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patgizz
patgizz GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/2/09 2:06 p.m.

i am never afraid in anticipation of racing - i think the adrenaline rush takes care of that.

the only time i've ever been afraid on the track was when i lost brakes at 95mph

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/2/09 2:11 p.m.

Not in AutoX (well apart from being afraid of doing badly!). Open track stuff can get scary in close passes, and offroad stuff can get VERY scary. You're doing the same kind of surface-skimming rally drivers are used to, but on a much bigger scale. Sometimes the truck is a good few inches off the ground, skimming over high points on a very rough trail. It also doesn't feel good to be driving alongside a cliff. Taking a jump badly is pretty scary too. Being on any kind of lateral incline is scary, not because of stability but because you don't have that much control over where you go on them. The more you move forward and back the further you slide down the incline. Straddling crevasses that could swallow a side of the truck and leave you wedged in there is scary.

The really scary stuff is found when offroading recreationally. You get a really gut-wrenching fear when you drive onto sand (one of the most treacherous surfaces) without realizing it and you have to reverse out. When you stop, the truck sinks a very noticeable distance It's a little preview of the feeling you'll get if you go out by yourself and get yourself stuck. Getting stuck in a group is almost as scary - don't cross a river to help recover another truck stuck in a river crossing luckily we got ourselves out of that one...

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Reader
9/2/09 4:01 p.m.

I never had fear when autocrossing. I normally had no fear when racing wheel-to-wheel; when I did, it was when I realized I had no more options and I had to take the hit. For example, turn one at PIR (Phoenix), come into it flat out only to discover the track is blocked and I have no where to go. That's fear. But not in the race. When I'm in the car I have the feedback from the car telling me what it can do, and it reassures me. I don't drive past what the car can do. But later, at night, lying in bed thinking about what I had done, when I no longer have the feedback to tell me I'm still within the envelope, then sometimes there's some fear. I guess that fear is also because I know I'll do it again.

Any time working up to taking a high-speed turn without lifting, there's overcoming fear. For example, doing smaller and smaller lifts into turn 9 at Willow Springs, or taking turn 10 at Sears Point flat. There's some fear there. Willow turn 2 is another one.

The other time where I get some fear is driving someone else's high-dollar car. And the fear is that someone else might hit me, or spin and block the track, or have a mechanical failure, where it's not my fault but I might still be blamed. That's a tough one to deal with. But I just listen to the car, if it's happy, I push a little harder until the car's not happy anymore. Unless I'm racing someone else's car, then it comes down to the owner's expectations. If the owner wants to take the risk then I'll drive it right to the edge.

David

car39
car39 Reader
9/2/09 4:17 p.m.

Autox: more fear of farking up then getting hurt. Track days: I'm nervous before I go out, once I'm out I'm too busy having fun. I had my "Oh Shoot" moment last year at an event, and now will only run hard with people I know. I learned to give myself some room to dodge someone else's mistake. The idea of risking life and limb for a $8.00 trophy I could order from the supplier if I really wanted one does not make sense.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Marketing / Club Coordinator
9/2/09 4:30 p.m.
poopshovel wrote: I get scared driving someone else's car.

Me too. I'm pretty much convinced I'm not going to meet my fate driving a car, but I know that I can't afford to replace somebody else's nice track machine.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
9/2/09 4:38 p.m.
walterj wrote: I am never, ever scared or even apprehensive when I'm in the car. I guess I'm just not wired that way.

Ditto...my brain just doesn't work that way. I have scared myself on my motorcycle a few times, but reflecting on my fear, I was only scared AFTER I just about wiped out, not before. Since I'm usually the head wrench on race day, I will say I get a bit of anxiety about making sure I can keep the car on the track, as I don't want to let my teammates/friends down. I don't have much of an appetite for a day or two and I have a hard time falling asleep (especially for the 24 hour races). The anxiety is never from driving, I only get it as head wrench (even when crewing for somebody else when I know I won't be driving).

