Nov6-7 – Summit Point Main – NASA-MA

Hello everyone – welcome to another issue of “Fast Lap” – from your track addicted friend.

Fall means cool temps, extra horsepower, and patience to make sure you have adequate temp in your tires before you try to go “flatout”.

Fortunately patience was mostly on my side along with a set of quick hands. –you’ll see in the video I get a little too greedy with the throttle coming out of T5 – according to the data that “catch” and consequently poor entry into T6 cost me ~.2sec — oh how I would have liked to have come home with a 1:20.x lap…next time!

I hadn’t driven Summit Main since May – I was there for Hyperfest in August but only turned 1 lap before a broken brake pedal sensor put the car out of service for the weekend. Having driven so many nice, smooth tracks with plenty of run off, Summit Point felt a bit more intimidating (and a lot bumpier) than I remembered.

Here is the FastLap video for the week –

I wanted to continue my tech discussion this email with a note about “time dilation” and toss in a bit of projective imagery.

(I’ll keep this short – I’m not actually trying to teach a class here!)

Paraphrased and tweaked slightly from the dictionary definition to line up with what we experience on the track. Time Dilation is the point of view that the clock is ticking at a slower rate than the local clock. When we all first started driving we were “overwhelmed” with everything that was going on at the track and by how fast everything was happening. As we gained experience on the track, things started to slow down — now we had time to look at every flag stand, check our mirrors more often and look further ahead (eyes up, eyes up!)

I’ve read about levels of time dilation beyond time slowing down enough to “become comfortable” driving “at speed”, but never experienced anything near the levels I’ve read about until the past few events. Driving, watching flag stands & watching your mirrors becomes second nature and now you have extra brain cycles — with those brain cycles I’ve been working to intentionality slow time even further providing the ability to look further and further ahead.

Heading down a straight into a corner – you look through the corner to the track out, you envision your car entering the turn, hitting the apex and tracking out all before you’ve even reached the braking zone. Now you have laid out a “ghost trace” trajectory of where you want your car to be, the attitude you want the car to have during each segment of the turn – and time is moving as if you are watching a movie in slow motion – you feel the car sliding beneath you but since it is all happening in slow motion you stay relaxed because it is easy to compensate for a mistake or the unexpected “at this slow ticking of the clock rate”.

I had a car spin off the track in front of me at the apex of T3 this weekend – what I’m sure unfolded in a couple tenths of a second seemed a life time – I casually watched the rear end of this WRX get light, come around, and slide backwards into the gravel trap – to me it felt as if I had all the time in the world to react – analyzing the trajectory of the WRX and being able to determine with good certainty that it wasn’t going to come back onto the track, requiring an evasive maneuver. I simply slowed a bit extra for the turn, watched the WRX slide off the track, drove by the incident and never tensed up.

You can practice time dilation and forward projecting imagery while on the street – it will make it that much easier to implement on the track.

Mary participated in her first TimeTrial Event this weekend. She was very nervous (as I was before my first TT) – I kept reassuring her she would do great and would soon be looking forward to her next TT weekend. 🙂

After a close battle with a Pontiac GTO – Mary took 3rd place in the TTB class both Saturday and Sunday with a fast lap of the weekend of 1:26.49! Way to go!

An on the topic of practicing on the street, then applying to the track. This coming weekend we are headed to VIR with Audi Club. Since this is a non-competitive HPDE event I plan to take the left foot braking I’ve been practicing on the street and begin applying it on the track. Wish me luck! I’ll report back next week how the experience went.

And here are a couple pictures courtesy of Scott Cain – http://kart53.smugmug.com/Racing


For those of you who were at Summit Point this past weekend, hope you had a safe drive home – to those of you who weren’t, hope I see you at the track soon!

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