Tech Article Title Author Date
High Performance Driving Tips Steve Sherwood 2000

Listed below you will find some suggestions on what to do to prepare for, and participate safely in, a Quattro Club Driver Safety Seminar or similar high performance driving event:


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What to bring?

1) Bring a M90 snell rated helmet or better...open faced for easier talking with an instructor. Soon an M90 helmet may be the minimum. Many people borrow helmets or rent them for a nominal fee at the event. If you plan on attending several events, it is probably wise to purchase your own helmet specifically purchased for your head size and shape. I personally have a SA95 Bell M2 helmet. If you can...get the best helmet you can afford...you only got one head, right?

2) Bring long semi loose fitting pants with a long sleeved t-shirt or casual shirt. Also bring clothing layers in case it is too hot or too cold...or constantly changing between the two.

3) Use Sun tan lotion...standing around waiting for your run group can take 40 minutes or longer...wear protection

4) Bring a cooler filled with juices, soda, water..you get real dehydrated at these events

5) Bring snacks like fresh fruit or crunchy things to help you relax

6) Bring a Tire gauge and tire compressor if you can borrow/find one

7) Bring or borrow a Torque Wrench to make sure your wheels are on securely at the right torque.

What to do after arriving at track?

1) Remove all debris from your car..maps..CDs....sunglasses...tools....even floor mats. I remove my tool kit and spare tire also.

2) Check tire air pressure...I suggest 44 front and 42 rear on the RE040 tires (this would be when the tires are totally cold...as they warm up you want your pressure about 40-46 lbs - depending on tire). Adjust as necessary.

3) Fill your gas tank...just don't top it off. Put in octane boost if you want...I usually do to prevent any pinging. The last thing you want to do in the middle of an event is have to leave to get gasoline. Lots of tracks have gas for sale...sometimes 100 octane...but many do not.

4) Adjust your seat to accommodate you and your helmet...Sit in your car with your helmet on BEFORE you go onto the track. Make sure you have the seat properly situated for when you have your helmet on. Remember with your back to the seat..you should easily be able to drape your wrists over the top of the steering wheel, without removing your back from pressing lightly on the seat back.

5) Turn off the air conditioning and stereo...they are distractions unless you are running a 12 hr enduro.

6) Check out your cars fluids and air pressures thoroughly...oil, brake fluid, coolant, air pressure....lug bolts tightened to 90 ft lbs of torque? Make sure the tire air pressure is equal side to side.

What do the flags mean?

Informational Flags:

(GREEN) - track is clear, run at your comfortable speed
(YELLOW) - trouble ahead, slow down and be ready to take evasive action
(YELLOW W/RED STRIPES) - road surface has changed...there could be debris, dirt/mud, or oil on the track
(WHITE) - one lap to go, cool down your equipment
(BLUE W/YELLOW STRIPE) - a faster car wants around you, be aware of your rear view mirror and let this car pass you early in the next passing zone

Command Flags:

(RED) - stop and do not proceed any further...bring your car to a safe stop on the track and await further instructions.
(BLACK) - if a black flag is pointed at you...that means you need to come into the pits for a consultation...if you see a waving black flag...all cars are required to come into the pits.>
(CHECKERED) - the track session is over....bring your car into the paddock area...probably a good idea to cool down your car on this lap.


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What to do while on track ?

1) Go at your own pace. Do not be pressured into going faster than you are ready to go..

2) Learn the proper line first...speed will come later

3) Brake...turn...accelerate....REPEAT

4) Brake in a straight line..and squeeze the brake pedal rather than stabbing it. When you release the pedal you should also do this smoothly.

5) Do not let off the accelerator abruptly in a turn or you most likely will upset the balance of the car (yes, Audis can spin with quattro...I did it...I know)

6) Smoothness is the key to being good at track driving...no quick hand motions...pretend you don't want to spill a full cup of coffee sitting on your dashboard when driving around the track. Some people suggest that you roll into turns...

7) Listen to your instructors...they know some good stuff. If they contradict each other..don't worry about it...it just provides you with other things to experiment with. Take the best of what they tell you and make it yours. There are many good ways around a track fast.

8) Use the WHOLE track...don't just drive down the center like you are driving down a parkway or expressway. Track out on each turn...meaning on the exit of the turn do a wide arch and approach the side of the track as you turn.

9) Use the berms (FIA stripping at the apex of many turns). By using it ...I mean drive over it with your inside tires on occasion...they are your friends. I tell my students to try to kiss them with their cars.

10) Do NOT follow the line of the newcomer driving in front of you...he is most likely not doing the proper line. Listen to the discussion where the chief instructor talks about the proper line to take around the track and try to remember and drive that line. If an instructor suggests that they lead and you follow...do it...they will show you what they think is the best, safest, and eventually fastest way around the track. Sometimes this is indicated by the instructor putting their hand out of their driver side window and patting the top of their car roof with the palm of their hand...if they do this...follow them and note the line they are taking

11) Do not concentrate on being perfect on EVERY turn....it is too hard to do... Concentrate on one or two turns and get those down..and then move to work on others in subsequent track sessions.

12) Link your turns together...remember to anticipate what is coming up ahead and be ready for it...don't watch the road right in front of you...watch way ahead...forward thinking vision is VERY important

13) Keep your hands in the car at all times...this includes your elbow...and your passengers fingers.

14) Roll down your driver side window...and the passenger side "front" window.

15) Check out any mechanical issues promptly...At any time you think something is wrong with your car..proceed safely to the "hot pits" and get it checked out (This happened to me one day...and I found out I was missing an S4 front brake pad)

16) Get plenty of rest before the event (sleep). Do not drive all day and night to get to the event and then get up at 6:30am and think that you are prepared to drive...you won't be.

17) Cool down laps....Regarding your brakes...make sure you really take advantage and cool down your car on the cool down or checkered flag lap....try not to use your brakes at all, if possible, on this last lap. In the novice group you should be ok...but it is all relative...you may end up driving real fast and really taxing your brakes. The cool down lap is NOT the place to see if you can catch your friend about 3 turns ahead of you...let your car cool down..that is why they call it the cool down lap.

18) Let your car cool down...After each session, park your car in gear, open the hood to cool the car, and do NOT apply the parking brake. Put a rock behind your wheel to prevent the car from rolling downhill. With a turbo it is probably wise to let the car idle after each session for about 5 minutes...remember to put the car in neutral and put rocks behind the wheels so the car doesn't roll.

What should I do after the event ?

1) Say thank you to the nice instructor people...remember they are volunteering their time.

2) Check your oil, water, brake fluid levels...top off as necessary before driving home. Adjust your tire pressure down to normal pressures.

3) Drive safely on the way home..you will be tired both physically and mentally..this is especially true if it was a 2-3 day event. I don't suggest more than one beer with the boys after the event ( I usually drink Coca-Cola ).

Anyway, I hope this helps....... take care....and remember....shiny side up at all times. You will have a blast.