Bryce

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones Reader
9/2/09 6:16 p.m.

I used to be pretty level headed on the track. Nervous before the start but then soon as I'm in the zone I could run at the edge of the friction circle lap after lap (until fatigue took over).

But then I got taken out @ the runoffs -> Runoffs hit and I now have to reset my head & concentrate on pushing. Sometimes it felt like there was a red hot iron under the throttle pedal & I had this unnatural reaction to lift when I know I shouldn't (high speed corners).

Weird stuff :)

Kendall

Hal
Hal HalfDork
9/2/09 6:38 p.m.

When I was in my 20's I did a lot of Auto-X, some Time Trials and some dirt circle track racing. Like 44 Dwarf I took some wild rides on the dirt tracks.

Auto-X and the dirt track were never a problem. I was too focused on the job at hand to worry about anything. There was a little apprehension, not strong enough to call fear when running the time trials.

I attribute this to the cars I was running. For Auto-X I had a dedicated car and 3 parts cars if I messed up. The dirt track car was a "jalopy class" car made out of junkyard parts. So unless I blew the engine it would be easy to fix.

My time trial car was my DD. So I was always a little worried about damage to the car. Therefore I was cautious with my driving and probably didn't go as fast as I could have.

Moparman
Moparman Reader
9/2/09 8:46 p.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard:

I have been scared while autocrossing, but not for my own safety. I have been scared that I will do something whochmakes me look like an idiot or break my car. Sometimes I would be scared to the point of nausea. That's what is reminds me I am alive. If something doesn't make you a little bit scared it probably isn't worth doing.

fastmiata
fastmiata New Reader
9/2/09 8:57 p.m.

In 20+ years of racing at the club level I really cant recall a moment on track when I was overcome by fear. I can say that as commented above, I do truly believe that I am safer on track(all prepared to wreck and survive it) than I am on the interstate. I know the capabilities of my car and spend most of my time between races working to perfect my car.
I spent most of my racing years on Road Atlanta's pre-chicane course and know the importance of staying calm in the face of the challenge of running the Dip at full throttle and charging the Bridge in 4th. I am more comfortable racing with some drivers than others but had faith in my car's capabilities. Funny thing is that I had my best wrecks at what I consider one of the safest racing courses: Roebling Road. I was upside down 2x and on top of another Sports Renault on another occasion. The only course that really caused me concern was what is now known as Lowe's Speedway: turn one/two could be the tunnel of death(or at least of shortened feet/legs) .

I do recall the worst moment of apprehension when I qualified on the pole in ITA for the SIC(my first pole ever in a borrowed car to make it even better) and just didnt want to mess up in front of everyone. I rolled the car on lap 5 while leading to make my nightmare complete. Again while I knew that there were risks involved, I always felt "safe" on the race track. The tow home was really the scary part now that I think about it.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado HalfDork
9/2/09 9:10 p.m.

I was never afraid in a race car (I only raced two seasons, I don't think I ever got fast enough to get in over my head) until I totaled an ITC Mazda 323 in the infield at Charlotte. It snapped a balljoint in 3b, struck the drivers' left guardrail, and did a half-endo and three rolls. Broke the stock seat mount (legal then), and I flopped around like a mackerel on the pier.

The two months after that were painful. I was afraid on the drive home. I was afraid commuting to work every day. The only thing that eventually cleared it was a very informal track day at Talledega GPR (before the redesign). At first, every time the car would go into a normal drift, I'd start shaking..but by the end of the day my confidence was back. I'm still curious as to how I'd feel though if I ever got into a real race car again (I quit because of divorce, not the fear), and how I would have dealt with it if that track day had been on a faster course.

It doesn't bother me to autocross..except that I don't have the art of learning the course down yet, and I've skipped an entire section twice. On the complicated courses, I'm scared of hitting one of the workers.

confuZion3
confuZion3 SuperDork
9/2/09 9:17 p.m.

