Author Topic: In Praise of OEM Suspension for RallyX - Plus RallyX Driving Pontification  (Read 1670 times)

Offline WheelGap

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For loose surface driving the softer the suspension the more grip you have and there is nothing as soft as what OEMs put on a car.

I-80 Speedway, at least the last time I drove there, isn't particularly rough.  If you do find yourself running out of bump travel it's probably better to just invest in some longer bump stops that are nice and soft that ease out that last 25mm - 35mm of bump travel.  RESuspension has a nice selection.

If you're trying to fix your car's handling by buying suspension or sway bars or whatever for RallyX it's a futile endeavor.  What makes RallyX unique in some regards is the racing surface gets churned up so when the rear of the car starts to slide you're physically moving earth which arrests the slide.  So you always are dealing w/ understeer unless you're RWD.  I figured that out my first rally when on the first corner the car wanted to swap ends -- I always thought it was an understeering pig from my RallyX days.

Since the reason for getting suspension is to go faster, I'll tell you my theory of how to go faster at RallyX.

When I first started out I was bog slow, like "jog alongside the car" slow.  But I liked it and wanted to get better.  So I started experimenting to figure out how to control the car.  I basically treated every RallyX as a practice session and did so until maybe my last couple years.  RallyX is a sport such that you're always going to be fighting something because as previously mentioned, you're moving dirt.  So job #1 is to teach yourself car control.  You want to get to the point that you can make the car do whatever maneuver you want it to do without thinking about it and no matter how much the car doth protest.

The way you're going to teach yourself car control is to experiment while you're out on the course.  Don't worry so much about your time.  You probably know or should know that whichever end of the car has the weight is the end of the car that has the grip.  Feel free, and I encourage it, to overdrive the car.  You will make a lot of mistakes in the search for car control, but if you're not pushing, you're not learning.  Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

So over time, and there is no substitute for practice, you're going to find you're just as aggressive but you're not making so many mistakes.  You're not thinking about driving you're just doing it.  You aren't behind the car like you used to be.  The goal here is that through your experimentation you figure out how to control the car, then through doing what you learned over and over and over it becomes reflexive.  Towards the end of my RallyX tenure I was giving a lot of ride-alongs and the most frequent comment from my passengers was "How can you hold a conversation with me and drive like this?"  Simple.  Practice, practice and more motherf**king practice.  I wasn't really thinking, I was just doing.

And I can't overstate enough that you have to be balls-out aggressive to be a fast RallyX driver.  The trick is to ride that thin line of controlled aggression where you're not making mistakes.  An aggressive sloppy driver will beat a cautious clean driver 90% of the time.   A clean aggressive driver is a force to be reckoned with.

What I'm saying is you already own the piece of equipment that will make you fast at racing in general and RallyX in specific and that's your brain.






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Offline WheelGap

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Fudge.  Could someone move this to motorsports?  Posted in the wrong sub forum.
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Offline Aki

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Thank you, Tony!  Preach!!

Going to look in to those bump stops.  8)

Offline WheelGap

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If anyone is interested, I'm going to give you your first homework assignment for the next RallyX.

Assuming there's anything resembling a straight, I want you to progressively brake harder in a straight line until the wheels lockup and I want you to take notice what happens after lockup.  I'm going to tell you the answer: not much.  The static coefficient of friction on loose surfaces is pretty close to the dynamic coefficient of friction.

Now remember what I said about shovin' dirt?  Imagine if instead of braking in a straight line you lifted the throttle, turned-in, and then hit the brakes so the car is yawing sideways in the braking zone pushing more dirt?  You're probably going to slow the car just as fast or faster as somebody trying to threshold brake with a much bigger margin for error, plus the car has already done some of the turning before you hit the turn-in point so you'll get through just that much faster.  It's also great because it gets rid of just plowing straight ahead if you brake too late so even if you screw up a corner you don't pay much of a price.

The tighter the turn, the more you yaw the car in the braking zone. 

The one thing I noticed is that sometimes you have tight turn into a tight turn and you just don't have the momentum to yaw the car as much as you'd like in the braking zone, but that's something you learn over time.

This technique, probably above all others, is what helped me drop a ton of time and I think not too many competitors are doing it so it's a big advantage. 

I should mention, you're not going to master this your first go.  But if there's 10 runs and you try it 10 times there's a pretty good chance on one of those runs on one corner you're going to pull it off, and then you'll know why I'm telling you this and you'll want to perfect it.  Seriously, when you get this right it feels so good.  It's like a rite of passage, you're a rally driver now not some straight-line-braking tarmac fool.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 07:25:29 PM by WheelGap »
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Offline WheelGap

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OK, I'm just going to brain dump while I'm thinking about this stuff.

