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LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
11/25/18 7:59 p.m.

In reply to steronz :

I agree about the whole “too much mechanical grip” thing. It can really slow your progress.

I started doing HPDE events in the ‘90s with a bone-stock E30 318is ... with all-season tires on stock 14” wheels. No driver aids except LSD and a very primitive ABS system. Between that and learning to drive in the snow/ice during 6 long Canadian winters, I learned to slide the car around and preserve momentum.

If you start with massive grip, huge power, and strong brakes you’ll still learn that stuff. It just takes longer 

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
11/26/18 9:00 a.m.

You answered your own question. People just don’t know. A lot of people don’t figure it out for themselves and some people can’t get their car to that limit without a little guidance and some people don’t honestly know. 

You have to remember, even with fundamentals, people aren’t going to know. That’s the whole point of teaching and learning. 

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
11/26/18 9:34 a.m.

I think there are basically two definitions of throttle steer that people use, which confused me a lot initially.  Let me explain.  

Many have also mentioned the "tamer" version of throttle steer, and how to find it on a skip pad or something like it.  Eg, hold steering angle and vary throttle, and see the change in the arc of the turn.  Easy enough.  However, the lesson here is that more throttle = longer arc and less throttle tightens the line.  

The more "racing" version that I learned, but initially confused me, is basically breaking the rear tires loose in a turn (hopefully on track).  It took a few sessions for me to understand this from my instructor, so finally he just asked me to stab the throttle mid turn in a relatively high speed corner, and it finally clicked.  Since my FRS is not a torque monster, the throttle stab didn't send me into a death spin, but the extra torque did move/slip the rear by about 5-7 degrees and it was easily noticed.  Basically he was saying I could induce oversteer at that speed, in my car, on track, and not worry about spinning.  And since the oversteer was induced by the throttle, it's throttle steer...  Except in this instance, is the *opposite* of the definition that's used above, because more throttle = tigher arc.  

Didn't have that much to add but thought it might be useful to clarify, as it could be confusing to some reading thinking that some people are talking about one thing, and others are talking about something else.  :)

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
11/26/18 11:45 a.m.

In reply to bcp2011 :

Not to be too finicky, but what you’re describing is what many (most?) people would call “power oversteer” to differentiate it from “trailing throttle oversteer” (TTO).

When people talk about “throttle steering” they’re generally referring to a mild/gentle form of TTO.

As for power oversteer and its utility in a race setting, the general goal is to enter a corner as fast as possible to generate maximum lateral grip. If you’re at that limit, then you shouldn’t  really be able to add a whole lot more throttle. If you can add a bunch of throttle, then that’s a sign you could have entered the corner a little hotter. 

Knurled.
Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/26/18 12:07 p.m.

In reply to LanEvo :

Agreed.  If you are breaking the tires loose with acceleration or brakes, you are no longer steering the car with the throttle.

 

This is kinda why I laugh at the idea of learning this kind of car control in the winter.  There isn't enough grip in slippery conditions to effectively control the car with weight transfer.

spandak
spandak Reader
11/26/18 12:23 p.m.

In reply to LanEvo :

Would it still be power oversteer if the tires haven’t broken loose? I used to be able to do what bcp2011 is describing in my E36 (at least what I think he is saying.) On power in a turn the rear tires would slip more without actually spinning and the car would turn sharper. Is this what you’re talking about?

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
11/26/18 12:26 p.m.

In reply to spandak :

How that behaves depends a bit on suspension geometry.  Some cars will push more or just step the tail out under power, others will bite and pull in a bit tighter with some rearwards weight transfer.  

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/26/18 12:37 p.m.
rslifkin said:

In reply to spandak :

How that behaves depends a bit on suspension geometry.  Some cars will push more or just step the tail out under power, others will bite and pull in a bit tighter with some rearwards weight transfer.  

It could be caused by a geometry that has rear toe-out under compression.

At this year's Challenge the C4 corvette/wagon seemed to rotate under power at least as much as it did under neutral throttle, I thought I was on the verge of breaking the rear loose on the first few corners until I figured out that the car just turns like that!

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
11/26/18 12:42 p.m.
LanEvo said:

In reply to bcp2011 :

Not to be too finicky, but what you’re describing is what many (most?) people would call “power oversteer” to differentiate it from “trailing throttle oversteer” (TTO).

When people talk about “throttle steering” they’re generally referring to a mild/gentle form of TTO.

