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Discussion Starter #1
Me and the Wife (Cathy) have been driving on track for quite a while now (over 30 events since 2006), we've been driving MINIs. We have both a Cooper (with not much power) and a JCW which has about twice the power of the Cooper. We got the Cayman to be a bit faster on track, I'd specified all the performance options I could think of to help, PDK, X73 sport suspension, PTV, PCCB. I didn't get the sports exhaust, party because I was worried about making sound at Laguna Seca. The PDK was a bit of a controversial decision for Cathy, but I thought it would help her on track, I though she might even want to use it in auto mode. I've gotten into the habit of writing up my impressions, I find it very handy to refer to these later.


Yesterday we did finally get the new Cayman S to the track, we were out at Laguna Seca. We had a few problems, the biggest was our new wheels weren't ready yet, so we went out on the stock PZeros. I also hadn't worked out how to mount a camera in a good position, I did find I could use a GoPro suction mount on the back of the seat to give a reasonable view. I haven't yet got a mount for the external GPS unit, and I found the OBD port was in a very awkward position, so I didn't use that either so the lap timer was running with just the iPhone, which is not very accurate, and no engine data.


We were also concerned about the transition to rear wheel drive, so we hired a coach to give us an intensive introduction. I'd found Dave over on Rennlist, where he's known as "Veloce Raptor", he was flying flew in from Texas. My objectives for the day were to A. get around with out crashing, B. equal my best lap time I've managed in a MINI (1:53.1) and then C. work on getting faster, the Cayman is potentially 10s a lap faster, I didn't think I'd get that fast though. Cathy was more worried about just getting around without crashing.


The weather was was perfect, it was a good day. Our sessions were all back to back, so we were hot swapping after each session. This is where the 18 way seats with the memory came in handy, this is why I specified them for the car, despite the 60lb extra weight (and I don't think I'd fit into the 2 way seats). In the first session we both managed to get around without crashing. My times were in the low 2 minutes, about what I managed the last time out at Laguna in the slower MINI. I was getting faster until a BMW went off at the bottom of the corkscrew, which brought out yellow flags and a recovery truck. The car got stuck in park, so the recovery crew were having trouble moving it, and Cathy's session started 40 minutes late. The morning sessions were slightly shortened and the coach demo rides were scrubbed, so the afternoon sessions started on time. Cathy caught a lot of traffic in the first session, there were the usual problems with passing, so never got going very fast and was a little behind my times.


In the second session I started off overtaking another Sapphire Blue 981 Cayman GTS. I'd seen it in the paddock and meant to go talk to the owner sometime, I never did find him. I did talk to the owner of another Blue Cayman a 997, which I got confused by. I don't know where the GTS got to, I did see that it had the sports exhaust (and I think PASM) and in later sessions I saw it taking the wide line around the sound station, I'm guessing the PSE got him flagged for sound, it was only a 90db day. Ours never had any problem, I never did get around to getting a sound check to see what the margin was for ours. Though sound is notoriously difficult at Laguna, its never the same twice.


For the rest of the session I had clear track and my lap times came down, ending in a 1:52.5, so I made my second goal. Cathy's lap times got down to the mid 2:00s, about as fast as she's gone in the faster MINIs. She didn't get much faster than that, her best time was a 2:04.0, which seems to be as fast as she's comfortable with. For the fourth session (of five), we went out solo to see how we got on without coaching, and then Dave coached us for the last session.


After making my lap time goal, I could stop worrying about lap times and listen to Dave. Dave was encouraging me to raise my corner entry speed. He was also encouraging me to use more curb on the apex, which would allow more margin on exit. The line that Dave was didn't feel right to me, the turn in seemed much too early, and he was encouraging me onto the power when I was thinking that I wasn't going to make the exit. He'd say "20% power, 30%, 40, 50%, 80%, 100%, you're not going off the track". I did manage to go to 100% power most time, though not quite as fast as he was suggesting, and we didn't go off track. This was quite puzzling, and I'm still trying to work out why it worked.


My current theory is to do with power understeer vs power oversteer. Power understeer is a term I've never heard used before (but does show up on a search). Power oversteer is something I was somewhat afraid of, which is one reason why we hired the coach. In classic theory understeer happens when the front tires give up before the rear, so the front runs wide. Oversteer is when the rear tires give up first and the rear starts to slide, possibly leading to a spin. The main effect I'd been considering is weight transfer, basically the weight of car shifts front or back depending on the acceleration, it moves forward under braking and rearward under acceleration. With more weight, that end of the car has more grip, or conversely with less you get less grip. So acceleration leads to understeer, braking leads to oversteer. So I'm expecting powering out of a turn will lead to understeer, i.e. I drive off the track at exit. This didn't seem to be happening, in fact dave was making an observation that adding power settled to car on its course of not running off the track.


Now Dave would make a lot of observation like this, I was quite oblivious to what he was commenting on. As far as I can tell, I'd make a lousy development driver, I'm just driving the car, I couldn't tell you what its doing. Similarly people asked me how I like the car, my response is that it must be good, because its not doing anything I'm objecting to.


So I'm puzzling that the car isn't behaving as I'm expecting. My current theory is power, a tire only has so much grip to use. It can be used cornering, or accelerating/braking, if you use some for one, that grip is not available for the other. So powering out of a turn uses up some grip of the tires which are powering the car, in a front drive car, power weight transfer causes understeer and using the power just adds more understeer. In a rear drive car, using the power counteracts the understeer caused by weight transfer, the effect is less understeer. I think I knew this before but was thinking it'd be a second order effect and not that important, it was having more of an effect than I was expecting. I'm going to have to recalibrate my brain to expect the different behavior, and hope the next time I drive the MINI I don't drive off at corner exit.


Power oversteer is something I was afraid of, I associate it with spinning out. So it seems there's a milder version of it which aids in getting the car around the corner faster than I was expecting. There were a few occasions where I managed to get a bit sideways, mainly in turn 2, this was probably the power oversteer I was afraid of, it was easily corrected and I went on my way.


Another problem is I can't see the corners of the car. I'm sitting much lower in the car, and really can't see much past the bonnet. So I wasn't seeing how close I was getting to the corner apex, or corner exit, so I was leaving a lot more space than I needed, or conversely, there was a lot more space than I thought there was.


The other thing that Dave was having me work on was braking. He wanted the braking to not upset the balance of the car, the braking should be easy on, and easy off, and a pause after braking to let the car settle before turning in. I was moving my braking point back a bit to fit all of this in before the earlier turn in.

All in all the way Dave was teaching contrasts with driving the MINI where turn in is the only chance to get the car to rotate, so you want all the weight still on the front wheels. Braking is hard and late and turn in is while still on the brake (trail braking). All in all you're rather wrestling the MINI, Dave was teaching us to be much more gentle with the Cayman. The lines were also more like momentum lines rather than power lines, where you want to preserve your speed through the corner rather than rely on power. I use momentum lines in the lower power MINIs, but the higher power MINIs use more power lines. The cayman has 30% more power to weight than the most powerful MINI, but is not powerful in terms of rear drive cars.

