By on December 8, 2012
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Whoa! The driver of the little Legends car had two ribs and his pelvis broken in this accident. But what can we learn from it?

Start with the good parts: Watch our driver’s heel-and-toe method. Notice how he saves all his shifts for the end of his brake zone and does them in rapid succession? That’s kind of the right way to do it. It’s much less dramatic than bopping down a gear at a time all the way through the brake zone like a Daytona Prototype heading into the Roller Coaster at VIR, but it’s the safe way for both the driver and the engine.

Now for the bad: Our driver is shuffle-steering, so when the BAD THING happens he doesn’t get to make a quick, measured correction. His hands are in the wrong place so he is forced to move them three times while hoping the steering wheel is heading to the right place. Luckily it all works out for him.

One of the neatest things about sedan racing at all levels, including LeMons, is that it regularly puts you in situations that street drivers will only experience a few times in their lives. If somebody ever blows a tire and spins out in front of our racer friend when he’s driving to work, he’s already had some real-life practice for the event. Wouldn’t you like to be able to say the same? Go race!

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19 Comments on “Club Racing: Now Featuring Big Air And A Free Lesson Regarding Steering...”


  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Bloody hell, that was close. I realized he was avoiding the crash when the repetition started.

  • avatar
    Gannet

    Ok, I’m not too proud to look dumb. What’s shuffle-steering? What should our driver have done differently?

    • 0 avatar
      NotFast

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/just-say-no-to-shuffle-steering/

      • 0 avatar
        rodface

        What’s the verdict on TacticalDriver’s comment (last one in “Just Say No” article) regarding shuffle steering being used and advocated by big names in stunt and police driving?

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      My opinion is that TacticalDriver is highly opinionated, but wrong.

      I’ve also seen the Fifth Gear episode that was referenced, in which Vicky whipped a police training driver and got the police training driver to improve by changing his steering methods, but my google-searching isn’t good enough to find it.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      Stunt and police drivers advocate a lot of things that make sense when you’re on a skidpad and all alone… like shuffle-steering and ultra-high tire pressures. But in racing, you have to deal with lots of unknown factors, and 9 and 3 means that you know exactly where your wheels are pointed at any time.

  • avatar
    MZ3AUTOXR

    And if you can’t go racing – at least go autocrossing.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    There was an old Car and Driver article about stunt driving I remember where the stunt driving instructor advocated something along the lines of 4 and 8 steering and shuffle the wheel big time, but they were doing TV car chase type stuff in big cop cars which has very little to do with going fast and everything to do with putting on a show. Different things work in different situations.

    I’ve been trying to listen to what Baruth preaches in my street and LeMons driving, and I find that while there are exceptions, keeping your hands in one place is a Good Thing (to the limits of your steering rack ratio).

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I remember that article. There’s a video from Car and Driver’s stunt driving lesson on you tube, if you search for “Hal Needham’s stunt training on Car and Driver.” About 3:15 in you can see the lesson on shuffle steering, and the car control that they achieve while using it.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Oh well. Seems like merely offering information without being confrontational achieves nothing, so I’ll point out that I spent my formative driving years behind the wheels of such German tanks as a W116 240D and an E30 325, so shuffle steering was the only way of avoiding using about a quarter as much lock as necessary. I’ve been told that I drive at a much higher level than your typical BMW CCA driving instructor, and if necessary I’ll be happy to prove my observers correct.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Point-n-punch of FWD prevails! You can get away with allot with FWD.

    If the driver’s hands were in the traditional 9/3 he wouldn’t have to move his hands on the wheel at all through this whole event. And luckily he is driving front wheel drive as the throttle blipping as the car in front of him goes airborne could have included him.

  • avatar
    Morea

    The driver in the video does not shuffle steer. He pre-positions before entering into the turn so his hands will be in the proper position at mid-corner. During his evasive maneuver he doesn’t lose any time during the steering correction because he always has 1 hand on the wheel.

    I think we need some clear definitions on this topic since it seems to come up often on TTAC (well, with Jack.)

    How about:
    1) Locked positioning– hands never change location relative to steering wheel.
    2) Pre-positioning– hands change once before corner entry and once after corner exit.
    3) Shuffle steering– hands change multiple times during cornering in small increments.

    RE: turn 1 at VIR: I would think most street cars will need to have the driver pre-position or shuffle since their racks are not quick enough no to, i.e. you need to turn the wheel more than 180 degrees.

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      The corner in the video was not tight enough to require pre-positioning. Look at the video: before his evasive manouver start, the steering wheel is turned perhaps 150 degrees for the corner.

      • 0 avatar
        Morea

        I agree. How much you will turn the wheel depends how deep you want to go (i.e., how late you want to apex). However, it is the example in front of us.

        re: locked positioning vs. pre-positioning: it may be that since newer cars all have power steering you can get away with locking your hand position. On an older non-power-streering car when the steering loads up at mid-corner the crossed arms of the locked position style reduces the torque you can apply to the steering wheel. On a power steering car that granny can drive with 1 finger this is not as issue, on a front-engined, non-powering steering car with wide front tires it ain’t so easy.

      • 0 avatar
        steronz

        I also agree. In the example before us, pre-positioning doesn’t seem necessary. But I haven’t been to VIR in 5 years and I can’t remember what I did back then.

        That said, I don’t pre-position at Nelson Ledges. I pre-position a ton at Shenandoah. I find that if I don’t, my arms get exhausted very quickly and I lose all feel of what my front wheels are doing in the corner. I’m past 180 degrees in the carussel there, for instance. FWD car, no power steering, sticky tires.

        I try to lock my hand position as much as possible, but pre-positioning is another tool in the tool box, and I think it’s useful for certain people in certain (limited) situations.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    I thought this video was going to be about the guy who rear ended the Legends car, not the guy who avoided an accident!

    Sometimes you just can’t win.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    I have just had a look at my copy of Roadcraft (UK Police driving manual) and it recommends two different methods of steering depending on the curcumstances.

    The “Pull-Push” method should be used most of the time as this gives more precision and control when negotiating tight corners at normal road speeds.

    The “Rotational” method should be used at higher speeds or when the car is skidding or about to skid.

    Race-cars and road-cars have a lot of differences; such as race-cars generally having a faster steering rack than road cars but have a worse turning-circle. Even an unmodified road-car on a track will need to be driven differently due to wider turning radii and higher speeds that are encountered on a track, than on the road.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “One of the neatest things about sedan racing at all levels, including LeMons, is that it regularly puts you in situations that street drivers will only experience a few times in their lives.”

    Agree. I’ve only been rubbed maybe once or twice on the street, but on the track, well, I’d have to cound the scars on the side of the car, but it’s many. Just hold the line because it AIN’T MY FAULT!

  • avatar
    Half-Fast

    I race a similar car, and Jack, if you are suggesting that you could drive that car, on that track and never remove your hands from the steering wheel, you are mistaken.

    That car is a Nissan, much like mine. If try to drive it “locked”, your elbows will hit before you have enough steering input to make the turn, you HAVE to let go, and “shuffle steer”, it’s not an option.

    Yes, some cars have a steering ratio that allows a locked approach. If you drive one of those, then that’s the best method. The camera car however, isn’t one of them.

    Perhaps you should do a little more research before you make recommendations that are impossible to execute.


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