As for power oversteer and its utility in a race setting, the general goal is to enter a corner as fast as possible to generate maximum lateral grip. If you’re at that limit, then you shouldn’t  really be able to add a whole lot more throttle. If you can add a bunch of throttle, then that’s a sign you could have entered the corner a little hotter. 

So I think my point stands, as people (myself included, and also at least one of my instructors, hence my initial confusion mentioned above) are using the terminology in a way that's inconsistent. 

Now having said that, I don't think I was specifically talking about TTO (as it could also be TTU).  TTO, in my experience, is almost exclusively an outcome due to a mistake on the driver and done *unintentionally* (e.g., having lifted during a corner and upsetting the balance of the car and leading to a spin/slide).  Throttle steering (if there's still a pure definition), is in my mind exactly as I described - holding the steering angle, and using the throttle to increase or decrease the radius of the turn *intentionally* and without losing control

On your point about maximum grip - I agree that in my instance I was unlikely utilizing 100% of the grip.  Still a relative novice in the sport.  However, I've ridden in quite a few cars with competitive drivers where they're going between 95-105% of the limit using the throttle, so based on my experience "power oversteer" as you call it is very much part of driving at the limit (not stabbing in my example, but adjusting the throttle in tiny variations to achieve the line they want).   

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
11/26/18 12:44 p.m.
Knurled. said:

In reply to LanEvo :

Agreed.  If you are breaking the tires loose with acceleration or brakes, you are no longer steering the car with the throttle.

If a car's direction of travel and longitudinal axis changes with the intentional input of the throttle to achieve that goal, how is that not steering with the throttle?  

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
11/26/18 12:46 p.m.

In reply to spandak :

I think you're describing exactly what I'm saying.  I was exaggerating just a little to communicate the point - my tires don't actually spin either.  

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
11/26/18 12:47 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH :

Exactly.  On my Jeep, for example, body roll towards the outside of a turn steers the rear axle outwards a little.  So adding throttle adds more roll, which steers the rear axle out, reduces rear slip angle a little for a given amount of rotation and lets you reduce steering input slightly to hold the same line (which means less load on the front tires) and ends up with it having a bit more grip.  As an interesting effect of this, the more slick the surface you're on (and correspondingly the less body roll and roll steer you can generate at the limit), the more tail-happy it gets (as you lose that slip angle moderating effect of the roll steer).  

akylekoz
akylekoz Dork
11/26/18 2:09 p.m.

This was a really bad year for racing but I had a few shining moments at HDPE events.  The bus stop at Grattan in a perfect trail-braking opportunity, I either ease the clutch out while braking and turning in to rotate the rear, or if I totally whiff it a quick stab of the brakes with the left foot to induce a rotation.  At this point I transition to throttle to get the weight off the front so it will continue to turn, this is in a plows like a Deere Mustang.

A first for me this year was while playing with turn 10b at Gingerman a somewhat tight off camber sweeper.  I finally got to the point of adding throttle mid corner to induce a very gentle four wheel drift on my way out to the back straight.  I don't know if this is the fastest way around the corner but I really felt like gently throttle inputs could get me from smaller arc to larger arc or hold in the middle and just slide.  

It takes me a few hundred laps to get to the point that I can just fine tune on one corner at a time and just let the rest be good enough for now.  With each track having several corners I'll be at this for a while. 

Knurled.
Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/26/18 5:08 p.m.
spandak said:

In reply to LanEvo :

Would it still be power oversteer if the tires haven’t broken loose? I used to be able to do what bcp2011 is describing in my E36 (at least what I think he is saying.) On power in a turn the rear tires would slip more without actually spinning and the car would turn sharper. Is this what you’re talking about?

Huh.  I have never driven a RWD car that would oversteer on throttle like that.

 

I HAVE driven a few RWDs with tight limited slips or spools that would stop understeering if you accelerated, because the (always slipping, remember?) rear tires would shift from the inside pushing and the outside dragging, to both tires pushing.  This isn't really a weight transfer thing though.  Took very little throttle to do this.  Adding enough throttle to cause weight transfer effects would shift weight back and cause you to need more steering input, as expected.

Knurled.
Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/26/18 5:11 p.m.
bcp2011 said:
Knurled. said:

In reply to LanEvo :

Agreed.  If you are breaking the tires loose with acceleration or brakes, you are no longer steering the car with the throttle.

If a car's direction of travel and longitudinal axis changes with the intentional input of the throttle to achieve that goal, how is that not steering with the throttle?  