I'm pretty sure there's a lot more pace in the car, if I can persuade myself to use it. So the next few outings I'll be working on my goal C. to get a bit faster. I think I know what I need to do to get faster, which was the aim when hiring the coach in the first place. Cathy was commenting on being gentle with the car and also that the PDK made shifting easy, she never did use auto mode. I'm considering using auto-sport+ mode, it'd be more aggressive shifting that I was. As it was I was shifting up a bit before redline and being relatively conservative about shifting down, it might even shift to first for some corners.

I was finding the PDK in manual to be slightly awkward as I was never sure what gear I was in and would have to look at the gear indication, I'd still end up in the wrong gear when I forgot to shift, or hit the wrong paddle, or too many times. With a stick its obvious which gear you're in from where the stick is. Ideally I'd work out a pattern of shifts, like up-up-2down-up-down-up-down etc, but there would still be the problem of ending up in the wrong gear accidentally. However the ability to instantly shift gears whenever you want is really useful.

I'm going to be monitoring the brakes to see how they stand up to this use/abuse. I've measure the pads and rotor thickness before and I'll be measuring them to see what effect we had. I'm hoping for near zero wear on the rotors, they're the really expensive bit, I'm hoping for not much wear on the pads.

The PZero tires seemed to work pretty well, but they really needed a bit lower pressures. I was monitoring the tire temperatures and they definitely indicated they were overinflated. I suffered a bit of unexpected understeer in the first session and let out a couple of psi from the front, partly because the tires were saying they're over inflated and partly to help with the understeer. I never felt that in any of the later sessions. Later on I let out another 2 psi from the front and 1psi from the back. The tires were still overinflated. I was hesitant to let any more out as they tires would then be very under inflated once they cooled down. The cold pressures ended up at 27/29. The tires were 170-180°F after one of my sessions, where normal running temperature is 120 or so, the extra 50° was causing hot pressures around 37/34 which is more than the tire wants. I found that the TPMS would go off when the tire cooled and suddenly lost 6psi, even if the resultant pressure was not out of the normal range.

I have video:

My best lap: http://btwyx.com/Movies/LagunaOct14Best.mov
Cathy best lap: http://btwyx.com/Movies/LagunaOct14CBest.mov unfortunately we only managed to get the rear view for that, and the lap timer had inexplicably failed, so no data either. Her second best lap, with two cameras and data:
http://btwyx.com/Movies/LagunaOct14CBest2.mov


Here's me being followed by one of the other blue Cayman, this is the GTS




The coach eying the camera suspiciously during one of Cathy's laps:




This one I'm on the cool down lap, or I'd be too busy to do this:

 

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Yes - there is more pace in your car. I was there a couple of months ago in a 981 CS. You've got a good start - keep at it!!
 

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In any car, at any speed, the throttle input will steer the car, it's just more pronounced at the limits. This isn't just weight transfer and gain/loss of traction, at the limits, although that's certainly also a going concern!

I read all about slip angles, and the direction your tires steer the car in relation to the direction they are pointed, but never expected it to be as pronounced as it is on the track, and as useful. You can really steer the car in a turn with just the throttle. Try it in a long sweeper this safe conditions: hold your hands steady and reduce and increase the gas.

That's why you can still get rotation without being on the brakes, and why you so naturally track out of a corner while squeezing on the throttle, without even having to unwind the wheel that much.

The reason why having light throttle helps keep a car more under control in an aggressive turn is that it keeps the car from decelerating under coasting, which loads the front wheels more, and causes some rotation, and it puts a bit more weight on the back, and it gives you more control, even if it's still subconscious. I had one instructor that really exaggerated this and wanted all the braking done before every turn-in, and then the foot on the gas, lightly, going into the turn, and then already well into the gas coming out of the turn. It was exaggerated, but he got the point across. Another instructor picked a safe turn, that was flat and had runout, and had me fully lift mid-turn, just to drive the point home, and the car just pivoted and tucked right in. I was giving way too much maintenance throttle and plowing through turns.

Hopefully this is all helpful/appropriate/correct. I'm just an intermediate driver myself.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

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You will get used to Pdk and knowing which gear you are in. It's just something you can keep track of mentally as you drive the track, with occasional glances at the gear indicator. Se thing with the wheels...as you become familiar with the car, you'll be able to run over a dime with your tires on command.

The car can do low 1:40s. Keep at it!
 

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If you drive with PSM activated and the PDK in AUTO, the system uses the accelerometers among other devices to determine slip and what power and/or braking to apply and you can basically brake as hard as you can before entry into a corner, stop braking and enter the corner and when you pass the apex, stomp on the throttle, the 981 will literally drive anywhere on the track upon exit allowing you to easily set up another car for a pass as you take a tighter line out of the corner if the next straight is a passing zone or just the traditional line if no one is in front.
Last season, I experimented with PDK in AUTO and SPORT. This year with SPORT PLUS, I never defeat PSM (don't know if you can ever defeat PSM completely) PDK again in AUTO. What I noticed is that SPORT PLUS does relax PSM intervention by observing my G-Forces being higher,left and right with SPORT PLUS.
The PDK handles all the shifting brilliantly for you and you can concentrate on braking, cornering and Track conditions and flags.
Did three Track sessions at Road America this summer this way and started to feel I was starting to understand the 981 better. At least last Friday I felt very comfortable around Road America.
I don't think I will ever turn off PSM as I'm not a Pro driver, don't time my laps and am having a blast with this 981.
Only thing I need is more HP to keep up with the M3's on the straights at Road America.
Other wise for the corners, all I need is more rubber on the road!-Richard
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I never did turn off the PSM, I might get around to that when I get more experience. It took me quite a while to turn stability control off in the MINIs, and I usually only bother on track once I feel it fighting me. I never felt it fighting me, and I did manage to get sideways a few times. I was in sport+ where the PSM is supposed to be more lenient.

Also in sport+ the PDK shifts were getting very aggressive, accelerating down the main straight (out of the slowest corner T11), I could feel a kick in the back as the PDK shifted up.
 

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First, keep your hands at the 9 and 3 position, thats probably why you had a hard time with the shifters because you were moving your hands about.

Long story short, as you reduce steering angle, you should increase the gas. So when the steering wheel is fully straight you should be full gas. at....~150-90 degree steering use no gas, and as you exit the corner and reduce the steering angle increase the gas proportionally to the reduction in steering angle.

and Lastly, when you brake, brake in a straight line. When you were braking you were creeping into the corners which threw off your entry to the corner and therefore ruined your exit.

And as you get more and more comfortable start being more aggressive with your gas delivery. Power oversteer with this car wont be too easy to accomplish in 3rd gear corners. 2nd gear corners you have to be slightly more careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I checked the tire wear and the brake wear. The tire wear is looking like the fronts were under inflated and the rears were about right, possibly very slightly under inflated. If I ran on the PZeros again (which isn't the plan), I think I'd just drop the front pressure 2psi from standard,and leave the rears alone.

