You’re (Probably) Not Going Fast Enough

Features, Racing I By Winding Road Staff I June 07, 2017

Here we see Winding Road Team TFB ace Mark Drennan driving a 45 minute NASA sprint race at Circuit of The Americas. Mark, for reference, is the 2015 NASA East and NASA West national champion in Spec Miata. He shows several things in this video. The first thing is that he runs the car at, and thus sometimes over, the limit of adhesion (note that Mark reports that adjustments to the car after qualifying "went a little too far toward oversteer"). When you have excellent car control skills, you can do this. As a result, he is running the car about as fast as it can go, rather than over-slowing and giving up speed to gain comfort and smoothness.

The second thing we notice is that Mark backs up during the race and this doesn't seem to phase him. What may not be obvious is that with two laps to go, Mark drops his lap times by about 1 sec per lap. This puts pressure on the front of the field, and they get in a little trouble and as a result, Mark wins the race. There are no guarantees with this strategy, of course.

We should also say that Mark's fellow racers — Michael Ross (P2), Danny Soufi (P3, age 13!), Vaughn Duarte, Dan Williams and Trevor McCallion — show some fine pace. This was a tight and exciting race, and we tip our hats to them for making it fun.

Hand signal guide:

Karate chop — line up and bump draft
Raised open palm — What was that?
Closed fist — WTF?

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