Tom1200 HalfDork
3/6/18 12:07 a.m.

So I had a race two weeks ago and after seeing the video (I'm in the red Datsun 1200 directly in front of the camera car) I now know why my competitors are taken aback at the way I drive the car.

Ignore the wobbly back end in turn as I'm half in the marbles and sawing at the wheel like a feind. Going up the hill the car in front of me braked way early, you can see me get off and back on the brakes.

The camera car does a banzai on the brakes to get by (minute 4:55 or so) and later admitted he nearly went off. He was also struggling with a fuel starvation issue.

Sadly the motor went kablamo on lap three or so (you can see me parked by the corner station) 

Despite how much the car moves around it's actually a massive improvement over how it was before. All of the bushings in the rear shackles are a mix of aluminum and poly (per the Nismo prep manual). We may finally have to put a panhard or watts link but first I'll be changing the rear dampers which are likely past their sell by date.

More then one driver has said their initial reaction to the way I drive the car is one of total alarm but then once they realized I drive it like this everywhere lap after lap they're good with it. As a committed loose nut I find the handling just fine (it actually is) but I'm more comfortable with oversteer than most.

Note the cars around me are 3-4 seconds a lap faster once the tires warm up, since I'm comfortable on cold tires I mange to mix it up with them for the first few laps. Despite getting really good drive off corners I still get reeled in at the end of the straights. No shock considering the other cars have between 50-90 more horsepower than my poor little car.

Of course my reaction to the video was pretty much the same as most other drivers first encounter with it.......jeez that thing moves around a lot must be a loose nut behind the wheel.


snailmont5oh HalfDork
3/6/18 1:09 a.m.

He couldn't have been that worried about going off when he passed you, because he only had one hand on the wheel!  

Is it wrong that I really didn't have a problem with how much your car moves around?  Of course, one of my favorite things to do is watch the St. Mary's Trophy race, and whatever they renamed the one with the 7-liter Galaxies and Fairlanes last year at the Goodwood Revival, or Members Meeting, or whatever they call it now. 

I *would* like to see the view from inside the 1200. 

chuckles Dork
3/6/18 5:23 a.m.

Looks like fun.


Be careful of the idea that you like cold tires. You'll go out early one day while the track is still a little dusty and find yourself bushwhacking.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/6/18 6:36 a.m.

Smooth and boring is usually faster. 

Tom1200 HalfDork
3/6/18 8:48 p.m.

I should have mentioned the car is on Hoosier bias ply tires which contributes to the car moving around

Dean yes totally agreed smooth and boring is usually faster but in the 1200 it's 2 seconds a lap slower. My friend described the way I drive the car as slippery smooth, you have to 4 wheel drift it everywhere. I don't drive my Formula 500 this way that's for sure.

Basically the little bit of speed aggressively rotating the car scrubs is more than made up by having the throttle pinned longer. Note the car is floored by  the middle of turn two, it's floored from the tight right hairpin at the top of the hill, from the double apex  left hander at the end of the Essex down to the house and from the apex of the last corner (after the chicane). 

Snailmont5oh I love love Goodwood and clearly I don't have to much problem with how much the car moves around cause I keep during it that way. My buddy who calls the driving style slippery smooth makes the comment "hey those guys drive like you do".  The members meeting is this month. As for the in car the post open laps footage isn't  particularly entertaining but the first two laps usually are. I run a catch all class and usually there isn't anyone in my class so my whole goal is to try and get as high an overall finish as possible. To that end I need to pass as many cars as possible while they are all jammed up on the straights. I get a better drive off the corners but toward the end of the straights they're going 5-10 mph faster. I either finish 100ft ahead of the next car or get nipped just before the finish. I'll see if I can dig out some footage. As for the 510 driver the reason he has one hand on the wheel is he was struggling a tiny bit with the newly installed  dog ring gearbox, you can see the wheel snap in his hand and the tires chirping. He was pretty out shape. 

Chuckles I've done probably 100 autocrosses with the car and I've got a lot of experience driving hard on stone cold tires.

There is clearly some kind of oscillation going on with the rear suspension that needs sorting. The oversteer and the weary backend may well be separate issue. 

Tom1200 HalfDork
3/6/18 9:29 p.m.

OK go to minute 24 in this video; this is when the car had the smaller motor and 25 less horsepower. The track width was also 3 inches narrower. While I still slid the car around it wasn't nearly as unruly, it was also much slower. We've improved it by 12 seconds per lap from 2010 and it's 15 seconds faster than it was in 2003. The trap speed has gone from 98 to 111. 

intrepid New Reader
3/6/18 10:28 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200:

Yep, narrow bias ply tires demand a radically different driving style than you typically see today. Check out the slip angles in this formula jr. clip from last years Monterey reunion...

-chris r.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/7/18 6:16 a.m.

In reply to intrepid :

Holy cow that looks fun.surprise 

WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/7/18 9:14 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

In reply to intrepid :

Holy cow that looks fun.surprise 

That's what I was just thinking. I want a little open wheel car!

kb58 SuperDork
3/7/18 9:40 a.m.

Mental note to self: no helmet camera mount.

Fun video to watch for the sliding about but the camera moving around undid much of the fun.

kb58 SuperDork
3/7/18 9:47 a.m.

Watched the rest of the formula car video. Have mixed feelings about him not coming in and checking the car over after his off. On the one hand I understand the want to stay out and finish what he started. On the other hand, I experienced a similar spin at Willow Springs and had I not come in, would have ended up driving on three(!) flat tires due to rocks breaking the tire beads.

sleepyhead Dork
3/7/18 10:05 a.m.
WonkoTheSane said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:

In reply to intrepid :

Holy cow that looks fun.surprise 

That's what I was just thinking. I want a little open wheel car!

Watching Goodwood Revival, some of this formula stuff (including V), and I keep thinking there's a need for a simple, skinny tire, torsion-beam suspension open wheel class powered by Zero Motorcycle components

JBasham HalfDork
3/7/18 11:56 a.m.

Man, I thought my '79 323i Euro was a polished turd on the track, but now I realize it's a unicorn with a rainbow on one flank and a fairy princess on the other.

Tom1200 HalfDork
3/7/18 11:40 p.m.

OK Snailmont5oh see the above in car video; be forewarned most of it is desperately dull, the camera angle is wrong, the sound is fair.  Skip ahead to minute 17 that's where the race starts. You can see what I'm doing due to the reflection on the windshield in the upper left. What you can't see is the Formula Vee I'm working hard to hold off. At 27:54 he pulls off an amazing pass, I was holding him up big time, I was going to have to let him past as we were starting to fall back into the clutches of an Elva sports racer. The battle was slowing us both down. At the top of the hill you can repeatedly see me miss the apex, the Vee could go much deeper on the brakes and between that and the brake chatter (rotors had a high spot/ pick up) I'd end up in to deep. 

As for the Formula Junior; it appears to be on Dunlops CR65s, I've driven on a similar tire (Avon ACB9), these tires are quite tall probably a 70 series or taller tire. The side walls have a huge windup and you can hang them way out, it's as fun as it looks. They are not a cheap tire at $1300 a set for 13" tire. I wouldn't have come in either after the spin, as tall as the tires are you'd probably flip the car in the gravel before you wedged rocks in bead. 

Our Preferred Partners