Super lazy me has took a long time to update this blog. From the last update, Ive been to the Batangas Racing Circuit and back to do the above + race in the 5th leg, plus to Johor Circuit, where Ive been able to record a new personal best! But that will be in other posts, back on track…
21 Sep 2010
Same car, same tire (Neova AD08), new circuit. Unlike the slower, shorter half distance of the Clark International Speedway, which by the way has become a super challenging 4+km circuit with a VERY long main straight, Batangas has a great mix of slow, medium and flat out corners. Uphill, downhill, cambered and off cambered, challenging. It is 3.7km long, as long as Johor Circuit.
To bring me up to speed, TRS drove me around to identify braking zones, turn in points, apexes and exit points (cones included). Part of their “grand plan” to improve my lap times in a faster way over these 3 days was to remove the power steering on the car. Physically Im quite weak, lol.
The lack of power steering seriously trains a driver to do the right thing, a mistake in pedal or steering input will translate into tremendous effort required to keep the wheel turned. Do the right stuff, and its like youre driving WITH power steering. It will improve your braking/accel inputs, racing line and exit attitude.
I wont go into too much about the training (it would take too long), so Im just going to cover key points, and my quickest lap times per session. All I know is that TRS does a great job of training drivers, see for yourselves, join their classes!
The Batangas Racing Circuit
I will start with a description of the Batangas Circuit. It starts on the main straight where you hit 4th gear and max speed before braking for Turn 1 is about 140+km/h. Turn 1 is a 2nd gear right hander. It is a good passing point, it has alot of space, and the angle is just right to block your opponents line if youre on the inside. Turn 1 leads to another pretty long straight up into 4th so exiting right is important or get passed at Turn 2.
Turn 2 is a downhill, off camber, and then cambered 2nd or 3rd gear right hand 180deg turn, serious stuff, extremely hairy when its wet here. Not bad of a passing point, but risky if you plan to dive in. Its easier to have made the pass exiting Turn 1 and getting alongside earlier, but if not, the entry into Turn 2 is braking while turning a little, so passing can be tricky. Speeds thru Turn 2 can vary alot depending on line, gear choice and inputs, very challenging turn. Exiting right is important too, as you CAN be passed entering Turn 3.
A short straight up to 3rd gear into Turn 3, a very slow left hand double A hairpin. Good passing point if you exit strong out of Turn 2, but most will defend. If you get the line wrong, or accelerate a little too late, you can lose some speed leading up to the most important part of the circuit, Turn 4, or also known as Bryans (the 1st person to have crashed there).
Leading up to Bryans in 3rd, almost to the limiter before braking, you can get passed here if you had a bad exit out of the hairpin, but you can defend by taking the inside early, however you do lose entry AND exit speed on the fastest part of the circuit leading to ANOTHER passing point. Almost everywhere on Batangas is a passing point, which makes it so challenging for the drivers and great for the spectators (and commentator). Bryans is a long uphill double A left hander taken in 3rd gear, flat just about the first A, up into 4th gear while exiting, hitting speeds of up to almost 160km/h while diving into a downhill braking zone into a slow, slow Turns 5 & 6. Getting it wrong in Bryans can lose you more than a second in lap time, and you also might be passed.
Turns 5 & 6, 2nd gear off camber right handers, Turn 6 being slower and more off cambered, so getting good traction here is very important, because it leads to another high speed section, you can lose alot of time here. Passing can be done, but risky due to high speed braking and the angle required to make Turn 5. Most drivers only attack here if they were nicely alongside exiting Bryans.
Exiting Turn 6 leads to a 2nd gear chicane, hard to pass, most drivers just follow along. Exiting the chicane is important again, it leads onto a 4th gear flat out Turn 9. Turn 9 is a long right hander taken flat in 4th, exciting stuff. Hard to pass unless side by side before the turn. Can lose up to half a sec if taken wrongly since taken flat.
It leads onto Turn 10 & 11, a rather quick 3rd gear right hander taken as 1 turn. Since an attacker will be following closely thru Turn 9, passing can be done here, but defenders can place themselves in the middle and take the inside thru Turns 10 & 11. Braking here is key to getting it right, cause entering too quick will leave you with truckloads of understeer. Getting Turns 10 & 11 wrong on the exit will mean defending like hell for Turn 1. Personally I dont like passing here, and usually will get a good exit to attack at Turn 1. I hope this description was fun and made you wanna drive on it!
Back to lap times, so here they are:
1st session best: 2:07.xx
2nd session best: 2:06.87
3rd session best: 2:05.xx
4th session best: 2:04.22 (I decided to have the power steering back on for this session, too tired =p)
22 Sep 2010
More feedback from the instructors thru the data logger, alot of mistakes to fix.
1st session best: 2:03.2x (lapping with Mike)
2nd session best: 2:05.xx (slightly wet, lapping with Bjorn)
3rd session best: 2:03.xx (lapping with both + practice start)
4th session best: 2:02.xx
5th session best: 2:02.3x (passing exercise with Bjorn)
6th session best: 2:01.9x (passing exercise with Bjorn)
It would seem pressure makes me lap quicker haha! Thanks Mike & Bjorn =)! With this lap time I will be competitive during the weekend, according to TRS.
23 Sep 2010
Run thru with the data logger again before heading out, always need to refresh.
1st session best: 2:01.02 (good session here, 8/10 laps were 2:01.xx)
Now that Ive got the driving down somewhat, we moved on to setting up the car for the weekend. TRS have been telling me I have a very smooth driving style which needs more aggression, otherwise I lose out in the low speed turns.
Tire pressure sessions best: 2:03.xx (it seems I was getting tired from 3 straight days of training)
Wider rear track session best: 2:02.xx (good rear traction here but lost too much front grip so bad exits)
Damper, alignment and ride height sessions best: 2:03.xx (Im tired, nowhere near the morning 2:01.xx)
I was told to take note that either I was very tired, or it could be that the tires were wearing out, or the track conditions could have changed, but 2 seconds is alot, so I concluded it was me with a sprinkle of external factors.
After all this training, I was shuttled back to Manila to rest for about a day plus before the race weekend. Hope readers enjoyed! Will be back with more updates~