Current projects and Tech Notes

Even more better

»Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | 1 comment

Even more better

The momentum is building, and it feels absolutely spectangular. I’m finally taking my own advice. In my book Think Fast, I wrote “There is always more performance to be had from the driver than from the car.” Through the last two autocross practice days, I have focused on improving myself, and the results have shown very clearly that the zone between my ears is a very productive place to focus. This autocross practice day was very much a continuation of the process that I started during my last practice day, and it felt like it. I have now made 24 consecutive autocross runs without a major goof. Those of you who shagged all of the cones that I whomped a year ago will agree that I have stepped up to the next rung on the driver skill ladder. There...

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Drivin’

»Posted by on Oct 9, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | 2 comments

Drivin’

Back when I was autocrossing and racing all the time, it became apparent that I had lost a significant amount of driving skill after not driving for about 3 months. After a gap of any significant length, it would take several events before I was back up to my usual performance level. During the 4 year gap while I worked for Jim Hall’s Indycar team, I completely lost it all. My first several events after that were humbling. It took me about 1.5 years of getting my character built to get back up “on the step” in terms of competition driving ability. Those experiences convinced me that driving a race car is not at all like riding a bike: race driving skills fade quickly with disuse. Considering the fact that most professional race car drivers...

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Communication Theory

»Posted by on Oct 6, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | Comments Off on Communication Theory

Communication Theory

My latest article for NASA‘s Speed News magazine is called Communcation Theory. It’s about how to measure and eliminate bump and roll steer from your suspension, and why it’s a good idea to do that. This is a complicated subject for a magazine article, so I applaud Brett Becker, the editor of Speed News, for letting me try to tackle the subject in a general-interest publication. If I succeeded in presenting the material in a way that is easy to understand, or if I didn’t, let me know in the comments. I appreciate all of the feedback that I get about these articles, and I look forward to working with Speed News for future opportunities to contribute to this excellent...

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Damper Tuning

»Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | Comments Off on Damper Tuning

Damper Tuning

My article in this month’s issue of NASA‘s Speed News e-zine is an introduction to one of my favorite complicated subjects: damper tuning. I devoted a whole chapter of Think Fast to dampers. This article was a great opportunity to write an introduction to the subject for a wider audience. I covered some of the basic concepts and a couple of simple examples in the article. If reading the article gets you interested in learning more, you can get that and a whole lot more when you buy your very own copy of Think Fast – The Racer’s Why-To Guide to Winning. Thanks to Speed News for the opportunity to contribute one more article for your enjoyment. I look forward to every new topic, and every new challenge to communicate complicated ideas...

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The Zones

»Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | Comments Off on The Zones

The Zones

My latest article for NASA’s Speed News expands on a topic that I have discussed small pieces of in prior articles: aerodynamic performance enhancements for production-based race cars. The title of the article is “Getting Into the Zones“. In addition to basic guidance on aero mods that have been proven effective many times, I added a graphic illustration that I have not seen anywhere before. It partitions a race car body into various color coded zones, with each zone having a different level and type of influence on the aerodynamic performance of the car. Some areas of a race car are highly sensitive to small changes, while others have very minor effects. Knowing where to make changes is just as important as what change to make to improve aero...

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Making Tools

»Posted by on Jun 15, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | Comments Off on Making Tools

Making Tools

My latest article for NASA’s Speed News is a big departure from my usual coverage of complicated motorsports engineering concepts. It’s much more down to earth: Dirt Cheap Fabrication Tools. Having grown up learning from my father’s skills at creating amazing results with very simple equipment, I benefitted tremendously from his inventiveness, ambition, creativity, and craftsmanship. The timing of the publication of this article turned out to be a perfect opportunity to make this a Father’s Day tribute. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! In addition, this article was a fun family project since both of our sons contributed by taking the accompanying photos. Thanks, guys! Great...

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