View Full Version : Steves carlimits report

Steve Gill
18-09-2008, 03:22 PM
This was my first trip back since Nige, Floyd, Simon and Nick (leavingeasy) went in March (http://z8.invisionfree.com/Northloop/index.php?showtopic=8962). Although I'd been 5 times before then, it was interesting reading their thoughts on the day, and I was remembering the comments on that thread during the day.

Having been a few times before I didn't need to go through the one finger on the wheel stuff again, Andy drove with me a couple of times on the high speed bend and adapted the course for me to suit. On the first run, I confused the last run of the previous trip (Feb) where we accelerated to 100mph, then trail braked the corner, with my first time on the high speed bend in august last year, where we were driving at 50mph into the bend without braking - so I ended up going into the corner at over 100mph without braking, with Andy screaming, "Brake!!" :lol:

Needless to say we didn't make the invisible wall, but I did stop it going onto the grass AND I didn't spin :whistle: :lol:

From then on I focussed on catching the slide at 80mph without braking, and not just correcting it, but holding it in a slight slide at (what I think, probably wrong) was a reasonably optimium slip angle. Every time I practiced I tried slighlty different things (turning the wheel sharper on entry, gentler turn in, holding the wheel slightly longer to increase the slide angle etc etc) and I found it extremly useful to see what happens.

This is why I personally believe that carlimits days are invaluable even if you've been a few times before - you can try out things in a controlled environment where if you have any questions you can ask Andy, and he will sit with you and comment on what you're doing, or let you practice if you're doing it right. Experiencing understeer and oversteer over and over again I don't think I'll ever tire off, the experience is invaluable, and I would do the car limits days over and over again even if it was just for the high speed bend.


In the afternoon we practised pendulum, where you slide one way round a cone, then hold it and let it snap back the other way in order to slide the other way round another cone, and so on in a figure of 8 - I managed it once perfectly, the rest of the time was just practising (obviously if i had WANTED to i could have done it none stop for hours perfectly, but i didn't want to. Really :whistle: )

Then it was onto the course. Great fun, I finally after 6 visits managed to get the trail braking, off the brakes and throttle while the car rotates, then throttle. I was pleased with that, but more practise is required :D

My best time (which is poor I know) was 58.2 seconds :shame: But hey, I'm more about showboating than going fast :lol:

Later in the afternoon I noticed that there was a bulge in my new tyre that had been fitted the day before :angry: No idea how it got there, but we reckon it was a pothole or a kerbing that did it. :( I quit for the day, and managed to find somewhere that could get my tyres in for the next day around 10.30. I drove over to them in the morning, and had the tyre replaced, then back to the airfield for an hour or so of high speed bend before lunch.

There was a young lad on the under 17 driving experience that Andy's wife runs, Andy asked if I would take him out on the high speed bend and a couple of laps on the course with the cones, with a bit of showboating thrown in for good measure :D I think he enjoyed it - you don't normally sit a driving lesson and end up being driven sideways at 80mph :lol:

One of the memorable parts of the day was a retired gentlemen (clearly nobody from Northloop then :whistle: ) who's been driving for over 50 years. He was taking the hairpin round the cone at 20mph when he drove, and by the end of the day Andy had him taking it at 40mph, all because he wasn't touching the pedals - not braking to slow down going round nor accelerating to widen the radius of the turn - he was almost emotional when he was saying how on earth can all the books showing steady throttle during cornering be so wrong? He was very impressed - the day had been a birthday present from his son.

That's me done 7 North Weald days and 2 track days with Andy (Abbeville and Spa). Would I go back? Definitely. Driver Training isn't cheap, but I think it is worth its weight in gold. You'll not learn everything in one lesson, I think after about 10 days I'll be mildly competent and feel confident enough to race in VLN or perhaps UK races next year, but I think I'll keep going. Track days are ace and of course you can learn a lot, but the repetitiveness of the carlimits days where you can try the same thing again just changing one variable to 'see what happens' is what attracts me to it.

