should be ok for the basics. I've then got someone lined up to support me on a "proper" test, he's got some good equipment for setting up and lots of experience so that should be an education.

I'll look into the simulation, not something I tend to mess with but I can imagine it'll be a good aid, funnily I did spend quite a bit of time recently watching YouTube in-car clips, much to the amusement of my better half, as for Tristan's suggestion of practicing in bed, mmm.....I might try that but rest assured I'll never admit to it !!!

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Re: Winter testing

Postby ofarc » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:29 pm

Time in the car works......simples.

If you were to do 3 winter tests you should be well prepared fo your first mono meeting. I will be testing at least 3 times over the winter just to keep my eye in.

Cheers Dax
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Re: Winter testing

Postby triple j motorsport » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:57 pm

Hopefully organise a FFZetec / Mono1800 test in March

Dust off the cob webs off test new tweeks and set ups against cars in the same class

Probably do a couple more later in the year too


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