I'm always a little scared coming into turn 1 at Pocono North coming off the tri-oval and flying through a 100 MPH kind into the infield with JUST enough room to straighten it out and brake. Sometimes, the brakes just aren't there. There's nothing to hit, but the dirt looks brutal.

Summit Point's Shenandoah circuit scares me a bit too. There are a lot of hard concrete walls right off the sides of the course. I went through the bowl a little fast one time and came flying out the top and went off course a bit. Like riding a slingshot. That was kinda scary too.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/2/09 10:38 p.m.

Wow, thanks for all the responses. I am always so impressed with all the different types of people we have on this board, yet how they all seem to get along and have fun, yet intelligent responses.

ProjectVIN
ProjectVIN New Reader
9/3/09 10:59 p.m.
confuZion3 wrote: Summit Point's Shenandoah circuit scares me a bit too. There are a lot of hard concrete walls right off the sides of the course. I went through the bowl a little fast one time and came flying out the top and went off course a bit. Like riding a slingshot. That was kinda scary too.

I've only done one PDX (SCCA's HPDE) so far, no auto-x. As for the banked karussell, I kept reminding myself of the quote from some famous racing driver that the karussell was not a place where it was worth making up time... It's like a mini Bristol with no retaining wall in sight, like those sprint-car dirt tracks where the cars go flipping into the woods. I had no fear because I wasn't going to push it in that particular corner. What I also wasn't going to do was go through Little Bend into Big Bend flat. I lifted between the two so I always had reserve throttle. The fear is that I know I'll be back, and I know eventually I'm going to do that section flat, and I know the front tires will be making alot of noise in my FWD car. It's probably going to be a breakthrough moment for me, but oh why does that wall have to be so close!

GlennS
GlennS HalfDork
9/4/09 12:25 a.m.

With enough valium you will fear no corner, no matter how perilous. You will also be completely unable to drive the car so im not sure how this will help you.

NOHOME
NOHOME New Reader
9/4/09 8:00 a.m.

Can't recall who said it but it is true:

If you are not emotionally and financially prepared to leave your car and health in the dumpster, then you should not be racing.

I used to enjoy track days with the MG. However, I was mid pack fodder and not getting any better. Took an instructor for a drive. He complimented me on my line and smoothness, however he told me that I seemed unwilling to go that extra bit to where disaster lurked just inches away.

Decided I would build them, and let others wreck them.

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
9/4/09 8:09 a.m.

I've mentioned this in my columns to some extent.

Rally scares the crap out of me, but is also thrilling to the same degree. Not enough, however, to overcome my fear of leaving my family without me. So..no more rally for me.

Autocrossing doesn't scare me at all, but gives me enough adrenaline to act as a methadone maintenance program.

And with road racing, I'm always worried about the jackknobs around me. I'd rather just worry about my own skin than have someone else take me out of the game.

So..my current solution is to build the fastest autocross car I can.

walterj
walterj Dork
9/4/09 8:26 a.m.
Per Schroeder wrote: And with road racing, I'm always worried about the jackknobs around me. I'd rather just worry about my own skin than have someone else take me out of the game. So..my current solution is to build the fastest autocross car I can.

It seems like you would enjoy Time Attack (solo I) - gobs more track time, speed and adrenaline than auto-x, sans the knobs.

With regard to the wheel-to-wheel, at least as far as club/amateur racing... there seem to be very few actual injuries. It's safe to me compared to my morning commute, at least everyone is all trying to go the same direction. I have seen a lot of bent cars and stitches but serious injury and death are very rare. Statistically speaking, I have no real idea so for my own piece of mind I'll say probably about equivalent to being eaten by wolves.

Per Schroeder
Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
9/4/09 8:30 a.m.

I think part of it is that I'm also a little car conscious and I'd rather not have to deal with fixing someone else's mistake. Do_not_mind fixing my own.

Oh, and I get bored going around the same track over and over.

Luke
Luke Dork
9/4/09 8:36 a.m.

