SHAKEDOWN INTRODUCTION, Dakar Rally, Drifting vs Racing

Uploaded by drive on 05.01.2012

LEO PARENTE: Let's get a couple of
basics out of the way.
For those of you new to Shakedown, let me explain who
this guy with the bad Joe Pesci voice is preaching to
you about auto racing.
I'm Leo Parente, and bringing you my experience as an
ex-racer and as a marketing business guy in both the
racing world and the auto industry.
I had my cup of coffee in pro racing, via Formula Atlantic
as a 30-something old guy racing part time against the
young gun sperms of the day.
Now I don't want you to think that I think
I was a star racer.
Was not.
But I didn't whack.
I was quick.
Won a bit.
Set some records, and got picked as a rising star by the
racing media who nicknamed me, of all things, Front Row Leo.
I did this.
And this.
And this.
That's me in car number 11.
But I also did this.
So here we are the one time I let my ego kick in, I owned
that corner.
He owned me and here we go.
Wait a minute.
So that Front Row nickname isn't for my qualifying, it's
for where I landed the car in my crash?
But as an older guy, I was mature enough to listen,
learn, and absorb from the real pro
racers that helped me.
Now I've ripped through that list in an earlier Shakedown.
But the point is I'm not preaching what I know, but
what the real expert taught me.
So for 2012 we're going to travel more to get more races,
but to really talk to more real racing pros.
And let them share their stories and insights with you.
My job?
To make sure it all makes sense.
Also for 2012 we'll continue with the Shakedown Racing
University training segments.
And a few other repeatable segments including doing some
stuff with our returning sponsor Simraceway, connecting
the dots between Sim and real racing.
As we discussed with Alan McNish last year.
But enough preview talk, let's get to the 2012 racing which
started with the Dakar Off Road Rally Raid, the name for
the really rough terrain racing.
Stage one green flagged on January 1, starting the 14
stages that finished January 15 covering 8,000 plus
kilometers, 5,000 plus miles.
Dakar was started by the French in 1978, racing from
Paris through Africa, but in 2008 terrorism took its toll
and the event moved to South America in '09.
Four classes will run this year.
185 bikes, 33 quads share the course with
171 cars and 76 trucks.
Now like the Nurburgring 24, Dakar is another one of those
racing events that pits pros and amateurs against not just
each other, but the race itself.
Dakar is a total test of team, equipment, talent, and
character, and I have no idea how these racers do it.
Head over to and to check out
the details and the action.
But top line, know this.
You've got to be a real animal to finish this
race, let alone win.
And unfortunately that was proved out with the passing of
one of the bikers, Jorge Martinez Boero who crashed and
succumbed to his injuries.
Our condolences to Jorge's loved ones, and godspeed to
all the racers.
The Dakar cars are anything under 3,500 kilos, which is
why the two Hummers of Robbie Gordon and teammate 2011
champion Nasser Al-Attiyah are cars, not trucks.
And yes, Gordon is trying to be the first
American to win overall.
That he's racing a dead American brand, Hummer, may be
setting another record too.
Volkswagen, who dominated the past three years, has moved on
to World Rally, leaving the Mini
Countryman team as the favorite.
Over the years many brands have used Dakar to prove their
vehicle strength and to move their motor
sports programs ahead.
Mitsubishi, Citroen, Renault, Peugeot, even
Porsche with this 959.
Remember this?
But I'm sorry, I don't get the how Dakar
validates the Mini brand.
So steer me straight viewers as to what I'm missing.
Now unlike the Hummers, the truck class
are the real trucks.
Really big stuff.
9,000 kilos, 1,000 horsepower, some with twin engines.
The truck entry list reads like the cast of the movie
Hunt for the Red October.
Dominated by crazy Ivans, Russian and Eastern European
racer names.
The truck brands too, with Kamaz and Tatra as the
It all makes for some pretty awesome looking video.
JF, road trip?
JF: Sure.
LEO PARENTE: Maybe in the future, but for 2012 we'll
come back to Dakar here from the studio after the 15th when
the race finishes.
OK, that Chris Harris lookalike joke upfront was
pretty lame.
And I know Chris and I will eventually meet, but watching
his car reviews, it has me thinking two things.
One, can this dude ever go through a corner with anyway
other than sideways?
And two, what is the deal with drifting in comparison to
classic road racing cornering techniques?
Is drifting ever faster?
How, when, and where?
And why was it the way the old guys race, but not the way
Vettel and the boys do today?
To start, let me say this topic is an invitation for a
ton of input from you, because I am not pretending to be 100
percent on top of this whole drifting thing.
Maybe I need to watch the Chris Harris and Matt Farah
videos about learning how to drift again just to get in the
spirit of things, and you should too.
That all said, here's what I think should be considered as
to drifting versus not.
Fact one, cornering for speed is all about traction and tire
grip limits.
Number two, tire grip happens in four directions.
To the front for braking, to the rear for acceleration,
left and right for cornering, or some combination
of those two axes.
The friction circle.
As such, if you're using max grip to brake, there's no grip
left to corner.
If you're maxed out in cornering, you can't
accelerate out of the corner.
Number three, the fastest way through a corner is maximum
brake, transition to cornering, trail braking.
A late apex to release cornering forces to allow
acceleration out of the corner, to be
faster down the straight.
So drifting a car into a corner in the old days was
probably a function of the grip limits of the older
tires, and as a way to carry speed into the corner and
rotate the car.
With today's tire tech, keeping the tires hooked up
generates more grip through the entire brake, cornering,
and acceleration process.
But, if when drifting you're exceeding the grip levels, are
you not faster in corner entry?
Maybe, but not accelerating out of the corner.
And the time to re-hook up mid corner is likely
also to slow you down.
Then there's the whole thing about slip angle technology
that designs in max grip.
And tarmac grip versus low traction in snow or dirt.
So fire away with your thoughts and your comments
about drifting versus cornering.
And maybe I just need to get Harris and Farah on Shakedown
to give me their version of all this.
Anyway, next week we head to Detroit for the auto show and
a bunch of good interviews I hope.
Plus I plan to practice my rental car drifting in the
Michigan snow.