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Old 12-10-2005, 10:53 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by syndr0me
This thread won't be as sexy as finding a new way to rehash the daily "what r best turing cars 4 asfalt" questions, but hopefully people will take a break from all the excitement and help out.

I've been trying to practice as much as possible (usually about 4 packs before the races start, and maybe one other night a week) to increase my comfort level with driving, and improve the lines I take around the track. People always say you should practice more, and I agree, but they don't say much about how you should practice.

During the IIC race, Barry Baker (that was me with the E&L question) was asked why drivers from overseas are dominating US drivers. I found it an especially interesting question, since it was happening with foams on carpet, which is sort of an American thing these days. Barry said that because they get a lot of practice driving on low traction surfaces, they learn how to take faster lines around the track, which benefits them even more when they're racing in high traction situations. And it seems to make sense that if you're more used to racing on high traction surfaces, you could develop bad habits, like "point & shoot" driving, instead of properly apexing corners and maintaining maximum corner speed.

So, when I practice, I want to practice smart. Even though I race foams on carpet, would it be more advantageous to practice with something that's lower traction so I get a better feel for the car, and how to get it around corners quickly without relying on the foam tire crutch, or other bad habits? Are there exercises or other things you can try to maximize the benefit of practice time other than simply driving the track over and over? To supplement practice sessions, I've spent a bit of time watching videos of big races (like the IIC) and studied the lines good drivers take. I've also read some of the driving theory pages I've seen linked here, which has helped fill in some gaps.

So, instead of "practice more," perhaps we can expound upon that and talk about how and what to practice. I know there are a lot of professional drivers that lurk on this board. Maybe you guys can chime in on what you did (or do) during practice to help refine your skills, outside of the time you spend at actual races.
Here are my thoughts on this. You ask if you should practice on rubber tire for your foam tire racing. No you should not. Whenever I am preparing for a major event I will practice as much as I can with that class. For example, US Indoor Champs, I practiced atleast 4 days a week at about 10-11 packs a day with my foam tire TC. I was constantly testing small changes(camber, caster, camber links, ect) on my car and going back and fourth between those changes. When you practice a lot you gain a lot of knowledge on how your car works. I also practice full races. I will use my team Orion lap counter and stage a five minute race. I will write each run down with laptimes and overall run. I will then compare lap to lap on how consistent the car was. Alot of times you can make your car faster but less consistent. Throughout the day I will compare my five minute races and see where I ended up. By doing this you will start to gain a lot of consistency with lap times and with your overall runs. At Cleveland this year all my runs were within two seconds of each other in TC. In 1/12, the runs just improved everytime I hit the track by about 3 seconds per qualifier. That was good considering I only ran my new CRC ride 3 battery packs before I got to Cleveland.
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Old 12-10-2005, 10:56 AM   #47
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I think different types of practice will help different racers in various ways.

A lot of track time will help in massive amounts to new racers and racers who have been away from the sport for a long time (like myself). Just getting a feel for what a car does with a simple, baseline setup can go a VERY long way in improving a racer's ability and confidence.

Practice and testing will help more seasoned drivers and those looking to extract a tenth of a second from each lap. They will structure their practice time much differently than I would, if given a full day of track time. I'm looking for time improvements, too, but my steps will be in much bigger chunks, because I'm still trying to run a clean 5 or 8 minutes in a row. Wasting expensive tires and batteries on raw track time doesn't make sense to a lot of new drivers, as the bulk of their money is spent on at least getting good equipment. I don't think that necessarily using your best stuff for practice in these instances is needed for everyone. I'm certainly not going to use a new body, new tires and the best packs I have to go out and pound laps in on a practice day. When I will be in the position to scrape off tenths and hundreths (few of us are), then the race gear will be there for practice days.


Just another viewpoint from someone who only races maybe once a month, and needs tracktime for more than just tweaking a setup.
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:25 PM   #48
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radio time is radio time no matter what practice all you can. especially onroad courses. I am rather fortunate it doesn't take me long to learn a new layout. but I still practice as much as I can because keeping it clean makes a huge difference.
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Old 12-10-2005, 08:39 PM   #49
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Its crazy, but it took me years to get the practice I needed and the fact that tamiya doesn't exactly give out awesome setups for their touring cars like associated does. I only get to run on race days and thats usually 2 quals and 1 main of 5mins each. And of course ALL the time spent on tuning trying to figure out what the car likes and what I can handle on any particular day.
I did improve though, and I've learned that to be fast you dont necessarly need to use the brakes...Shaft drive's notorious effect of deceleration on abscence of throttle really transfers weight to the front and all you have to do is turn at the right moment. Full throttle, neutral, turn, full throttle. But consistency is what wins races.
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Old 12-10-2005, 08:47 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Hodge
Here are my thoughts on this. You ask if you should practice on rubber tire for your foam tire racing. No you should not. Whenever I am preparing for a major event I will practice as much as I can with that class. For example, US Indoor Champs, I practiced atleast 4 days a week at about 10-11 packs a day with my foam tire TC. I was constantly testing small changes(camber, caster, camber links, ect) on my car and going back and fourth between those changes. When you practice a lot you gain a lot of knowledge on how your car works. I also practice full races. I will use my team Orion lap counter and stage a five minute race. I will write each run down with laptimes and overall run. I will then compare lap to lap on how consistent the car was. Alot of times you can make your car faster but less consistent. Throughout the day I will compare my five minute races and see where I ended up. By doing this you will start to gain a lot of consistency with lap times and with your overall runs. At Cleveland this year all my runs were within two seconds of each other in TC. In 1/12, the runs just improved everytime I hit the track by about 3 seconds per qualifier. That was good considering I only ran my new CRC ride 3 battery packs before I got to Cleveland.

