I attended the Evo school in the Virginia Beach area at Pungo, August 23 2003. The yellow notes are my additions –john
I attended the Evolution Performance Driving School April 4th at FedEx field in MD…here is a write up if you are interested.
Brief description of format:
- * I never got the baseline runs because of timing issues due to the horrible weather.
- - 3 timed runs for baseline
- - about 6 runs with an instructor, instructor drives 2 of them
- - lunch and recap of lessons learned
- - ride along discussing how to analyse course – stress looking ahead
- - another 6 runs with other instructor, instructor drives 2 of them
- - 3 timed runs for improvement
Before the class, I competed in 5 autox events, one of which was a practice and I got about 30 runs or so. This was so much more beneficial to me than all of those combined. My car got 20 runs, of which I was the driver for 16.
The course incorporated many of the common elements found in autox courses, and I will briefly describe what I learned for each section.
Disclaimer: this is not professional advice, just my accounts and notes from my experience at the event. This is specific advice based on the course, but similar principles apply to other courses.
Overall course: Always look well ahead. During course analysis and walk-through, you should pick out the key cones that should be looking for next. In the 36 second course we used, there was 5 key cones we needed to look at to navigate the course.
Circle (go around the cones of the circle): Before entering the circle, brake hard while going straight and get the speed set before you start to turn. Take a very tight line to the cones. The ideal speed is right at the point at which your wheels will slip. Hold the throttle steady throughout the turn. When approaching the end of the turn, start to unwind the wheel slowly and accelerate once you have a clear view of your next target. I think I remember hearing someone say “You can’t gain any time on the skidpad – only lose it”. Keep a smooth, constant speed (which is just a simpler way of saying ‘hold the throttle steady’.
Slalom: Focus on the last cone of the slalom as you enter it. Take a very close line to the cones, and attack the back side of the cones, meaning you are heading in a straight line to the outside of the next cone when you cross the current cone. Jinx had me chanting “smooth… smooth… smooth…” after each cone to emphasize smooth and consistent steering/throttle input.
Box: There was box on the course in which we treated exactly as a 3 cone slalom, then the same principles apply to the slalom. “brake, turn, gas” was the mnemonic we used. Brake before the box, turn around the pivot cone, and gas out of it once you’re past the “back” of the cone.
My next steps: Get lots and lots of seat time, preferably driving and also as a passenger with experienced drivers. Need to stay more control of my car to prevent sliding. Have fun.
Course: long sweeper into optional slalom into right gate into 2 left gates into hard right L-box into hard left L-box into 2 left’ish gates into nasty little S-curve into smaller sweeper into slalom into chicago box into 2 left gates into hard right into hard left into finish
Sweepers (see Chris’s notes on skidpads): I was under the impression that the best way was to be perfectly smooth. The course instantly launched you into a full half-moon sweeper. I drove it like a pansy at first until I started watching some of the people getting good times. They launched hard, instantly got into 2nd (if you imagine the half-moon as the top of a clock, where they started at 9 and were going towards 3, they had shifted no later than 10:30) and then stood on it until they got to the limits of traction. The STi did a sweet 4 wheel drift on one of its best runs. If I had it to do over again I would have launched harder and shifted to 2nd faster.
Downshifting to first: it would have been really helpful on this course. The sweeper halfway through would have been a perfect opportunity since you can’t pick up much time there anyway and your steering input is mostly static through it. The chicago box was KILLING me as I had to lose a lot of speed and then suck up turbo lag hell. Since Chris is the only one of us with a truly broad powerband this matters
Control: overrated. The STi was cutting great times and it was constantly at or past the limits of traction. As the quote goes, if you are in control you’re not going fast enough.
Course setup: start as early as humanly possible. Print out a copy of the PPT, and bring it. Drive it at speed and see if anything is screwed up. Assign two people per side to set up cones (doesn’t have to be 100% right), then the two “decision” people can go thru and pre-check before test runs.
Course design: watch for potholes and gravel patches. Don’t go too cone happy. Don’t point heavy braking zones at courseworkers.
Pre-event prep: Make a checklist of stuff you will need at each station (tech, registration, grid, timing). Print out “drivers meeting” notes: safety stuff, cone stuff, “are you a novice”, “come to us if you need help”, scoring stuff.
Layout – the CR grid worked really well, def. a keeper.
Fun runs – easy way to score points if you have the time.
Radios – need more than the council has. Seperate channel for the staff than the courseworkers.
Shirts – make them – make them in an obnoxious color.
MC – put Jake up there – he’s funny
Comput0rs – the council ones suck
No loose runs (karts)
Walkthroughs – if we do the CR grid layout, we would need more time for walkthroughs.