The brake rotor wear is what I've been worrying about, as the rotors are the most totally ridiculously expensive thing. The wear is unclear, its down in the noise, with an uncertainty of about 0.04mm, the measured wear, and available rotor thickness is:

Front right: 0.00 0.38
Rear Right: 0.01 0.16
Rear Left: -0.01 0.46
Front Left: -0.03 0.35

Its encouraging, but I'll only know the actual wear after a few more track days. If there really is 0.01mm of wear on the rear right, then there's only 16 track days of wear in the rotor, which is not sustainable. If they could last 30-40 days, I'd think about renewing them. The other problem is if the negative wear is real, not noise it could indicate scaling which is another failure mode.

The pad wear is much greater, but the pads might last another 5-10 days if they're flipped, I hope they're flippable as the wear is quite a lot more at the bottom that the top. That they're wearing on the bottom faster surprised me, its the opposite to what I'm used to, but the calipers are upside down to what I'm used to (on the rear of the rotor, not the front). So its the leading edge of the pad which is wearing, which is what I'm used to. I'll take 5-10 days, I've been struggling to get 2 days out of a set of the hardest compound pads previously.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First, keep your hands at the 9 and 3 position, thats probably why you had a hard time with the shifters because you were moving your hands about.
I'm quite comfortable with shuffle steering, its a basic technique taught to all learner drivers where I come from, so its natural to me. Also Dave never complained about that, and its the way skip barber teaches you to do it. I never had a problem with physically locating the paddles, the problem was knowing what gear I was in. Though the paddles are the strongest argument yet for keeping my hands still.
 

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I never did turn off the PSM, I might get around to that when I get more experience. It took me quite a while to turn stability control off in the MINIs, and I usually only bother on track once I feel it fighting me. I never felt it fighting me, and I did manage to get sideways a few times. I was in sport+ where the PSM is supposed to be more lenient.

Also in sport+ the PDK shifts were getting very aggressive, accelerating down the main straight (out of the slowest corner T11), I could feel a kick in the back as the PDK shifted up.
In Sport Plus the shifts are faster and with an overboost of torque which actually cause faster acceleration, PDK cars driven in AUTO are faster than MT and I believe other PDK cars driven with manual inputs. Instructors do not like the PDK shifts because they are simply not used toanything other than MT or slush box shifts. The PDK never makes a mistake. Downshifts are lighteniing quick with three or more in a row, so fast, all you hear and feel is POW, POW, POW
As to tire pressures and other factors, Mine are set by my Dealer for Road America when I have a Track Inspection performed, we also discuss the tire wear and pad wear. I do not adjust tire pressure before or after a DE, the tires are about 38psi after a 30 minute session and work fine. Pad wear is very good and I have only had the fronts replaced when they went below 50%.
As a novice I don;t believe I have the experience to ascertain whether minor chnages in tire pressure or other adjustables are affecting my driving, that also makes for more variables and it is then difficult to impossible to factor out what is causing what.
what I want is maximum concentration on a good driving line, braking, corner entry, exit and power out of the corner as well as Track awareness.
Driving with the PDK in AUTO reduces the variables and actually allows me to drive better.
The instructors I have driven with are uncomfortable with PDK and want me to drive in Manual and turn PSM OFF.
That's because I believe that's how they were trained when there was no PDK and PSM. One has to remember that the PDK is not a simple automatic transmission but uses sensors and computer algorithms to control the engine, shifting and other factors and PSM is very sophisticated traction and stability control coupled with the braking system, the whole system outperforms using the systems in manual if you could. Braking control cannot be defeated. I have yet to have the car become uncontrollable when using maxium braking from 120+ mph..
So as an Experimentalists, my second year of evaluating the 981 with PDK, PSM is over and I couldn't be more happier with the results. Last Friday I felt very comfortable driving Road America, negotiating traffic and course awareness.I don't think I will ever time my laps..
-Richard
 
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Very good discussion, I think the airbag comment is a good one. But first rule of wrecking a car, if you're going for a wall... let go and cross your arms, because with your hands on the wheel, you can break wrists and hands from a sudden shock to the front suspension as the wheel snaps out of place.

I was always taught to keep my hands at 9 and 3 the entire time because if you shuffle steer, you often have to look down (for a split second) to find out where to place your hands after moving them. If you keep you hands at 9 and 3 you always have an idea about how much angle you are giving and if you need to countersteer, BANG you're right in place to use the correct amount of countersteer.

Many times novice drivers think the need to shuffle steer because they can't possibly get enough turn angle to cross their arms with their hands at 9 and 3, and the fix for this is to adjust your seating position. You should be able to hold at 9 and 3 and cross your arms with 180 degrees of steer at your current seating position.
 

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Yeah, I agree.(I'm a novice driver...but use the 9 and 3 positions) Especially at MRLS, there aren't any turns sharp enough to be crossed up(full 180 degrees). The sharpest turns are not much past 90 degrees.

Sorry, don't want to turn this into a hand position debate. I'm roughly running the same times as you and I've been to MRLS about 4 times so I don't have that many tips. Looks like you're going for the double apex at turn 2? I think that's a bit faster line. Also at turn 6, because of the camber, if you get your entry right, you can basically be full throttle at the apex. You definitely want at least some maintenance throttle there to keep the car planted. Also turn 1 can be taken flat out, just keep it straight over the crest.

Many times novice drivers think the need to shuffle steer because they can't possibly get enough turn angle to cross their arms with their hands at 9 and 3, and the fix for this is to adjust your seating position. You should be able to hold at 9 and 3 and cross your arms with 180 degrees of steer at your current seating position.
 
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Yesterday were were out at Sonoma Raceway (aka Infineon, Sears Point) with Hooked on Driving. It was a bit of a strange day. Leading up to the day my main concern was that a weather front was moving in and it might be wet. In the end the weather arrived at 8pm, after we're got home, so rain wasn't the problem. We did have a lot of fog though and I forgot to actually sign us up for the day. We didn't actually realise this until we were in the hotel for the night, I should have been suspicious when I found I didn't have a hotel booking. Somewhere along the line it had totally slipped my mind to go sign up and pay for the day. As we were in the neighborhood we went along and asked if they had any spare places, eventually they decided I could have one of the no-show's places. Cathy was suffering from a bad cold, so was happy to sit this one out.

There was also the fog. It was very thick, on the way to the track I was toddling along at 45, being passed by all and sundry and thinking I was going too fast for the conditions. My group (C, advanced/point-by) was on track first at 8am, and the fog was still really thick, so the group went out behind the truck with its lights on as a pace car. I'd done that before, it wasn't particularly fun, and I hadn't been given a place yet so I sat that one out. All of the first sessions were like that. By the time the second sessions came around the fog has lifted sufficiently that they allowed the session out under standing yellow.

