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Old 03-30-2017, 08:15 PM   #1
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Good driving books?

Hey guys I'm pretty new to the world of sports cars. I've had bikes for almost 4 years and have read a lot of books that helped me along the way. My skills riding a bike are the way they are with the help of these books along with many miles of personal experience. I'd like to become a better driver and will be trying autocross and driver's ed in the near future(hopefully sometime this year). In the meantime, I was wondering if anyone had any books they'd recommend on driving and maybe the mechanics or physics as well. Especially if there is anything for mid engined cars such as our Porsche Boxsters. Basically a book like A Twist of the Wrist but for cars.

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Old 03-30-2017, 08:41 PM   #2
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Look these up on Amazon.com
Perfect Control
The Perfect Corner
The Perfect Corner 2

The entire Ross Bentley series of Speed Secrets

You'll have about all you'll ever need to know with the above books.
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:47 PM   #3
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Thank you for the recommendations!
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:46 PM   #4
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I like all the Carroll Smith books. Maybe a bit more on the engineering side than driving, but have a look.
Carroll Smith Books . The Official Carroll Smith Site
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Old 03-31-2017, 06:49 AM   #5
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The Bible on performance driving. Everyone should own this book. I re-read it every 6 months.

Ultimate Speed Secrets by Ross Bentley

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Old 03-31-2017, 10:36 AM   #6
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I grew up in go karts before turning to autocross. I read the below article and realized back then that speed is basically the same for karting, bikes, skiers and cars... Until you have the seat time you aren't going to be able to connect the eyes to the medula. There will be that disconnect between what your and hands and feets are doing and the signals your eyes are interpreting. Eventually it becomes one. You drive with your eyes, the part of your noggin that makes you slow the hell down. You are betrayed by your hands and feets that want you to go 10/10's not just on the straight bits but where you are most prone to lose time.

autocrosser turned pro racer Randy Pobst:
"Posted (02/27/2005) - My Epiphany, the moment I understood true speed.

Driving a race car to it's fastest possible speed around a closed course involves a balance between aggression and restraint. When I was a nineteen year-old novice autocrosser, I did not yet really have a grasp of this concept. I drove like a raving maniac. However, in a real detriment to my early career, my times were just quick enough to convince me that I knew it all.

It was years before I began to understand what the wiser drivers at those early autocrosses tried in vain to tell me: "Slow down and you'll go faster." Shoot, I was beating them, what'd they know? Here's a little story of the greatest driving epiphany of my twenty-seven years of competition, courtesy of Pro Solo.

Fact is, solo racing is a great way for the beginning driver to learn how to make speed, develop car control and improve mental discipline. And it is cheap. It is how I started.

I know Solo only comes one minute at a time, but what an intense, non-stop, fast-forward car control exercise minute it is. Sure, the velocity is higher in road racing, but inside the car it is slow-motion in comparison. In Solo, the turns come like machine-gun rounds.

One of the best things about it is that one can drive over and above the ragged edge, time and time again, with no more damage than a few dozen downed pylons. This very fact may have saved my life, a dozen times over, and certainly saved a few Datsuns, Fiats and Rabbits.

When I stumbled upon my first autocross, I awakened a nine-hundred pound Gorilla inside. It rose and took me by the throat, grunting "You...must...race." Driving as fast as I could on a closed course gave, and still gives, a profound pleasure and satisfaction I find almost nowhere else (don't ask). Challenge, sensory excitement, a little danger, and utter, riveting focus.

1983. Sacramento Pro Solo. Following my Gorilla muse, I had dedicated my life to winning the Pro Solo series that year (Hey, Mr Penske, it was big to me!), and had driven that VW all the way from Florida.

After the practice rounds, it was clear I had a nice lead in the class. In those days, it made sense to win by as little as possible for a good dial-in time in the overall runoff among the classes. I realized my best strategy was to slow down a bit, leave a little on the table. Yes, sandbag. Today's rules and level of competition eliminate that tactic.

