How To Drive a Fast Lap of Sebring - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 30.03.2012


LEO PARENTE: Today on Shakedown, let's try something
to keep you entertained and maybe to get me more views,
because I'm not grabbing the audiences of a Chris Harris on
Cars, or an Alex Roy on the Road.
Alex picking up strangers, turning them into Live and Let
Drive co-hosts.
You did watch their last shows, right?
So the Shakedown different idea for today, as part of
Shakedown University, we're going to share track notes for
a lap of Sebring to show you how to go
fast when you go there.
And we'll use the in-car footage from the Porsche IMSA
GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Sebring race.
Drive posted that video on March 22, and for your
information, we're producing videos of all the
2012 Porsche cup races.
They've even got that kid from Nissan GT Academy, Sean
Johnston, racing with them this year.
So watch for the Porsche Cup race videos,
and watch them, dammit.
Because each will have a full in-car lap of every American
Le Mans Series track that Porsche Cup visits.
Today, we'll take that Sebring lap and break it down with
track notes.
I thought that'd be more fun than me ranting about Ferrari
F1's Felipe Massa, who decided it would be smarter for him to
head to Maranello to study up to improve his performance
versus trekking home to Brazil for family consolation.
So while Massa analyzes his WTF of the last two races,
let's break down a lap of one of the greatest tracks in the
US, the 17 turns of the Sebring 12-hour.
And then, when you race there, you won't need family hugs to
forgive your on-track wanking, because there won't be any.

Today, for the Sebring breakdown, I'll be using the
notes from some of the real racers that coached me up.
And here comes my racer's ego.
The two times I ran this long course, I sat
on the front row.
So this place was good to me.
Now we're going to make it work for you.
I was going to do a breakdown of my lap at Sears Point in
the Palatov, but the full-lap in-car video footage is
trapped in a Drive camera that's in Europe.
And I'm also waiting for the telemetry files to really
break down the fast lap mechanics so that future
Shakedown University about Sears Point will use the data
of my mistakes to show you how to go fast.
But Palatov has invited me back to run his car again.
And given a second chance to redeem myself, I'll be OK
showing you my first-time flaws to teach you
guys the right way.
Now, before we start the Sebring lap, let's get you up
to speed on what's racing this weekend, what's going on, what
to watch, and what results we'll cover
on the Monday Shakedown.
First, the World Touring Cars have their Round
Two races in Spain.
Chevy Cruze has dominated.
They dominated Round One races with one, two, and one, two,
three, finishes/wins.
Our Palatov Sears Point lap breakdown will be valuable for
the future, because remember, WTCC is coming to the US, that
track September 22 and 23.
Oh, and the British Touring Cars, they kick this weekend
as well at Brands Hatch.
Next up this weekend, the start of the Italian
Superstars Touring Cars in Monza.
They have their own specs, with cars from Jaguar and
Maserati to match up with the Audis, BMW's, and Mercedes,
and even this Chevy, which is now rumored to be the new
rear-drive car coming to be sold in America and to replace
the Impala in NASCAR in 2013.
The Europeans Le Mans Series also kicks off this weekend.
Not the world endurance championship, a different
series altogether.
But ELMS is only P2, PC, and GT classes, no P1 big cars.
Well, that's kind of like the American Le Mans
Series here in the US.
That's not fair, ALMS has P1, but just two or three of those
cars, and the ALMS GT racing is way better.
Speaking of quality GT racing, Grand Am is running the
Continental Tire Challenge Series at Barber Motorsports
Park this weekend.
That's their quality part of the show.
They're also having a quality TBD Rolex Sports Car race,
only nine Daytona prototypes, five of them Corvette, 19 GT,
but only one Ferrari, and only one Audi, ergo,
same old, same old.
Finally, World Rallies and Portugal, and Ford
better get it right.
Citroen is flying again.
By the way, my buddy Jost Capito, Ford's head of global
motorsport, is now ex-Ford.
He's joining Volkswagen just in time for the Polo R's
return to WRC in 2013.
OK, let's get to Sebring, and let's start with an
orientation lap of the 17-turn, 3.7-mile track with
Madison Snow, reigning Porsche Gold Class champion, now
racing in the faster Platinum Class in a new 2012
race-prepared, 450-horsepower Porsche GT3 Cup 911, Type 997,
on Yokohama, orange oil-infused ADVAN ENV-R2 green
racing tires.
Hey, just call me a short Michael Waltrip with that
sponsor plug, right?
Let's go watch the lap.