I did manage to drive in that session, though it was scary at times, like when you come over the blind crest of 3a expecting to see 4, and see nothing. The standing yellows meant no passing, so it was frustrating, I didn't think of coming into the pits to find clear track as some drivers did, but I hung back along the front straight to create a gap, probably frustrating the drivers behind me, then went full speed from 2 on, to eventually catch up with the cars in front of me. One lap I caught up at turn 7, another I made it all the way to 10.

It was still quite misty for the last session of the morning at 11am, but it had lifted enough that he session could be run at full speed. They still warned us they might throw a local yellow if the fog got too heavy at any particular part of the track. With all the fog, it was pretty chilly, especially with the windows open (as is normal). The weather was fine and sunny and warm for the afternoon. My hands were particularly frozen after the first session, so I wore my glove liners for the second session. These are not suited to being driving gloves as they had no grip on the steering when, so I got achy hands from gripping tightly enough to drive.

Here's a handy track map:



My goals for the day were not very clear. My previous fastest lap at Sonoma was a 2:05.6, but I discount that as 1 second of it is illusory because of a combination of different lines I'd taken. My fastest real laps were 2:06.5. I'd be quite happy exceeding that, but didn't want to be just chasing lap times, I was more interested in exploring the handling possibilities of the Cayman. At the autocross a couple of weeks ago I'd been exploring power oversteer, I didn't want to try that too much on track, especially at Sonoma with all the walls around, but turn 6 and turn 7 are pretty safe to experiment with. Mainly I just wanted to drive and see what happened.

I was also trying the alternate tires on track for the first time, as I'd used for autocross, Dunlop ZII tires on wider 19" wheels. I'd also got an alignment done. The alignment was targeted for autocross, so its main effect was to add 1 degree of front camber, it also zeroed the front toe and evened out the rear toe (to slightly toe in). I wasn't quite sure I needed the extra camber up front, the tire temperatures at the autocross looked like the front camber was fine as is. All of the alignment, except for the front camber is within Porsche's specs.

New tires meant finding suitable pressures, so I set them to the street pressures, minus six psi. The theory is that the tires will heat up about 100° causing a 10psi increase in pressure. I only took out 6 as its easier to let out excess pressure than add more. As it was the tire temperatures from the last session show the pressure was about perfect, but that the front (and rear) camber is too much.

For the third session of the morning, my second session, and the first run at full speed, I lined up at the slow end of the grid and then pointed a bunch of cars by on my outlap. I always take a very easy outlap, to warm up the tires etc, but other drivers seem to be much more aggressive, so I let them by. For the rest of the session I was passed quite a few of those cars back. There was one interesting pass, I jumped a McLaren I'd pointed by earlier, as we were entering turn 6.

I seem to have a particularly flamboyant entry to turn 6, sweeping around 5 and up the hill to stomp on the brakes to align myself for the 6, which is the "Carousel" a very long downhill sweeper around the bottom of a hill, its about 200° of corner and one I've never come to terms with. I know there's a second or two more to be gained from doing it right, but I never seem to manage it. Turn 6 also has a multitude of lines you can take, the classic line is a midline about a cars width from the inside, which is defensive and stops someone sneaking by on the inside (if you're racing and care about that), you can take the inside line which may be quicker, or the outside line which gives you a faster exit (being careful not to overdo that and run off the track at exit as I did the first time I took the outside line.)

I do have a habit of surprising cars and catching them as I enter turn 6. The really fast line through 5 throws you to the outside of the track, which would be the inside of 6, then you have to jog to the right to take the mid line. My line through 6 is a little more to the inside so I don't have to jog so much on entry. In this case, I came sweeping up behind the McLaren, who was taking a mid-wide line and aimed for the inside, as I didn't have a point by I came to a relative stop with my nose just to the side and behind of his rear bumper. I'm sure this looked dramatic in his mirrors as at that point I got a point by and passed him on the inside line.

To underscore the point of how slowly I was taking the Carousel, a couple of laps earlier, I'd been surprised by how fast a FIAT 500 Abarth had caught up with me in the Carousel. There was a pack of three Abarths, who all fitted into one Garage bay, I'd noticed them earlier in the paddock. I'd expect an Abarth to have performance slightly less than the faster MINIs I'm used to, so I was quite impressed by this guy's driving. He hung on and I pointed him by the next time we got to 5. I then chased him around the track after we'd both passed the McLaren. It took me a couple of laps before I caught him and passed him going into turn 10. He then chased me for several laps before I lost him.

Looking at my lap times later, I had to turn a 2:05.4 to catch him, my fastest ever lap at Sonoma (so now I could stop worrying about lap times). To lose him I had to turn consistent 2:06/2:07s. I bumped into the driver later and complimented him on his driving. I was quite pleased with my performance in the session, though I was not sure I was doing it the way my coach (Dave) taught me at the last track day. I was having fun, which is the main thing.

At Sonoma, the resident driving school is the confusingly named SimRaceway (Simraceway Performance Driving Center) they have a real, not virtual, presence. SimRaceway started as online virtual racing, but seem to have bought out the old Jim Russel driving school and now do it for real. They've also asserted the exclusivity clause in their contract, no one else can offer a driving school at Sonoma, so Hooked on Driving no longer offers coaching there, and so there is no beginners groups. Instead of the A, beginners group there is B1, low intermediate. A driver can still learn to drive on track with HOD at any of the other tracks, but they can no longer be coached at Sonoma. Given how difficult Sonoma is to learn, this is a big problem.

At lunch we were chatting to some people, one of whom was a B1 driver who'd never driven the track before, so I offered to ride along with him and "not coach" him. I also offered him a ride with me for the next session. He was driving a Fiesta, not a very powerful one, so pretty much in line with the slower MINIs I've driven. He said he also had a MINI, he wasn't driving that possibly because it was an auto, the Fiesta had a stick. He wasn't doing too badly on his own, there were a few places when I thought he could take a later line. And at turn 2 he could enter more from the left, he was taking a mid track entry, probably because that hill and corner leading up to turn 2 is very difficult to deal with (its one of the bits I've never really got). I also coached him (or not) to a smoother line through turn 7. If you get it right you can drift through the corner, not changing your steering, with your foot flat on the floor. You connect the two apices and the exit point on one smooth arc. It can be very satisfying to get right. I think he was turning 2:30s which is pretty good first time out, he later seemed to be doing 2:20s. (For reference I managed a 2:17 the first time, with coaching, and have got down to 2:11 (when I was there last in April) in the slower MINIs (though I needed R-comps for the last 2 sec of that).

I gave him a lift for my third session which was immediately after his session. This time I lined up in the middle of the grid and didn't see many cars for the whole of the session. I passed one of the other Abarths, which seemed to be less aware of my presence. I was in his right mirror coming out of 11 (the hairpin), no point-by, at 12 I was in his other mirror when I finally got a point-by. My lap times weren't stunning a 2:05.6 and a bunch of 2:09s. I may have been trying to set a good example, so was restrained, or there was too much ballast (though he did look quite skinny). I also said he shouldn't necessarily do what I did as I may not have been doing it right and it might not be applicable to his car. He did say the (not) coaching and the ride along were helpful, which is quite gratifying. He asked if I coached as he seemed to think I was good at it. Apart from MINI specific events I haven't coached, though I've wondered about it, with my lack of rear drive experience I wouldn't feel comfortable currently.