Todd i agree with you that the more you practice, you get faster, and you get more knowledge of you car. But what bout me, i can only have access to the track once a week, and that is race night! i only get to run 1 pack for practice, and that is when the track is just laid out. Any ideas for me?
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:00 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex_kipper
Todd i agree with you that the more you practice, you get faster, and you get more knowledge of you car. But what bout me, i can only have access to the track once a week, and that is race night! i only get to run 1 pack for practice, and that is when the track is just laid out. Any ideas for me?
Alex there is no hope for you
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:05 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by koabich
My personal philosopy is that I am to buy the best equipment available. That way I cannot blame the fact that I suck on anything other than myself
In complete agrrement with you on this point, it's what I (aspire to) do. This way I only have my lack of driving talent to blame, as I can be sure the equipment I use is the bext possible. Does help to take some guess woul out of the equation...
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:03 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by subman
Alex there is no hope for you
Well subman, thats not true...since im lapping you almost every 4 laps i do
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:18 AM   #54
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If you are practicing for the race that day, then yes.... go with a race ready setup. But, if you are just practicing to improve lines, get faster, there is no replacement for stick time. The more time you get to drive, the better you will be. I do believe in less traction makes a better driver when there is traction. If you practice on a loose track, it is going to teach you throttle control. When you get to a big track, with tons of traction, it will feel a lot different, but you will be able to save the car when it gets out in the loose stuff. A lot of people in more inclimate regions play indoors for the winter. Does this mean that they will pick up where they left off in Nitro class when they wheel it again? No, it will take a little getting used to it again, but they will be better off because they still have all those reflexes that they didn't let go into hibernation over the winter. Plus, carpet racing is fun.
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Old 12-11-2005, 11:38 AM   #55
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Depending on availability and willingness to drive (for example, some of us only have 1 or two tracks in our state ), try and race at as many tracks as possible. The more places you race, the more consistent you will become each time you run, no matter where it's at.

Local fast guys shouldn't have that taken away from them, but often times you will see guys who are fast at one certain track, but when they go somewhere else they uncharacteristically struggle due to different conditions or inability to adapt to a new layout. It just shows that learning to master one place doesn't nesasarily make you a better racer, just better from memory and limited changes needed. Running different layouts and conditions can make you learn from mistakes, and also teach you how to adapt your car for when you go somewhere in the future.
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Old 12-11-2005, 12:43 PM   #56
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I think there is something to be said about video games and their importance in preparing the mind for racing.

Most mornings before I go to the track I put one of the racing games I have on PS2 on practice mode and run about a few 10 minute sessions and consintrate on consistant laptimes. When I hit the R/C track for practice my mind is already "set."

Just works for me being more consistant at the track.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:06 PM   #57
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Weliin, I never thought about that but that is a great idea. It allows you to practice your eye to hand coordination which is essential to driving and being consistent on the track. I still think that there is no real substitute to track time, but video games are a good tool to assist a driver. That being said, I also think that the best practice a person can get is just simply racing with others on the track. With the addition of other cars on the track you learn not only how to drive your own line, but you also learn how to work through traffic and still keep a fast line. If you don't learn how to keep a fast line while working with traffic then you will still be ill prepared for actual race settings. Plus I don't know about anyone else but generally I drive differently when in heated competition then I do when on the track alone. However if you are practicing alone, just concentrate on your drive line and trying to keep your speed through the turns. Generally with stock motors on carpet you can really tell if you are driving a good line or not, because you don't have that extra horse power to compensate for a bad line and you aren't overpowering the car. This is a great topic to see how others utilize their practice time and see what works for them.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:19 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fathead
I must say the best thing I ever did for my driving skill is buy a 12th scale, they are the most difficult onroad car to drive, especially fast, and after almost a whole season just running 12th I got back into my TC3 and it was a cakewalk
That is EXACTLY why I bought a 12th scale
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:51 PM   #59
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Over the past 5 years of racing, nothing has helped me more than Track time. Every time I practice I try and set a goal for the night or what I would like to accomplish every month. While this may seem like it will take too long, it actually does not. Set realistic goals so you don't let yourself down and get fed up with racing. I used to rpactice 2 or 3 times a week before I started to work, and it really helped a lot with being consistent. If you are consistent and don't wreck, you automatically go faster.
~~Goals
~~Track time
~~Being supported or suportive of others.
My top 3 for how to be successful on a practice day.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:54 PM   #60
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I agree as much wheel tracktime you can get is always important. I also do write down my laptimes with my orion lap counter. Lately I have been trying the AMB system that verbally announces your times. That also help in finding a line.

Racing is only a hobby to me I cannot afford going to practice 3 or 4 times a week running 10 to 12 packs. My next best solution is I have a serpent RC PC device, use my RC radio and play games like ReVolt, RC Xtreme, Mini Cars, etc... If prepping for a big race I try to do these games 1 to 2 hours a day for a at least 2 weeks before the race. I know my goal for next year is to actually build a 3D track for a big race I goto exactly to specs in ReVolt, berms, plowdiscs and all.... Playing videogames does not replace practice time but it can give you a comfort level especially when facing 9 others on a driverstand.
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