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tracking in the rain

 
Old 11-08-2004, 07:45 AM
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Default tracking in the rain

Was planning to go to SOWS on Friday but forecast looks like possible rain. Is it too dangerous for a beginner to track in the rain or can it be a learning experience? Any experience/comments would be appreciated. Thanks, John
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Old 11-08-2004, 09:10 AM
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In racing smooth wins the day.

If you want to learn to be smooth drive in the rain, IMHO one of the best ways to learn good car control.


I haven't been on the track in the rain in years and would love to try it again.
I'll be there rain or shine!
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Old 11-08-2004, 09:23 AM
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Running in the rain might be the best time to go! Your speeds will be lower and you will be forced to be smooth, the true source of speed. There is no reason to fear the rain, you just have to be smart and drive slower. You should ask your instructor right up front what is the rain line at the track too I might ad. There are some tracks that have a rain line that might be very different from the dry line. The track I frequent falls into this category due to things like water flow, puddles, concrete patches, track paint and more.
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Old 11-08-2004, 09:59 AM
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And it is easier on the car. Rain is often called the great equalizer. The cars with more HP can't put the power down, so driving skill becomes an even greater factor.

Just stay in your comfort zone and use finesse.
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Old 11-08-2004, 12:57 PM
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Tracking in the rain is significantly more dangerous than in the dry for one big reason ... conditions are always changing. In the dry you can creep up on the limits and you'll know when you're getting there. In the wet you can do the same thing as the previous lap, but this lap the track has changed (puddle got deeper, corner more slippery, etc) and you are now way over the limit and in big trouble.

If this is your first track day you'll not likely be pushing the limits much anyway and so should be fine if you're not super agressive. The best way to learn in the rain is to autox in it.

- Michael
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Old 11-08-2004, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MSRS2K,Nov 8 2004, 04:57 PM
Tracking in the rain is significantly more dangerous than in the dry for one big reason ... conditions are always changing. In the dry you can creep up on the limits and you'll know when you're getting there. In the wet you can do the same thing as the previous lap, but this lap the track has changed (puddle got deeper, corner more slippery, etc) and you are now way over the limit and in big trouble.
If this is your first track day you'll not likely be pushing the limits much anyway and so should be fine if you're not super agressive. The best way to learn in the rain is to autox in it.
I do not completely agree. Yes conditions are always changing, but being aware of track conditions no matter what is also a great lesson and the opportunity to experience should be embraced, not avoided. In the dry someone could loose their radiator hose, and if you have ever slipped in ant-frieze I dare say it is slipperier than a wet track, and you need to be aware of these changing conditions also.

In the dry if you exceed the limit of you or your car, chances are you will be at a much higher rate of speed, and if the track you are at has walls close to the track it can be very serious, at lower speeds in the rain the impact will be dramatically less.

Autoxing can definitely teach you some things about car control, but there are things one will experience out on the track that are unique to high speed driving schools. As an instructor I always tell my novice students they should consider driving in the rain on track as a very valuable lesson, one to take advantage of, not one to sit out in the garage.
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Old 11-08-2004, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Triple-H,Nov 8 2004, 02:45 PM
I do not completely agree. Yes conditions are always changing, but being aware of track conditions no matter what is also a great lesson and the opportunity to experience should be embraced, not avoided. In the dry someone could loose their radiator hose, and if you have ever slipped in ant-frieze I dare say it is slipperier than a wet track, and you need to be aware of these changing conditions also.

In the dry if you exceed the limit of you or your car, chances are you will be at a much higher rate of speed, and if the track you are at has walls close to the track it can be very serious, at lower speeds in the rain the impact will be dramatically less.
I agree with you in theory. Tracking in the rain has a lot of potential advantages as an educational tool. However, in practice I have put my car very hard into a concrete wall in the rain. So I'm rather sensitive to the subject.

But rain or shine, in either case the amount of risk you accept when you are on the track is under your control.

(Up here in the Pacific Northwet, it's hard to avoid tracking in the rain unless you avoid tracking most of the year.)
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Old 11-08-2004, 03:14 PM
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Tracking in the rain is unquestionably higher risk that tracking in the dry, but if you're going to track in the wet as a new driver, the place to do it is SOWS. It is definietly the best and safest student track in CA at the very least.
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Old 11-08-2004, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Triple-H,Nov 8 2004, 10:23 AM
You should ask your instructor right up front what is the rain line at the track too I might ad. There are some tracks that have a rain line that might be very different from the dry line. The track I frequent falls into this category due to things like water flow, puddles, concrete patches, track paint and more.
I've been to SOW a few times before and have instructed there once or twice before too...

Rain line? I don't think it rains enough @ SOW to really learn that one !

Moti, who will be instructing on friday.
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Old 11-09-2004, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mikegarrison,Nov 8 2004, 06:11 PM
(Up here in the Pacific Northwet, it's hard to avoid tracking in the rain unless you avoid tracking most of the year.)

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about Upstate NY out here in the Northeast...



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