"My Take" on Racing vs. Driving

Petter Solberg

New Member
Written By: Dave Despain

Because lots of newspapers picked up on Wind Tunnel's "Worst Driver" poll, I wound up talking to several reporters last week, one of whom got me thinking, and you know how dangerous that can be. She made the point that driving race cars, which is what this show is about, is a lot different from driving street cars, which is what the poll was about. Well....yeah…but...

Race car driving is all about maintaining control under extreme conditions. That requires high levels of skill and concentration. I see a direct connection to street cars. In every traffic accident, there is a tiny window of opportunity just before impact when the outcome rides on a single issue...what does the driver do in that last available instant? Respond correctly - you can minimize the crash and perhaps avoid it completely. Respond incorrectly - you won't solve the impending problem and you may well make it worse.

Using a concrete example from a while back, do you remember all those Firestone tires that blew out on Ford Explorers triggering rollover crashes that killed over a hundred people? Remember the massive media coverage...all the editorializing about this horrible corporate crime perpetrated on innocent American drivers? Only once did I see anyone raise the most important question of all...what did the driver do when the tire blew?

"Car and Driver" magazine took an Explorer to the race track, rigged it so they could blow the front tire by remote control, did that repeatedly at speeds up to 70 miles per hour and never once put the Ford on its roof. Why? Good question. The magazine guys even tried jumping on the brakes and couldn't cause a flip.

So why did all those street Explorers go upside down? Why do Americans now believe that a simple blow-out will render them an innocent victim, incapable of controlling their vehicle? I'll tell you why...because there is a lot more emotional appeal and ratings potential in hyping a story about corporate malfeasance victimizing innocent people than there is in asking the hard question. Did 119 people die because somebody in Detroit screwed up or did they die because a bunch of bad drivers had no idea how to handle a relatively minor vehicle malfunction?

Am I excusing Ford and Firestone? Absolutely not. But if you're this close to a potentially fatal crash, are you gonna spend your tiny window of opportunity calculating your heir's settlement once the lawyers figure out who was to blame? Or do want to save your ass?

If it's the latter, we come full circle. You don't have to be a race driver to bring some basic skills and a little concentration to the task of driving. If we as a society were willing to acknowledge that fact, a lot fewer folks would die for no reason on America's highways.

http://www.speedtv.com/articles/auto/autoindustry/10701/
 

willie

Well-Known Member
"Car and Driver" magazine took an Explorer to the race track, rigged it so they could blow the front tire by remote control, did that repeatedly at speeds up to 70 miles per hour and never once put the Ford on its roof. Why? Good question. The magazine guys even tried jumping on the brakes and couldn't cause a flip.
.
In real life, it's easy.
 
D

dreddstang

Guest
That's because you can panic, go over into a ditch, jam on the brakes, THEN flip.

Solberg was absolutly right. People need to learn more control behind the wheel.
 

Tonio

Asperger's Poster Child
Originally posted by dreddstang
People need to learn more control behind the wheel.
I agree, particularly with SUVs. I believe there are many SUV buyers who don't realize that these vehicles demand more skill from the driver. In many cases, they've never driven anything larger than a Buick. So they haven't learned that a big SUV corners like a back porch with an engine attached.
 

aps45819

24/7 Single Dad
Went through a BMW high performance driving school a few years ago. Highly recomend it to anyone wanting to learn how to DRIVE instead of how to obey traffic laws.
 

Petter Solberg

New Member
Yeah, the BMW Club guys offers many great driving schools, along with other organizations like the Porsche Club, Alpha Romeo Club, Audi Club, Mazda Club, NASA, Car Guys, and BSR. I am a much better driver on the street due to the skills I aquired at the track.

Rob

Originally posted by aps45819
Went through a BMW high performance driving school a few years ago. Highly recomend it to anyone wanting to learn how to DRIVE instead of how to obey traffic laws.
 
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dreddstang

Guest
Yeah, I have been wanting to look into if there are any of those classes local to here. I took the Bondurant course years ago after separation from the Navy.

There is supposed to be an autocross group that meets at FedEx feild every other month. I have been thinking about going up there and checking them out, the suspension on my car is tuned more for that than drag racing, but I don't know if I wanna put my car through a set of brakes every month abuse. :biggrin:

Also been thinking about building a car specifically for auto-xing, but don't think I have the time to dedicate to it once I finish the car. We'll see.
 

Broke90GSX

New Member
Originally posted by dreddstang


There is supposed to be an autocross group that meets at FedEx feild every other month. I have been thinking about going up there and checking them out, the suspension on my car is tuned more for that than drag racing, but I don't know if I wanna put my car through a set of brakes every month abuse. :biggrin:

Go to Auto X site for information on any upcoming events at FedEx field. They put on amazing events.

Rob
 
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