So, I leave the line, aiming to run just a half-second slower per side. Full blast acceleration, but then I enter the corners with little drama, smooth and relaxed. Not my usual hair-on-fire self. Wind it down into the corner, apex carefully, then unroll like a carpet to the exit. No waste. No monkey-motion. Efficient.

Finish sleepy run. Calmly check time for casual slowness. It's... faster. What? Faster. How is this possible? "Ba-bling", a giant bulb pops to light above my head. Holy driving Gods, that's what they meant! Slow down and you'll go faster. Speed truth. I have worked to drive in exactly the manner of that run ever since.

I was spending way too much time beyond the limit. 110%. Too aggressive. Over-driving. I needed the balance of some restraint. Others need to attack more. How can you know?

Maximum speed is using 100% of your tires' grip, 100% of the time, combined with the highest possible corner exit speed. Not too much slide, not too little. That's why smooth is fast.

Most tires like about a 10% slide or slip angle. Throughout braking, turning, and most of the corner exit, the car should be in a slight drift. I prefer a little oversteer on entry, a little understeer on exit. No drift? Too slow. Sideways? Too fast. Backwards? Hope it is a Solo, or at least you read my "Good Crasher" column.

Here's hoping you have found your Driving Epiphany.

Reprinted Courtesy of "Sportscar Magazine"
March Issue
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:53 AM   #7
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P.s.
In between autocross and track days I recommend you do two things.
1. Watch on board YouTube videos from your local autocorss venues. Pause the video quickly each time you spot the cone two gates ahead and quickly resume the video. Count each corner to make a mental note of the number of times you will need to brake or lift. Do this dozens of times until you can replay the lap in your mind without having to watch the video. This trains your eyes to avoid target fixation (the gate in front of you vs. the second gate). Then repeat the process with a different autocross video. What you'll find is that most venues can only configure the course so many ways because of size limitations. You'll have a hairpin turn, a slalom, a three pin, a six pin, Chicago box, etc. Before long you've driven every possible course configuration and can piece together the course in your head quickly.
Driving fast is 99% driving with your eyes, your arms follow and then your wrists. I think Ayrton Senna said that. Trying to learn all this just when your on an actual lap in the car will slow down your progresss. I know that open wheel racing teams are drilling their newbie racers in the simulator for thousands of miles before they even make their first real lap. See Jann Mardenborough.

2- if you have a game console, doesnt have to be any of the newer ones, get one of those Gran Turismo games. Instead of playing it watch the replay videos of the license tests. From what I understand this is taken from the actual telemetry/data logger of professional drivers on real laps. You'll see where their braking points are for that partucular car, where you should be on corner entry, apex, exit, etc. All that telemetry is displayed. When you go back to your driving books it will be much easier to visualize.

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Old 03-31-2017, 12:53 PM   #8
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I appreciate all the great information. There is so much I have to learn and while most of it can only come from experience, the knowledge does help a lot. I have started reading one of the recommended books and it really puts a lot of interesting information out there. I've realized there is so much to learn and I can already see how that understanding will help me in the future.

Perfectlap: I enjoyed that article you posted and have heard time and time again the words slow is smooth, smooth is fast. I learned this riding bikes and as of now I am not that smooth with the car. This is something I really want to work on whenever I get the chance to autocross my Porsche.

As far as racing games go, I've been playing those since I was little and it has always been my favorite over other types of games. I remember doing the tests on the old Gran Turismo games. Hopefully I can use new knowledge and understanding to learn in a game but more importantly in real life.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:10 PM   #9
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Keith Code Twist of the Wrist series is fantastic. It's written for motorcycle racers but almost all the concepts apply directly to cars. especially the chapters that teach you how to see and look when you're driving. he teaches you to train your vision, where you look, so that you can "look nowhere but see everything." for me that concept of knowing how to look is the most important concept I have ever learned and it applies to racing motorcycles bicycles or cars.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:33 PM   #10
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Get a copy of Driving in Competition by Alan Johnson. It is old and out of print, but you can get a used copy cheap. For a beginner like me I think the Type I, II & III turns concept is still relevant and a great place to start.

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