In the last session, I also lined up in the middle of the grid, and then I let it rip. I was pushing more, I was trying to get on the power earlier. I also experimented with using the auto-gearchange. The PDK gearbox in the Porsche is a marvel of engineering and I think its the finest manual transmission you can buy. I usually use it in M and direct the gear changes myself. That's most involving. The PDK can of course also select the gears itself, something I really don't like my cars doing. There is a theory however, that the PDK can do better than a human in certain circumstances, something I'm loath to admit, but something I was experimenting with.

I let it do its thing at the autocross, previously and it certainly allowed me to concentrate on driving, though I thought its shift strategy was non optimal and could be improved on. On the way to the track I'd put it in auto for freeway cruising, its more economical than I am. Though I was quite offended when I got of the freeway and it changed gears on me, I made sure to put it back in manual after that to prevent such impudence. Driving on track was a third area where it might do better than a human. Some drivers have called its abilities, in the Sport+ mode on track "almost telepathic", I don't think I'd go that far. It did a reasonable job, though it didn't want to change down on the way into turn 2. I'd been selecting 2 there and it steadfastly kept 3, though sometimes it decided to change down to 2 at the apex of 2, which was unsettling for the car as well as for me. I took to forcing a shift to 2 on the way in.

The most useful aspect of changing gears automatically is to shift up when you run out of revs. I'd been so busy with everything else I'd been forgetting to change up quite a lot. The exit of 3a was one such place. The sound of the engine bouncing off the limiter was usually a prompt to change up, or the lap timer doing its crazy "Shift Now!" animation. For maximum performance you need to shift exactly at redline, which is quite difficult to arrange when shifting manually. You can take advantage of the kickdown feature, there's a switch at the end of the accelerator pedal travel. Press that switch and it'll change up for you at redline. I'd been using that on the run up from 6 to 7, where you have you foot flat on the floor. There are few other places where I did not have my foot flat to the floor to take advantage of kickdown (like the exit of 3a, or the front "straight" turns 12 and 1). That's where auto gears were most useful.

As for getting on the power early, classically, you take the corner, straighten the wheel, then feed in power. That's the safe way to do it. To much power with too much steering angle is a recipe for disaster, or fun depending on your point of view. As I said, that's what I'd been practicing at the autocross, inducing power oversteer. I really didn't want to take it that far on the track, it would be bad form, probably get you black flagged, and is not fast. But I had been gently probing how much power I could feed in, and the answer was quite a lot before things got sideways. I never did find the limit in turn 6, but I don't think I ever did that particularly fast. A few times I overdid it at turn 7, but the result was very easy to bring under control.

This emboldened me and I tried feeding in power earlier in more places. I was on the power before the apex at both 2 and 3a. When I'd done the Ferrari experience at Silverstone, one of my few previous times being coached in a rear dive car, the coach was adamant "Power After Apex!" I was taking the later entry line around 5, as I'd commented to my passenger earlier, that was the high horsepower line. I have more horsepower than I'm used to, so I should use it. The line holds the exit of 4 for a bit longer, past the exit berm, then aim for the apex of 5 and hit the power. If done right, you stay on the track after 5 and have a lot of speed over the hill into 6.

I was trying more power on the exit of 6. With my tight line in 6, I wait until quite late then aim for the end of the exit berm on the inside, which is my apex, if done right you end up with two wheels on the exit berm on the outside and are headed to 7 (not headed off track). My theory that I'd get the right line if I could manage to thread those points while at full throttle. If kickdown was engaged, or in auto, it would also change up for you at the appropriate time, which was somewhere around the exit berm on the outside.

At 7 I was using a double apex line. In the MINI I'd found the double apex to be faster, I expected the Cayman to appreciate it even more. The turn in looked very early, but it would connect the dots nicely. My earlier attempts needed some mid corner correction to avoid the second apex, so I'd moved the entry back somewhat. As I added more power I think I needed an even earlier entry. 7 was where I had most "interesting" incidents with the back end stepping out, but it is really easy to control when it does that.

I probably needed to take an earlier line through 8a, as I commented to my passenger, there was still quite a lot of exit room to use, my wheels ended up quite a ways from the exit berm. I usually took a tight line around 9, that had been faster in the MINIs, so I was used to it. Its also a bit slower, and I was being very conscious of the wall approaching if you muffed 10. I'd got a lot more cautious about 9/10 when I found myself doing 105 towards that wall and almost losing control.

I took a very late line around 11, this gives you the fastest launch down the front "straight". At the speeds I was managing 12 was starting to feel like a corner, not a straight. 1 was definitely a corner now and needed some thought. I ended up running wide near the berm on the far side of 1, then straightening up a bit and braking slightly to be able to make the entry for 2. The hill up to two is one of the trouble spots I still have at Sonoma, I'm still not sure I've got it right. Though I may be doing better than some other drivers, this was graphically demonstrated during my fastest lap, when I caught up with the other Blue Cayman there (which was a GTS and theoretically faster). I'm still running full tilt and I have to brake to avoid running into the back of him. I take an even later entry to 2, pitch the exit, get a point-by at the right time and blow by him on the way to 3.

That should have slowed me up, so I'm surprised it was my fastest lap. Similarly on my second fastest I blew by a Z4 on the exit of 6. My fastest clear lap was almost a second slower, which is slightly puzzling. Even if this is not a competitive event, I may be more motivated by catching and passing other cars than I really should be. My slowest lap was when I got held up by a 911 Turbo, it couldn't use the massive amounts of power it has available (somewhere around 500hp) very effectively at Sonoma it seems.

It was a good day, despite its unconventional start. Cathy is a little jealous that I got to drive and she didn't, though she says that its probably for the best that she didn't try to drive. I feel very comfortable in the C group, in the Cayman, where as before I felt the MINI was just too slow. I'm also pretty sure there's a lot more speed to find in the Cayman. At the last track day I was only just faster than in a MINI, this time I'm consistently 3 (or more) seconds faster. though it looks like it'll have to wait to next year to find out for sure. There are a couple more events this year, but we weren't planning on getting to any, there are a whole slew of potential events in January/February.

Also slightly unconventional for the day is no photos, at all. The pro photographer (Dito) was there as usual, but he spoke at the C/D drivers meeting when I still wasn't sure I was actually going to drive. No one seemed interested in his offer of a free 16" print with a CD, so he said he wasn't going to take any photos of the C/D groups. No one, including me, at the meeting thought he was serious at this point. I never did get to go look at the photos mid-day as I usually might, so I only discovered there were absolutely no photos of the car until it was too late. I hadn't even bothered getting Cathy to take a few of our own as we sometimes do. You can see photos of me, as I'm (not) coaching the guy in the red Fiesta: 66 in his third session. Those also show exactly how foggy it was earlier in the day.

