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October 18, 2005

Drivers education and speed

Talking with a guy today and mentioned that maybe I was going overboard with the harnesses/seats and roll bar to which he responded that I was completely wrong. I made the comment that it's only a DE, not racing. He responded that the cars are so fast today that if you do spin in a bad place that it's not going to matter, it's going to hurt, a lot...

He's right, of course, even not pushing it at Brainerd means speeds of 130mph+ on the straights (into turn 1 and turn 3) and even turn 10 has a braking zone speed of 110. If you figure out the amount of kinetic energy you're carrying, it's a shitload! While 130 may not sound very fast in a car that can do 170+, try hitting something at that speed... I've seen charts showing that a delta V of 60mph is 2.5/3x over the fatal neck strain. A Hans or R3 brings it down to 60% of fatal and survivable but it's still a huge whack and what the Hans/R3 won't stop is your brain slamming in to your skull now that the R3 is supporting the weight of your head+helmet. A delta V of 60 means hitting a wall at say 110 and then bouncing off at 50mph or hitting at 80 and bouncing at 20. You just shed 60 mph, a delta in velocity of 60mph. And now you hit the other side of the track :(

So, project for the winter is still to install the harnesses and that will likely mean holes in the car to mount the belts with eye bolts rather than the clips which bolt to the side of the chair. I need to figure a way to make the holes in such a way that they look fine and won't cause any rust problems etc.

I guess for me, what is continually being reinforced here is that even attempting to push the car is pretty dangerous. Better to stay back at 70-80% and leave a lot of margin (especially braking/corners) for screwing up. Being able to early apex and extend braking is a must for DE, at least for me now and that means you can't entering the corner at the limit. Pushing harder than this in a DE is just cutting it too fine for comfort, at least for me. My friend made the point that racing may actually be safer than a DE because everyone in a PCA race has a lot of track time to even make it to the race. Everybody more of less knows what they are doing. A DE, especially when solo, is not the same at all so take a lot of care yourself as well as keep your distance with the other drivers.

No matter, once the project is done then we're planning on doing Brainerd, Road America, MAM, Mid Ohio and BlackHawk farms next year.

October 18, 2005 | Permalink

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