Now let's take it step by step.
Turn one is one of three pressure points
of a Sebring lap.
It's fast, bumpy, blind, but more critically, its freeway
wide going in, country road narrow coming out.
So you have to get your reference
points exactly right.
Mark your brake and turn it, then look for a new reference
to guide you to the apex.
For me, the heavy black tire line on the
track would be mine.
I want to be just inside it as I'm turning, then I'm hugging
the wall and apexing at the 100 marker.
That seems to be what Madison is doing.
Track out the berm is OK to ride, the dirt not so much.
Now, all your thinking is on lining the car up for the turn
three turning track right, but here comes the next
characteristics of Sebring.
Throughout the 17 turns, a few of them have to be driven as a
collective set to create rhythm and pace.
Turns three, four, and five are the first such collection,
and it matters because they pour you out onto the fast
straight they call Gurney Bend.
Turn three, late apex, end of the berm, get back on the gas.
If you're doing it right, through four, the right turn.
But turn five is approached center of the track.
No need to waste time and extra track space.
Watch for the pavement color change.
Get on that.
By the way, that's a Sebring feature.
The track surfaces have so many bumps, tire marks,
pavement color differences, that you can ID reference
points for every move you need to make around the track.
Apex 3/4 through the berm, but really judge all that by how
soon and how hard you can get back on the gas.
Remember, rhythm means smooth.
Let it flow through three, four, and five.
The straight is time to check gauges, get the radio chatter
done, and make some passes.
But on a clean lap, let the car track out to set up for
the turn seven hairpin combo corners.
Hard brake, trail it into the corner.
Madison is aiming for the back of the white tire wall as his
apex and thinking through the kink to make it not a corner
but part of the next straight.
Let's check where we are on the map.
Got it?
Let's go.
Turns eight and nine are flat, and really
just another straight.

But turn 10 matters, as it starts another rhythm section
of Sebring with turns 11 and 12.
And it's all a real time suck if you screw this up.
By the way, that's the type of motivational racer talk you
often hear from a crew chief or team owner.
So get used to it.
Madison seems to be turning into 10 between the 100 marker
and the front of the berm.
I used to wait for the berm.
Take this corner as fast as you can, because 11 carries
speed on the inside anyway, and 12 is mindlessly easy.
The big deal is setting up for turn 13.
Got to go to Allan McNish to define the
challenges of this corner.
ALLAN MCNISH: Talking about turn 13 here in the Sebring,
it's a very difficult corner, because you brake at a little
bit of an angle so the rear of the car is slightly unloaded.
You then go from tarmac to concrete section and back to
tarmac, and so you basically turn into
the corner with grip.
Suddenly the front of the car always washes out, then the
rear slips because it's all on the tarmac.
You've got a bit of camber in there, then a curb that's
quite vicious.
So you've got to get to the curb to get
the grip of the car.
But if you hit the curb, then you bounce, and then suddenly
you get back on to the tarmac, which has got more grip again.
So, there's a lot happening there.
LEO PARENTE: Turn 14 is flat, and it's really a double apex.
Wait for that second one, but keep the wheels steady so as
not to scrub speed.
Just look ahead, and set an arc.
Turn 15 is a real corner, and with those little wiggles and
such, another rhythm combination.
With turn 16, the critical "get me onto the back
straightaway as fast I can or I've killed my
lap at Sebring" corner.
So let's back up on the track to before turn 15 to discuss
the approach we need to take here.
Madison makes it look easy, but the car is moving around,
and you are moving quick.
So it's important to aim your line, with your mind thinking,
where do I want the car to be for the turn 16 turning?
And I want the car settled, so I can be aggressive with turn
16, getting onto the straight as hard and as fast as I can.
Put these pieces of the track together.
Look for those references.
Let's say it all together.
Say it with me-- flow.
The back straightaway, make your passes and say your
prayers, because here comes turn 17, the fastest corner
entry on the track and a double apex bend.
Now, everyone seems to have their own
line into this corner.
Traffic compromised Madison's entry
into 17, because frankly--
and I'm not alone on this--
turning in on the gas, extending the straight, making
the brake zone start at the first apex does work with some
cars and the right set.
But regardless of whatever you are doing, this corner is a
blend of braking and turning at the same time.
And peddle dancing is what it takes to balance the car on
those limits.
The first wall is your first apex reference.
The heavy black tire marks across the track are
references for the bumps.
Keeping the car perpendicular to them is your thinking.
The bridge is kind of your second apex.
But the real deal is figuring out the fast line through the
bumps, and that takes being on track, feeling the track, not
just looking at it.
Let's watch the whole lap again as I say a quick word
about passing at Sebring.
Think controlling the apex.
That logic makes passes in turns 1, 3, 7, 10, 13, and 17
less of a wild chance and more of a controlled move.
And those rhythm corners connected to 3, 10, and 13
allow you to place the car center-like in the center of
the track after the pass or even "offline" to control any
attempts at a re-pass your competition may be thinking of
making without you losing any pace.

LEO PARENTE: now, a final word from Dario Franchitti, thanks
to Simraceway, our Shakedown partner.
Dario talks about how to come up to speed
as you learn a track.
So thanks for watching, as always.
I'll be reading your Sebring comments.
Oh, and remember, over AT Drive Uncut, over at that
section, we have the entire Ulrich Beretksy interview from
my visit with him when we went to see the R18.
You all wanted to see that whole thing, right?
Now here's Dario.
At the end of this, Shakedown University class is dismissed.
Now go get quick, you little bastards.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Every day, I tend to walk the
track first of all.
And I have very much an idea in my head from experience of
looking at corners that that'll be a third gear
corner, and that'll be a second gear corner,
that'll be a hairpin.
And that's worked quite well for me.
The one place it never worked was in Miami back in 2002.
I thought, yeah, that'll be flat, and
that'll be such and such.
Well, it turned out it was second gear, because the place
was like an ice rink.
So learning a new track is definitely--
I think the best way to do it is approach the corner with a
little less speed, as you say, slow in, fast out, and build
that entry phase of the corner, then build the middle,
and then the exit.
You want to try and run it together.
But maybe one way as well, depending on how your brain
works, is one corner at a time, and then tie the whole
thing together.