I do have video. I found a reasonable mounting method, I got the GoPro handlebar mount and mounted it on the luggage bar behind the seats. I'd avoided this idea previously as I thought the result would not be very stable. The mount had to go on "sideways" as it wouldn't fit the bar in the conventional orientation. Then all it needs is a single bit of mount to turn the conner and the camera to point forwards. (If you add too many mount segments, the mount gets wobbly.) I first tried it with the camera hanging down, so it'd be more stable, but you couldn't see the horizon from that position. Mounting the camera up instead worked, and was surprisingly stable. I also used both exterior cameras as Cathy wasn't running (there's only enough battery for one camera to work all day for one person.)

I did have the usual data collection in place with Harry's lap timer on the iPhone connected to an OBD dongle and an external GPS unit, but the iPhone power supply is becoming flaky and at the critical point during my fast lap the iPhone put up an alert complaining about the power supply. This meant the data capture stopped until I noticed the alert a lap later. All other laps, apart from my fastest have good data.

Video: http://btwyx.com/Movies/SonomaNov14Best.mov
 

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Good commentary. Thanks for the recap of the whole day. Much better than I could've ever put it in words!!!
I was also there yesterday in the Carmine Red GTS. The fog was unreal. I was there with a bunch of my buddies with 987 cayman R and spyders. We ran in the open passing group (D). Turn one-two before the bridge, you should let your car go wider, towards the cone, it will allow you to carry more speed without upsetting the car. You early apex on 2 which will cause an off if taken at full speed. Trust me, I've done it and almost did it a few times yesterday. Turn 6 you can carry more speed into the turn and you should start a little wider unless you are trying to pass someone on the inside. Turn 8 you early apex as you start the Esses. Careful, at speed, you may lose your car there. Again, ask me how I know. Turn 10, don't early apex, you will run out of room at speed and go into the wall.

I treat Sonoma with a lot of respect. I seen a lot of cars get wrecked out there. I love this track, but it is very technical and should be treated with a lot of respect.
See you at the track.

My fastest lap yesterday 1:54
HOD Sonoma 11/28/14 - YouTube

Yesterday were were out at Sonoma Raceway (aka Infineon, Sears Point) with Hooked on Driving. It was a bit of a strange day. Leading up to the day my main concern was that a weather front was moving in and it might be wet. In the end the weather arrived at 8pm, after we're got home, so rain wasn't the problem. We did have a lot of fog though and I forgot to actually sign us up for the day. We didn't actually realise this until we were in the hotel for the night, I should have been suspicious when I found I didn't have a hotel booking. Somewhere along the line it had totally slipped my mind to go sign up and pay for the day. As we were in the neighborhood we went along and asked if they had any spare places, eventually they decided I could have one of the no-show's places. Cathy was suffering from a bad cold, so was happy to sit this one out.

There was also the fog. It was very thick, on the way to the track I was toddling along at 45, being passed by all and sundry and thinking I was going too fast for the conditions. My group (C, advanced/point-by) was on track first at 8am, and the fog was still really thick, so the group went out behind the truck with its lights on as a pace car. I'd done that before, it wasn't particularly fun, and I hadn't been given a place yet so I sat that one out. All of the first sessions were like that. By the time the second sessions came around the fog has lifted sufficiently that they allowed the session out under standing yellow.

I did manage to drive in that session, though it was scary at times, like when you come over the blind crest of 3a expecting to see 4, and see nothing. The standing yellows meant no passing, so it was frustrating, I didn't think of coming into the pits to find clear track as some drivers did, but I hung back along the front straight to create a gap, probably frustrating the drivers behind me, then went full speed from 2 on, to eventually catch up with the cars in front of me. One lap I caught up at turn 7, another I made it all the way to 10.

It was still quite misty for the last session of the morning at 11am, but it had lifted enough that he session could be run at full speed. They still warned us they might throw a local yellow if the fog got too heavy at any particular part of the track. With all the fog, it was pretty chilly, especially with the windows open (as is normal). The weather was fine and sunny and warm for the afternoon. My hands were particularly frozen after the first session, so I wore my glove liners for the second session. These are not suited to being driving gloves as they had no grip on the steering when, so I got achy hands from gripping tightly enough to drive.

Here's a handy track map:



My goals for the day were not very clear. My previous fastest lap at Sonoma was a 2:05.6, but I discount that as 1 second of it is illusory because of a combination of different lines I'd taken. My fastest real laps were 2:06.5. I'd be quite happy exceeding that, but didn't want to be just chasing lap times, I was more interested in exploring the handling possibilities of the Cayman. At the autocross a couple of weeks ago I'd been exploring power oversteer, I didn't want to try that too much on track, especially at Sonoma with all the walls around, but turn 6 and turn 7 are pretty safe to experiment with. Mainly I just wanted to drive and see what happened.

I was also trying the alternate tires on track for the first time, as I'd used for autocross, Dunlop ZII tires on wider 19" wheels. I'd also got an alignment done. The alignment was targeted for autocross, so its main effect was to add 1 degree of front camber, it also zeroed the front toe and evened out the rear toe (to slightly toe in). I wasn't quite sure I needed the extra camber up front, the tire temperatures at the autocross looked like the front camber was fine as is. All of the alignment, except for the front camber is within Porsche's specs.

New tires meant finding suitable pressures, so I set them to the street pressures, minus six psi. The theory is that the tires will heat up about 100° causing a 10psi increase in pressure. I only took out 6 as its easier to let out excess pressure than add more. As it was the tire temperatures from the last session show the pressure was about perfect, but that the front (and rear) camber is too much.

For the third session of the morning, my second session, and the first run at full speed, I lined up at the slow end of the grid and then pointed a bunch of cars by on my outlap. I always take a very easy outlap, to warm up the tires etc, but other drivers seem to be much more aggressive, so I let them by. For the rest of the session I was passed quite a few of those cars back. There was one interesting pass, I jumped a McLaren I'd pointed by earlier, as we were entering turn 6.

I seem to have a particularly flamboyant entry to turn 6, sweeping around 5 and up the hill to stomp on the brakes to align myself for the 6, which is the "Carousel" a very long downhill sweeper around the bottom of a hill, its about 200° of corner and one I've never come to terms with. I know there's a second or two more to be gained from doing it right, but I never seem to manage it. Turn 6 also has a multitude of lines you can take, the classic line is a midline about a cars width from the inside, which is defensive and stops someone sneaking by on the inside (if you're racing and care about that), you can take the inside line which may be quicker, or the outside line which gives you a faster exit (being careful not to overdo that and run off the track at exit as I did the first time I took the outside line.)

I do have a habit of surprising cars and catching them as I enter turn 6. The really fast line through 5 throws you to the outside of the track, which would be the inside of 6, then you have to jog to the right to take the mid line. My line through 6 is a little more to the inside so I don't have to jog so much on entry. In this case, I came sweeping up behind the McLaren, who was taking a mid-wide line and aimed for the inside, as I didn't have a point by I came to a relative stop with my nose just to the side and behind of his rear bumper. I'm sure this looked dramatic in his mirrors as at that point I got a point by and passed him on the inside line.