Tire spin is an uncontrolled event for the same reason locked brakes are an uncontrolled event.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/26/18 5:44 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

So a seasoned racer/instructor knows more about car control than two novices?  And thinks its odd that everyone isn't as amazing as he is?  That better-than-thou attitude is what kept me away from trying track days and instruction for a long time, everyone I talked to had the same superiority complex and loved rubbing their money/experience/talent/whatever in my face.  

It wasn't until I met some people who understood that not everyone has hours of track time to learn the finer points of car control. People who didn't poke fun of what I didn't know, but hopped in and showed me what they did know.  I'm still working on it, but I'm getting there on my own terms and at my own pace. 

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe UberDork
11/26/18 7:59 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

I wonder if this might have been easier to learn "back in the day" with bias ply race tires that operated over a larger slip angle range than modern tires. 

Significantly. I can do stupid things in my Thunderbird due to the bias plys. You need power though and brakes which most old cars do not have in spades.

bcp2011
bcp2011 Reader
11/26/18 9:46 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

Ok... isn’t “control” an input rather than output?  Do you think WRC guys aren’t steering with the throttle then?

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
11/26/18 9:54 p.m.

@pinchvlave I may be misreading your post but I never ever use a more holy than  thou attitude with students. One of the main reasons I instruct is I hate see poeople struggle, especially when there are a few basics I can share that will help them out. I treat this no different than if someone were running 80 psi in there tires and I know that the car will perform much better at 32 psi. If I can help a fellow car nut I'm more than happy to. 

As is standard for any instructor I ask what sort of experience you may have and then ask things based on experience level. Are you familiar with throttle steering, trail braking, can you heel and toe downshift etc. 

I routinely joke with people I instruct "what you've done 3 laps and you don't have this down yet"? I especially do this if I see them getting them frustrated. I also use the golf analogy of how hard can it be to whack a little white ball with a stick. Learning performance driving is one of the most difficult sports there is. 

My reaosn for posting this topic were two fold; firstly as is normal human nature I'm genuinely surprised that like minded people haven't  read some of the same books that a many of us have. Secondly modern cars function so well that one can drive them very rapidly without ever getting in depth into what guys like me who drive/race old cars consider the to be known fundamentals, so I was really wanting to know how deep this goes. Anything I can do to understand other poeples points of view will make me more useful to them. 

The fact that the hive (the most car obsessed group on the planet) isn't universally aware of these concepts gives me an answer as to how deep it goes. 

For the record any instructor who talks down to students and or acts arrogantly towards someone's lack of knowledge or skill level should be flogged with 5ft length of frayed wire harness...........these putzs do way more harm than good. It bums me out to here someone would behave this way towards someone looking to learn.

EDIT: yes the best thing you can do is go at your own pace, I love drivers who take a measured and methodical approach. Some people can do this in several events and others make take several years......in the end it doesn't matter, there is no one size fits all. If you're ever looking for any additional input or have any questions shoot me a PM as I'm happy to share what I know. 

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
11/26/18 11:15 p.m.

So I wanted to do this part of my reply separate from my reply to pinchvalve, hence this post.

As for the power sliding / drifting versus using an application of throttle to overcome the rear tires; while technically drifting is steering with the throttle it's obviously not what we're taking about here.  

I bring this up because all of these things are simply tools to try. Recently while having a conversation with a fellow competitor and the chief driving instructor for my  vintage organization, my fellow competitor told the chief driving instructor "Tom comes past and instead see the back of the car you see the side of it with Tom grinning and sawing away at the wheel" naturally said chief commented that less flamboyant is usually faster. I told him that I've tried driving the car in a very tidy manner as I do with my Formula 500 and it's a 1 1/2 a second a lap slower.

The best example I can give is turn 7 at my local track; it's an 83 mph right over a crest; if I go over the crest flat the back of the car starts sliding but then as you bottom out at the base of the hill the sudden weight tranfer catches the back end. This corner leads out onto a 300-350ft long straight. Race logic would lead one to believe that easing off over the crest preventing the slide and therefore scrubbing less speed would be faster but it's not. Because the car is so underpowered (99whp 1600lbs) the amount I need to back off to prevent the slide is way more than the car can recover through acceleration down the shirt shoot. Basically sliding over the crest nets about 2 mph at the end of the short chute.

