Sim to Real Test Drive - Palatov D4 vs SimRaceway - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 12.03.2012


LEO PARENTE: Today's Shakedown is really easy to explain.
This is the day in the life of a typical test day, thanks to
SimRaceway and Palatov Motor Sports who brought their D4
race car track car to Infineon Raceway.
Going to take you through, step by step, of what happens
during a typical test.
I'm going to check my skill level to find out whether it's
all rust, or there's something still left.
Stick around today because there'll be a lot of in-car
camera, more than just this opening.

What are the objectives of our show here today?
Well, number one, we want to experience the Palatov D4.
Number two, we want to experience the Palatov in the
SimRaceway sim.
And number three, for me, I've got a couple of personal
I want to find out where my pace is, relative to where we
used to be, and whether we've still got it.
Or this is just a dream and I'm just going to stay in
front of the camera and keep my helmet on the shelf.
LEO PARENTE: Talk to me about what were the key challenges
to match that car to simulation?
MALE SPEAKER: Well, that one was a special one because,
honestly, I had not driven it either.
So I had to make an educated guess, and I'm very curious as
to how close we ended up.
Because we know the specs.
We know the weight distribution.
We know the weight.
We know the type of diff.
We know the type of engine.
And when you plug all that in, in the accurate physics model,
and it comes out with something.
The big unknown is tires.
Because depending on the tires you put on, it's going to be
in a different level.
So then we plan that, too, and we go, and with the short
wheelbase, I know what it should feel like.
In a way, you can relate to what an aerial [INAUDIBLE]
would be, like a go kart would be, like an F3 would be, all
these things.
LEO PARENTE: So literally, we've interrupted or stepped
into the middle of the real test process here, because now
you're going to evaluate the real car, match it up with the
MALE SPEAKER: This comparison is happening way
too early to my liking.
Because if today I find that the car doesn't feel like it
does in December, we're still going to modify
it and update it.

We just got done with our first test session.
And it went, frankly, according to
plan and what I expected.
I wasn't looking for speed.
I just wanted to make sure I was getting comfortable with
the car, knew my way around the track, and was reading the
car and letting the car give me feedback.
I say all that because at the end the day, where Nico Rondet
went out and shift the car down, and was doing 1:41s.
We snuck in a 1:43 in our first session, so I'm not
chasing time, but I'm kind of pleased with that.
But let me take you through a little bit of what happens
with a test day.
Change glasses, get the old man bifocals going.
But the first thing is, to prep for test day, you really
don't just show up at the track.
I was studying a track map and studying notes.
For example, I've got a top 10 list that really is important
to focus on how to drive.
We have track notes, and I'll be filling out things like
this in a minute to really get a read.
So all of these things start to matter.
If we were doing set up--
and we're not because there's no spring and shock changes
here that they're going to be making--
we would go through that analysis of the lap and start
to discuss where's the car sitting, where's the car
giving me an initial turn in that's kind of nervous, but
then settling into a higher speed push, but
then balancing out?
That will start to tell us things about shocks, start to
tell us things about springs.
Now I'm not going to chase lap time.
But what I'm going to chase is, get more comfortable with
the car and let it carry speed in certain places, clean up my
line a little bit, and guess what?
I'm old, but I ain't dead.
So it feels good.
DENIS PALATOV: The goal with this car was to come up with
something that is as small and light as possible, and yet
still be able to put down a lot of power.
Now, this particular car has a GSX R1000 engine which is
about 190 horsepower, and it weighs around
900 pounds or so.
But we can actually support up to 400 horsepower in this
chassis with optional all wheel drive.
Designed primarily as a track day car, so it's not a race
car per se, although it is very quick.
In the right hands, it can approach Formula Atlantic
times, but it's also very accessible for the average
track day driver.
You don't have to be a pro in order to enjoy it and
have fun with it.

LEO PARENTE: OK, this is session two.
Beside me working on my line, what we did is change the tow
on the front of the car to stabilize this nervousness on
your braking.
That's going to really create a potential for a lot more
speed up the hill, on that first corner, and then into
that hairpin on the back end.
Crossing to the 80 chicane.
So that's what we're working for.
Did that change make a difference?
And can we get a little more out of this car?
So there we go.