So I'm assuming you're moving up the results and making less mistakes....

You don't get to turn your brain off quite yet, you need to be cognizant of course features where you're not doing very well.  This is where you take yourself back to school and experiment, learn, and perfect what you've learned.  This is OK and normal, look back on how much you've learned, how much better you are and apply the same methodical approach to fixing your driving flaws.

What tripped me up the most was what cone dodgers call "patience corners" and what road racers call "throwaway corners".  You can't aggressively drive these features, the best you can do is to take them slow and set yourself up for the next corner the best you can.  These are the corners where you can't make time, but you sure as **** can lose it.  Generally they're really tight and narrow hairpins and I don't know if course designers put them in there to trip up immature drivers, but you see them nonetheless.  I have no advice but to not overdrive them and learn to identify them ahead of time as you are able.  It's difficult because you're riding a wave of controlled aggression and now you have to turn it off for a a few seconds and it doesn't come natural. 

So in short, once you raise your skill level work on your weaknesses and  strive to have a level of maturity to your driving -- you don't get suckered in by patience corners -- you tear ###  on everything else.

My Rally-America Evo gets its prep on at Russ's Garage!

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Offline WheelGap

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My last post on this...

I realize that what I'm saying could be considered "argument from authority" and that's not my aim.  What I'm trying to impress is that driving, like any skill, is learned.  You can either go out and drive with an empty head hoping you're faster next time or you can make a concerted effort to get better.  There's no "Get RallyX Real Good" school to take advantage of, so that big noggin of yours  is your best friend.  What's great about RallyX is the car will tell you nearly 100% of the time when you're stinking it up so it's pretty easy to figure out which of your driving experiments are successful.

My Rally-America Evo gets its prep on at Russ's Garage!

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Offline omahasubaru

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Tony are you back doing RallyX again?

We should grab lunch, I'm working just up the street from you now!

Offline Reverend

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My OEM suspension was shot so I went with KYB Excel-G Struts with my original springs on 'em.  They've been great for the conditions at I-80 Speedway!

Offline WheelGap

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My OEM suspension was shot so I went with KYB Excel-G Struts with my original springs on 'em.  They've been great for the conditions at I-80 Speedway!

I had planned to do one after the Bilstein upgrade, but my wife was out of town that weekend and couldn't just leave the dog for 9 hours to hold it in.

But by all means, let's grab lunch, shoot me a text or email.  I have a smartphone now, a cutting-edge iPhone 4. :D
My Rally-America Evo gets its prep on at Russ's Garage!

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Offline WheelGap

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Nose end first driving by Ole from Norway.  He coached Haydon Paddon to a WRC win.  Look at the graphic a few pages in, sure looks like rotating the car before corner entry:

http://www.rallyanarchy.com/phorum/read.php?1,112755

Seems to support "yaw that thing in the braking zone".

My Rally-America Evo gets its prep on at Russ's Garage!

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Offline jlangholzj

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Tony, while I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near an expert driver....whats your thoughts on the nose-first mentality and what seems to me as being controllably uncontrolled? Yawing forces, force vectors, all that aside; I've noticed that it 'feels' more stable as well if I'm able to get it rotated going into the corner....vs wrestling with it mid-corner. Just seems like I have much better directional control over the car if it's rotated already.

However (comma) its been a great long while since I've been in my car on the dirt.....so I could be just spouting nonsense attributed to my noobish driving. I remember Jan barking at me what I was doing wrong the last time anyway :p

Offline WheelGap

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Tony, while I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near an expert driver....whats your thoughts on the nose-first mentality and what seems to me as being controllably uncontrolled? Yawing forces, force vectors, all that aside; I've noticed that it 'feels' more stable as well if I'm able to get it rotated going into the corner....vs wrestling with it mid-corner. Just seems like I have much better directional control over the car if it's rotated already.

However (comma) its been a great long while since I've been in my car on the dirt.....so I could be just spouting nonsense attributed to my noobish driving. I remember Jan barking at me what I was doing wrong the last time anyway :p

This is something I think is true: if you don't drive like a monkey with its ###  on fire, you won't be a contender in regional, let alone national RallyX.  I know it's hard making mistakes and being down the results list, but you're putting in the work.

What I call "yaw in the braking zone" or some Norwegian calls "nose end first" is the same thing: the best tradeoff between risk and reward.  Plow like a tractor sideways into a turn, and you're still better off than plowing straight in.