So as noted in my post before this one I am genuinely surprised that more people aren't aware of various techniques at our disposal. I don't expect everyone to know these things but again I'm surprised more people don't. Perhaps if I had a steady girl friend when was 15 years old I wouldn't have spent so much time reading racing books. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/27/18 7:30 a.m.
Knurled. said:
bcp2011 said:
Knurled. said:

In reply to LanEvo :

Agreed.  If you are breaking the tires loose with acceleration or brakes, you are no longer steering the car with the throttle.

If a car's direction of travel and longitudinal axis changes with the intentional input of the throttle to achieve that goal, how is that not steering with the throttle?  

Tire spin is an uncontrolled event for the same reason locked brakes are an uncontrolled event.

So that's whats wrong with drifting. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltraDork
11/27/18 7:59 a.m.
Tom1200 said:

So I wanted to do this part of my reply separate from my reply to pinchvalve, hence this post.

As for the power sliding / drifting versus using an application of throttle to overcome the rear tires; while technically drifting is steering with the throttle it's obviously not what we're taking about here.  

I bring this up because all of these things are simply tools to try. Recently while having a conversation with a fellow competitor and the chief driving instructor for my  vintage organization, my fellow competitor told the chief driving instructor "Tom comes past and instead see the back of the car you see the side of it with Tom grinning and sawing away at the wheel" naturally said chief commented that less flamboyant is usually faster. I told him that I've tried driving the car in a very tidy manner as I do with my Formula 500 and it's a 1 1/2 a second a lap slower.

The best example I can give is turn 7 at my local track; it's an 83 mph right over a crest; if I go over the crest flat the back of the car starts sliding but then as you bottom out at the base of the hill the sudden weight tranfer catches the back end. This corner leads out onto a 300-350ft long straight. Race logic would lead one to believe that easing off over the crest preventing the slide and therefore scrubbing less speed would be faster but it's not. Because the car is so underpowered (99whp 1600lbs) the amount I need to back off to prevent the slide is way more than the car can recover through acceleration down the shirt shoot. Basically sliding over the crest nets about 2 mph at the end of the short chute.

So as noted in my post before this one I am genuinely surprised that more people aren't aware of various techniques at our disposal. I don't expect everyone to know these things but again I'm surprised more people don't. Perhaps if I had a steady girl friend when was 15 years old I wouldn't have spent so much time reading racing books. 

My short wheelbase (88”) high power, light weight 2090 Jaguar powered special had a locked rear end. 

Driving around a corner cost over 2.3 seconds a lap at Elkhart Lake compared to throwing the car sideways in certain corners and driving the corner on the throttle. Turn 5, 6 & Canada corner plus 14. 

Edit: 

Not all cars respond the same way.  My Corvette on the same track lost 1.7 sec. per lap using the toss it in and drive it out method.  While the tires were similar, power to weight was far worse and it had a positraction  rear end as opposed to the locked rear end of the Black Jack. 

But by having that ability I was able to effect a pass I couldn’t otherwise achieve  on several occasions. 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/27/18 8:21 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Thank you for the explanation, sorry that i got riled. You didn't catch me on a good night. 

The first track instructor that I had was awesome.  I was in a 4th Gen Civic with an aftermarket seat and 5-point harness.  He get into the passenger side, stock crappy Civic DX seat. He stares at me, glaring, as we wait for the motorized seatbelt to grind its way into place over about 60 seconds.  I got the point, why was his safety less important than mine?  I upgraded the passenger seat and belts before my next event. 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
11/27/18 10:05 a.m.

It's why I always preferred mid engine cars, you drive them as much with the throttle as you do the steering wheel.  After spending most of my autocross and track time in them, it's very difficult for me to go fwd.  I find them somewhat boring as all you can do is slow down if you have push, which most do.  Having a car you can actually steer with the throttle and control the rotation is something everyone needs to experience.  

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/27/18 10:23 a.m.
pinchvalve said:

In reply to Tom1200 :

Thank you for the explanation, sorry that i got riled. You didn't catch me on a good night. 

The first track instructor that I had was awesome.  I was in a 4th Gen Civic with an aftermarket seat and 5-point harness.  He get into the passenger side, stock crappy Civic DX seat. He stares at me, glaring, as we wait for the motorized seatbelt to grind its way into place over about 60 seconds.  I got the point, why was his safety less important than mine?  I upgraded the passenger seat and belts before my next event. 

That must have been awhile ago. Any organizing group I've driven with says the passenger safety equipment must match what the driver has.

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