Palatov may look like a race car that somebody already
backed into a wall for you, but it's real race car tech,
and as such, the D4 does race car things.
We were touching 140 miles an hour.
We were cornering at two to three Gs with its down force
tunnel underbody.
And all that was like it was on the SimRaceway sim.
The morning sim time quickened our understanding of what the
Palatov would do.
However, a few Palatov driving sensations were not yet baked
into the sim.
The real engine was not as torque-y as the sim.
We got no second gear wheel spin in the real car.
The nervous brakes we were fighting in session one, and
trying to fix with the tow out change for session two, were
not a sim symptom.
We made that front alignment change and it really cleaned
up the braking.
The car is much more stable.
There's no nervousness.
It gives you the confidence to brake harder, initially.
And as a down force car, you want to load it up on brakes
when you first go to brake, unlike a road car.
So that cleaned up a couple places.
We got our lap time down another second, so I think
we're at our 4:24.
I'm feeling good about that.
The brake change, or the alignment change, helped the
braking into the corner and allowed it to trail brake a
little more.
So we're getting a little more of that rotation using the
pedals and that's making us quicker in a
couple of other places.
We have one more session, I believe, and now it's time to,
maybe, make another change and if not, to clean
up a couple of line--
I'm still too busy with my hands and I'm a little too
aggressive in the S's when I need to smooth it out and get
that flow going.
MALE SPEAKER: Let's try some more.

LEO PARENTE: Turn one, you start to feel the Gs.
A little bit of compression up the hill.
Oh my God, we nailed this.
We're going to be on a good lap.

This is a tricky part where the car is
still a little nervous.
But as we head down toward 3, line the car up, good brakes.
It turned in pretty positive.
Come over the blind crest.
I lined it up right.
And I'm on the gas.
Car feels stable.
No trail brake here, too nervous.
Into it, and out, and on our way toward the carousel.
Feel the power of this engine, right here.
Now can we crest?
Can we go a little deeper than we did before?
We did and now it's down hard, hard Gs.
Hard Gs.
Find the apex.
Track out.
Full throttle.
We're on our way.
I'm feeling good.
This lap's going to be good.
The Palatov is performing.
It's feeling like a real race car.
Big brake zone.
Big brake zone.
The tow out has made a difference.
We can go deep, turn into that first apex, hit the second
apex, and we're lining up for the s's, which are near flat
as we come up through the gears, third,
to fourth, to fifth.

Smooth through there.
No short wheelbase feeling.
Down toward this Indy hairpin.
This is where we're getting a little tire lift and wheel
spin on acceleration.
And now, toward the final hairpin.
Nico and I noticed the sequential shifter was not
always grabbing a gear.
But no big deal for now.
We were on a hot lap, maybe a 1:40 lap, at least, until the
fourth to second gear hairpin.
And, well, watch this.

LEO PARENTE: So session three is over.
We didn't go quicker, but the changes to the car are making
it more positive and more confident to drive fast.
It got me quicker up the hill, heavier on the throttle,
toward two and three.
And I know we were carrying more speed there.
There's a couple of things where I am still too rough on
the hands, but that's what testing is all about, to learn
what we need to learn to move forward.
It's interesting.
The change to the car made the real race car, this Palatov
D4, perform better.
What we learned in the real car has improved the
SimRaceway sim experience, too.
And Palatov, on that test, they took out a torqueyness
that was in their simulation, and more replicated the engine
in this real car.
They changed the alignment of some of that weight
distribution to take out the twitchiness of that.
So, surprisingly, the lap times that we're turning
online, and turning on track, are getting very, very close
to identical.
And that's what testing is all about.
It's not about the fastest times.
It's about learning things, applying it to the technology,
real and sim, and moving the whole program ahead.
Look, I really enjoyed my experience here.
I want to thank SimRaceway.
I want to thank Palatov Motorsport.
Now it's on to Sebring.
And now I got this racing bug in me again,
and that's not good.