To underscore the point of how slowly I was taking the Carousel, a couple of laps earlier, I'd been surprised by how fast a FIAT 500 Abarth had caught up with me in the Carousel. There was a pack of three Abarths, who all fitted into one Garage bay, I'd noticed them earlier in the paddock. I'd expect an Abarth to have performance slightly less than the faster MINIs I'm used to, so I was quite impressed by this guy's driving. He hung on and I pointed him by the next time we got to 5. I then chased him around the track after we'd both passed the McLaren. It took me a couple of laps before I caught him and passed him going into turn 10. He then chased me for several laps before I lost him.

Looking at my lap times later, I had to turn a 2:05.4 to catch him, my fastest ever lap at Sonoma (so now I could stop worrying about lap times). To lose him I had to turn consistent 2:06/2:07s. I bumped into the driver later and complimented him on his driving. I was quite pleased with my performance in the session, though I was not sure I was doing it the way my coach (Dave) taught me at the last track day. I was having fun, which is the main thing.

At Sonoma, the resident driving school is the confusingly named SimRaceway (Simraceway Performance Driving Center) they have a real, not virtual, presence. SimRaceway started as online virtual racing, but seem to have bought out the old Jim Russel driving school and now do it for real. They've also asserted the exclusivity clause in their contract, no one else can offer a driving school at Sonoma, so Hooked on Driving no longer offers coaching there, and so there is no beginners groups. Instead of the A, beginners group there is B1, low intermediate. A driver can still learn to drive on track with HOD at any of the other tracks, but they can no longer be coached at Sonoma. Given how difficult Sonoma is to learn, this is a big problem.

At lunch we were chatting to some people, one of whom was a B1 driver who'd never driven the track before, so I offered to ride along with him and "not coach" him. I also offered him a ride with me for the next session. He was driving a Fiesta, not a very powerful one, so pretty much in line with the slower MINIs I've driven. He said he also had a MINI, he wasn't driving that possibly because it was an auto, the Fiesta had a stick. He wasn't doing too badly on his own, there were a few places when I thought he could take a later line. And at turn 2 he could enter more from the left, he was taking a mid track entry, probably because that hill and corner leading up to turn 2 is very difficult to deal with (its one of the bits I've never really got). I also coached him (or not) to a smoother line through turn 7. If you get it right you can drift through the corner, not changing your steering, with your foot flat on the floor. You connect the two apices and the exit point on one smooth arc. It can be very satisfying to get right. I think he was turning 2:30s which is pretty good first time out, he later seemed to be doing 2:20s. (For reference I managed a 2:17 the first time, with coaching, and have got down to 2:11 (when I was there last in April) in the slower MINIs (though I needed R-comps for the last 2 sec of that).

I gave him a lift for my third session which was immediately after his session. This time I lined up in the middle of the grid and didn't see many cars for the whole of the session. I passed one of the other Abarths, which seemed to be less aware of my presence. I was in his right mirror coming out of 11 (the hairpin), no point-by, at 12 I was in his other mirror when I finally got a point-by. My lap times weren't stunning a 2:05.6 and a bunch of 2:09s. I may have been trying to set a good example, so was restrained, or there was too much ballast (though he did look quite skinny). I also said he shouldn't necessarily do what I did as I may not have been doing it right and it might not be applicable to his car. He did say the (not) coaching and the ride along were helpful, which is quite gratifying. He asked if I coached as he seemed to think I was good at it. Apart from MINI specific events I haven't coached, though I've wondered about it, with my lack of rear drive experience I wouldn't feel comfortable currently.

In the last session, I also lined up in the middle of the grid, and then I let it rip. I was pushing more, I was trying to get on the power earlier. I also experimented with using the auto-gearchange. The PDK gearbox in the Porsche is a marvel of engineering and I think its the finest manual transmission you can buy. I usually use it in M and direct the gear changes myself. That's most involving. The PDK can of course also select the gears itself, something I really don't like my cars doing. There is a theory however, that the PDK can do better than a human in certain circumstances, something I'm loath to admit, but something I was experimenting with.

I let it do its thing at the autocross, previously and it certainly allowed me to concentrate on driving, though I thought its shift strategy was non optimal and could be improved on. On the way to the track I'd put it in auto for freeway cruising, its more economical than I am. Though I was quite offended when I got of the freeway and it changed gears on me, I made sure to put it back in manual after that to prevent such impudence. Driving on track was a third area where it might do better than a human. Some drivers have called its abilities, in the Sport+ mode on track "almost telepathic", I don't think I'd go that far. It did a reasonable job, though it didn't want to change down on the way into turn 2. I'd been selecting 2 there and it steadfastly kept 3, though sometimes it decided to change down to 2 at the apex of 2, which was unsettling for the car as well as for me. I took to forcing a shift to 2 on the way in.

The most useful aspect of changing gears automatically is to shift up when you run out of revs. I'd been so busy with everything else I'd been forgetting to change up quite a lot. The exit of 3a was one such place. The sound of the engine bouncing off the limiter was usually a prompt to change up, or the lap timer doing its crazy "Shift Now!" animation. For maximum performance you need to shift exactly at redline, which is quite difficult to arrange when shifting manually. You can take advantage of the kickdown feature, there's a switch at the end of the accelerator pedal travel. Press that switch and it'll change up for you at redline. I'd been using that on the run up from 6 to 7, where you have you foot flat on the floor. There are few other places where I did not have my foot flat to the floor to take advantage of kickdown (like the exit of 3a, or the front "straight" turns 12 and 1). That's where auto gears were most useful.

As for getting on the power early, classically, you take the corner, straighten the wheel, then feed in power. That's the safe way to do it. To much power with too much steering angle is a recipe for disaster, or fun depending on your point of view. As I said, that's what I'd been practicing at the autocross, inducing power oversteer. I really didn't want to take it that far on the track, it would be bad form, probably get you black flagged, and is not fast. But I had been gently probing how much power I could feed in, and the answer was quite a lot before things got sideways. I never did find the limit in turn 6, but I don't think I ever did that particularly fast. A few times I overdid it at turn 7, but the result was very easy to bring under control.

This emboldened me and I tried feeding in power earlier in more places. I was on the power before the apex at both 2 and 3a. When I'd done the Ferrari experience at Silverstone, one of my few previous times being coached in a rear dive car, the coach was adamant "Power After Apex!" I was taking the later entry line around 5, as I'd commented to my passenger earlier, that was the high horsepower line. I have more horsepower than I'm used to, so I should use it. The line holds the exit of 4 for a bit longer, past the exit berm, then aim for the apex of 5 and hit the power. If done right, you stay on the track after 5 and have a lot of speed over the hill into 6.