Just to add to the above, lessons learnt from training at car limits have saved me from binning the car twice at the ring so far, the one at Brunchenn had I crashed would have been interesting :lol: (some Northloopers witnessed that)

So I highly recommend it. Just a note, on previous comments I've read, I agree the hanging around in the afternoon can be a little tedious, but you can ask Andy if you can practice on the cones at the top whilst he is doing circle exercises near the high speed bend; if he trusts you he'll let you do that, although if its your first time its unlikely.

The photo below was an example where I was practicing trying to keep the angle, which went slightly wrong and the angle was kept ( :lol: ) but too great - however on track this would be no great problem as OK I slowed down (a lot) but it didn't spin, and I could recover and carry on - the only negative being a slide like this destroys lap times (and tires... :lol: )


Jim Cameron
18-09-2008, 08:16 PM
Good stuff Steve, long time no see... :wave:

18-09-2008, 08:29 PM
I'm sure Nige or Nick mentioned I did a 59 even though they said it was 1:10 to start with :angry: :lol:

It is good but very hard on tyres and pocket. I got an egg in my tyre too, which I think was me hitting the drain in a fishtailing tank slapper manouver :rolleyes: :whistle:

18-09-2008, 09:02 PM
Originally posted by Floyd@Sep 18 2008, 09:29 PM
I got an egg in my tyre too
hmmm, so thats Floyd AND steve who both had `eggs` :huh:

Saying that, I reckon Floyd had the egg already and just wheeled it out as an excuse when he realised how slow he was :fishing:

Steve, do you do the 2 : 1 day or 4 : 1 ? If its the 2 : 1 I can see you`ll get more track time with Andy and the benefits that may bring, but I still think that on the 4 : 1 day we did, it was good, but not brilliant :(

18-09-2008, 09:06 PM
Oi, I resemble that :karl: ;)

18-09-2008, 09:17 PM
No egg on my tyres, just burning rubber against the wheel arch iirc :lol:

Steve, sounds like you enjoyed yourself :thumb:

Steve Gill
18-09-2008, 09:33 PM
4:1 day every time. The difference between my days and your day (I think) is that apart from my first trip, every other time in the afternoon while Andy is working with 1 of the 4 down doing the circles, the other 3 are taking turns on the cones near the van, drifting round, practicing trail braking, or just hooning around :lol:

Tyres get too heat quickly and start to delaminate, so to be honest by the time it comes to your go again (after the other 2) you need to ensure your tyres are cool enough to go back out again. I destroyed a set in one day once, every other time I've had lots of tread left by doing short stints at once.

I think you ended up hanging around in the afternoon because it was your first time. Andy didn't know you guys enough to trust you on your own at the top section. I asked Andy if we could split it into 3, as I felt there was plenty of room for what we were doing (there was 1 other experienced (read better than me :lol: ) guy there, and we could have coped fine with the airfield into 3). He told me of incidents which have been very close even with just the airfield split into 2, so he wont risk splitting into 3.

I think you'd find your 2nd and 3rd days a lot better, and if Andy doesn't suggest it ask him if you can practice on the top section while he's out training someone how to get dizzy quickly :lol:

Edit to add: out of 7 days now, this is the first time I've had an 'egg' :D

Double edited to add: apart from the sausage n 'egg' mcmuffin from mcdonalds, i adore them :thumb:

18-09-2008, 09:36 PM
Do you think you hit the drain on the imaginary wall?

Steve Gill
18-09-2008, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by Floyd@Sep 18 2008, 10:36 PM
Do you think you hit the drain on the imaginary wall?
Me, hit the drain? Never....


OK so I went over it a couple of times, I don't remember anything bad (like a pothole bump), and I've been over it a few times in the past without probs (max 3 times I think :whistle: )

18-09-2008, 10:09 PM
Good stuff, Steve!

I'd love to do a few of these days in the near future. ;)