I'm not particularly talented, I had to spend a bunch of time figuring this out.  It was only in my last couple of years of RallyX that I started to get good.  This is a process, drive the p*ss out of your car, think about what you did wrong, and work on  it.  Keep doing that until the mistakes go away.

What's the endgame? You might ask.  Well, all your practice gets you to the point you can drive at a high level w/o thinking about it. You can drive like an insane monkey w/ its ###  on fire and you never get behind the car and make minimal mistakes.  That's hard to defeat in a world of people that have no discipline.
My Rally-America Evo gets its prep on at Russ's Garage!

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Offline Aki

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I'm curious to start experimenting with this more.  I think I'm doing it in small ways but not as much with larger or singular maneuvers.  I notice that feeling of constant sideways with quicker, more technical offsets and slalom type situations.  Just starts to turn in to a chain drift and when powering out of one corner, I'm coming out of the first turn sideways set up for the 2nd, 3rd, etc. so I'm yawed in already and just swapping directions.

Have been focusing mostly on footwork and left foot braking for the last little while, but will have to venture in to this... once I've relearned the torque curve of the car, that is! :P

Offline jlangholzj

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This is something I think is true: if you don't drive like a monkey with its ###  on fire, you won't be a contender in regional, let alone national RallyX.  I know it's hard making mistakes and being down the results list, but you're putting in the work.

What I call "yaw in the braking zone" or some Norwegian calls "nose end first" is the same thing: the best tradeoff between risk and reward.  Plow like a tractor sideways into a turn, and you're still better off than plowing straight in.

I'm not particularly talented, I had to spend a bunch of time figuring this out.  It was only in my last couple of years of RallyX that I started to get good.  This is a process, drive the p*ss out of your car, think about what you did wrong, and work on  it.  Keep doing that until the mistakes go away.

What's the endgame? You might ask.  Well, all your practice gets you to the point you can drive at a high level w/o thinking about it. You can drive like an insane monkey w/ its ###  on fire and you never get behind the car and make minimal mistakes.  That's hard to defeat in a world of people that have no discipline.

Good to know I wasn't just off my rocker then......Its something that coming from open-wheel I had a bit of (and still have a lot of) learning to do, the driving styles are completely different. The last event I ran (well, the event before I tore my fender off at mid-divs) I started to experiment with the car a lot. Just started to get a feel for stuff like how different braking is once rotated, all the different ways to get the car to rotate, when NOT to rotate, etc.  Exact same thing you made a comment on, finding the limits is going to get you behind the car at first but after some practice that doesn't happen anymore.  I think that event I was ~1-2 seconds per lap off pace, which i was pretty happy with.

Offline WheelGap

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I'm curious to start experimenting with this more.  I think I'm doing it in small ways but not as much with larger or singular maneuvers.  I notice that feeling of constant sideways with quicker, more technical offsets and slalom type situations.  Just starts to turn in to a chain drift and when powering out of one corner, I'm coming out of the first turn sideways set up for the 2nd, 3rd, etc. so I'm yawed in already and just swapping directions.

Have been focusing mostly on footwork and left foot braking for the last little while, but will have to venture in to this... once I've relearned the torque curve of the car, that is! :P

That sounds about right.  I barely used the brake pedal, it was mainly to setup the car for the next turn.  A good run feels like one uninterrupted slide -- like you're just vectoring thrust.

I think it was Dennis Grant from AutoX to Win fame that noticed that his best runs had the most area under the curve of throttle position. Nose end first means you can just dab the brakes to set you up and get on the throttle before you ever clear the inside cone blocking the apex.
My Rally-America Evo gets its prep on at Russ's Garage!

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Offline Reverend

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Re: In Praise of OEM Suspension for RallyX - Plus RallyX Driving Pontification
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2016, 07:14:54 AM »
This thread was perfect to read the day before MidDivs.  Thanks for all the advice!  It's also encouraging to read some things that I've already been doing, so I know I'm on the right track.

Last month I sold my Rallycross car to... start over.  I've got a clean slate with a "new-to-me" '99 Impreza RS Coupe.  Stock suspension is in relatively good shape so I'm really curious to actually feel how an OEM suspension does in competition.  My other RS already had shot suspension so I replaced it immediately.  Plus the guy who bought my old car will be racing this weekend, too!  It'll be like racing a ghost-version of my car! Haha

Shameless plug, but I think it'd be a hilarious waste of talent and knowledge if you weren't at MidDivs this weekend.  If not competing, perhaps riding along with novice drivers giving tips.