I was trying more power on the exit of 6. With my tight line in 6, I wait until quite late then aim for the end of the exit berm on the inside, which is my apex, if done right you end up with two wheels on the exit berm on the outside and are headed to 7 (not headed off track). My theory that I'd get the right line if I could manage to thread those points while at full throttle. If kickdown was engaged, or in auto, it would also change up for you at the appropriate time, which was somewhere around the exit berm on the outside.

At 7 I was using a double apex line. In the MINI I'd found the double apex to be faster, I expected the Cayman to appreciate it even more. The turn in looked very early, but it would connect the dots nicely. My earlier attempts needed some mid corner correction to avoid the second apex, so I'd moved the entry back somewhat. As I added more power I think I needed an even earlier entry. 7 was where I had most "interesting" incidents with the back end stepping out, but it is really easy to control when it does that.

I probably needed to take an earlier line through 8a, as I commented to my passenger, there was still quite a lot of exit room to use, my wheels ended up quite a ways from the exit berm. I usually took a tight line around 9, that had been faster in the MINIs, so I was used to it. Its also a bit slower, and I was being very conscious of the wall approaching if you muffed 10. I'd got a lot more cautious about 9/10 when I found myself doing 105 towards that wall and almost losing control.

I took a very late line around 11, this gives you the fastest launch down the front "straight". At the speeds I was managing 12 was starting to feel like a corner, not a straight. 1 was definitely a corner now and needed some thought. I ended up running wide near the berm on the far side of 1, then straightening up a bit and braking slightly to be able to make the entry for 2. The hill up to two is one of the trouble spots I still have at Sonoma, I'm still not sure I've got it right. Though I may be doing better than some other drivers, this was graphically demonstrated during my fastest lap, when I caught up with the other Blue Cayman there (which was a GTS and theoretically faster). I'm still running full tilt and I have to brake to avoid running into the back of him. I take an even later entry to 2, pitch the exit, get a point-by at the right time and blow by him on the way to 3.

That should have slowed me up, so I'm surprised it was my fastest lap. Similarly on my second fastest I blew by a Z4 on the exit of 6. My fastest clear lap was almost a second slower, which is slightly puzzling. Even if this is not a competitive event, I may be more motivated by catching and passing other cars than I really should be. My slowest lap was when I got held up by a 911 Turbo, it couldn't use the massive amounts of power it has available (somewhere around 500hp) very effectively at Sonoma it seems.

It was a good day, despite its unconventional start. Cathy is a little jealous that I got to drive and she didn't, though she says that its probably for the best that she didn't try to drive. I feel very comfortable in the C group, in the Cayman, where as before I felt the MINI was just too slow. I'm also pretty sure there's a lot more speed to find in the Cayman. At the last track day I was only just faster than in a MINI, this time I'm consistently 3 (or more) seconds faster. though it looks like it'll have to wait to next year to find out for sure. There are a couple more events this year, but we weren't planning on getting to any, there are a whole slew of potential events in January/February.

Also slightly unconventional for the day is no photos, at all. The pro photographer (Dito) was there as usual, but he spoke at the C/D drivers meeting when I still wasn't sure I was actually going to drive. No one seemed interested in his offer of a free 16" print with a CD, so he said he wasn't going to take any photos of the C/D groups. No one, including me, at the meeting thought he was serious at this point. I never did get to go look at the photos mid-day as I usually might, so I only discovered there were absolutely no photos of the car until it was too late. I hadn't even bothered getting Cathy to take a few of our own as we sometimes do. You can see photos of me, as I'm (not) coaching the guy in the red Fiesta: 66 in his third session. Those also show exactly how foggy it was earlier in the day.

I do have video. I found a reasonable mounting method, I got the GoPro handlebar mount and mounted it on the luggage bar behind the seats. I'd avoided this idea previously as I thought the result would not be very stable. The mount had to go on "sideways" as it wouldn't fit the bar in the conventional orientation. Then all it needs is a single bit of mount to turn the conner and the camera to point forwards. (If you add too many mount segments, the mount gets wobbly.) I first tried it with the camera hanging down, so it'd be more stable, but you couldn't see the horizon from that position. Mounting the camera up instead worked, and was surprisingly stable. I also used both exterior cameras as Cathy wasn't running (there's only enough battery for one camera to work all day for one person.)

I did have the usual data collection in place with Harry's lap timer on the iPhone connected to an OBD dongle and an external GPS unit, but the iPhone power supply is becoming flaky and at the critical point during my fast lap the iPhone put up an alert complaining about the power supply. This meant the data capture stopped until I noticed the alert a lap later. All other laps, apart from my fastest have good data.

Video: http://btwyx.com/Movies/SonomaNov14Best.mov
 

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Wow, should have held a P-9 get together, as at least 4 of us were at Sonoma post-Turkey day. I met OrthoJoe in the evening, and drooled at your beauty doborder! Btwyx, we'll have to keep an eye out for each other.

My second day in the Boxster S on the track, with a year and half in between. I carved out about 2 seconds from my first time, but, at 2:07.8, I've got a lot of speed left to gain. I know I'm not carrying enough speed through most curves, and need to work on tighter, later braking/shifting points. I was in the B2 group. My BS is pretty stock, with RS29s front and rear, Motul 650 fluid, and Pilot Super Sports.

The first segment of this video shows the fog mentioned by btwyx.

 

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How'd I missed you SJDAVE...
Anyways, great fun out there. Morning sucked big time, afternoon was awesome. See you at the track!!!


Wow, should have held a P-9 get together, as at least 4 of us were at Sonoma post-Turkey day. I met OrthoJoe in the evening, and drooled at your beauty doborder! Btwyx, we'll have to keep an eye out for each other.

My second day in the Boxster S on the track, with a year and half in between. I carved out about 2 seconds from my first time, but, at 2:07.8, I've got a lot of speed left to gain. I know I'm not carrying enough speed through most curves, and need to work on tighter, later braking/shifting points. I was in the B2 group. My BS is pretty stock, with RS29s front and rear, Motul 650 fluid, and Pilot Super Sports.

The first segment of this video shows the fog mentioned by btwyx.

 

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I'm quite comfortable with shuffle steering, its a basic technique taught to all learner drivers where I come from, so its natural to me. Also Dave never complained about that, and its the way skip barber teaches you to do it. I never had a problem with physically locating the paddles, the problem was knowing what gear I was in. Though the paddles are the strongest argument yet for keeping my hands still.
Doesn't Skip Barber only teach you to shuffle when necessary? You seem to do it pretty much every turn to avoid moving your arms (and for example on a mild right hand turn, your left hand will only have a few fingers left on the wheel). I think the downside is that it's harder to correct sudden oversteer. As you become more advanced and are putting down power earlier, you'll want to stay at 9 and 3 as much as possible because the car may need a quick flick of the wrist to correct now and then. When these mid-engined cars go, they can snap. For the time being it's not affecting you. Shuffle steering is a good technique to have in the bag when the turn requires it, but not a great thing to do when you don't need to IMO. I guess everyone has their own techniques. Eliminating it when unnecessary has helped my track driving but your mileage may vary.
 
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