Gameboy brings up a good point. Fear when offroading. That's the only time I've ever been properly scared behind the wheel. (Namely, descending a steep sand dune in my Uncle's Defender, and coming close to tipping it.) Off road, everything is happening at a slower pace, so you have time to assess the consequences of your next move, which results in fear and trepidation. Mind you, in my case, all that can be chalked up to inexperience. With practice comes confidence, obviously.

walterj
walterj Dork
9/4/09 8:42 a.m.
Per Schroeder wrote: I think part of it is that I'm also a little car conscious and I'd rather not have to deal with fixing someone else's mistake. Do_not_mind fixing my own. Oh, and I get bored going around the same track over and over.

So you prefer a quick test of skill, and no damage to your car... How about kart racing then. Its cheap, fast, short duration and still has the intensity (probably more if the bruises are an indication)...you can auto-x them too so you aren't giving anything up.

I am not telling you anything you don't already know... more like I'm trying to convince myself. I can't seem to make the leap from tin tops but on paper the kart is the answer to all of my racing problems regarding cost/space/towing/value etc. My son is learning on a CRG cadet chassis this season so there is also a family aspect looming. I just can't seem to fall in love even though I'm pumped after a 20 min sprint.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/4/09 9:05 a.m.
fastmiata wrote: I can say that as commented above, I do truly believe that I am safer on track(all prepared to wreck and survive it) than I am on the interstate.

+1. Driving on public roads with a bunch of inattentive soccer moms in bigass SUVs is the scariest experience on wheels! Does the next corner have a pothole that will rip a wheel off of you? Who knows. Will some stoner walk out into the road ahead of you? Maybe. Will that idiot behind you somehow manage to lock up his brakes if you stop suddenly for said stoner? You can bet on it. Will your ABS-and-EBD-less car be able to stop when the Merc driver ahead of you suddenly unleashes all his braking power to talk to his buddy on the side of the road? Of course not, so you better hope you gave him some space.

bigwrench
bigwrench Reader
9/4/09 9:14 a.m.
Per Schroeder wrote: I've mentioned this in my columns to some extent. Rally scares the crap out of me, but is also thrilling to the same degree. Not enough, however, to overcome my fear of leaving my family without me. So..no more rally for me. Autocrossing doesn't scare me at all, but gives me enough adrenaline to act as a methadone maintenance program. And with road racing, I'm always worried about the jackknobs around me. I'd rather just worry about my own skin than have someone else take me out of the game. So..my current solution is to build the fastest autocross car I can.

I was told when I started running Pro Rally to put the title to the car in a trash can and wait for the day you empty it. My family knows if it happens to me on course, I was doing what I loved and was running on that high. My one daughter was 2 when I started bouncing off trees.

RobL
RobL Reader
9/4/09 9:27 a.m.

I've done some of the most scary things imaginable. I rock climb and took a 30' lead fall ~500' above the ground . The 2-5 seconds leading up to the fall and the 2 seconds of falling was possibly the most scared I've even been. And at that point, we still needed to finish the climb so I had to man up and keep going up.

When it comes to cars, I've hit a pole at an autocross and had $14k in damage to the car. I was apprehensive about driving for a while but got over it. I started doing HPDEs and actually find them boring since I'm only driving at 95% or so. Racing is a whole lot more fun but I still don't find it scary but then I've never looped a car or have had a hard hit on track yet. The most apprehensive I've been in a car has been teaching at HPDE schools. The guys with no experience and want to go fast in fast cars scare me (Vettes, Ferraris, a guy with a V8 swapped Miata, M5s). They all seem to think that their car will save them.

I want to get into performance rally in the next couple of years.

iceracer
iceracer HalfDork
9/4/09 9:27 a.m.

Is it fear when you decide not to do something. Such as bungee jumping or holding the pedal down when going down the downhill at LRP. Or is that good judgement. As far as running the Shenandoah circuit. What walls, I never noticed no walls.

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