Now, this is something unusual for me, I’m going to be analysing some sim footage. What’s incredible is that the simulators are so close to real-world racing now is that the techniques and the way that you drive the car are almost exactly the same.
So, let’s jump on board with Jamie here. We’ve got a test session and we’re going to just take a look at the footage and see where we can improve and how he’s actually driving the car.
So Brands GP coming out the pits, straight into Paddock and the important thing here, we’ve obviously we can see the steering input through the steering wheel here, but we can also see the accelerator and the brake pedal just down here and that’s important when we’re analysing a driver’s footage. I’ll let him get into the flow of things, but he looks like he has spent a lot of time in the sim.
See the car rotating, so the first thing I’m looking for is to see how the driver or if the driver has the car on the limit and the easiest way to spot this when you’re looking at video is through the steering wheel. You can see if they’re correct in the car or just pausing on the wheel as they enter a corner and I can see that straight away Jamie was doing that.
Coming up into Dingle Dell now. Oh, he’s a little bit early on the brakes there, you could hear that he slowed the car down a tad too early. Good exit onto the back straight coming down into Clearways. Nice touch here, we’ve got the delta display from the Racelogic system here and you could see there and this is what I’m looking for, you could see there that as it gets on the accelerator and actually comes over the crest of Clearways, if you watch the steering angle, he’s putting some opposite lock in and when the cars just sat in that nice little position there, it’s probably at it’s quickest. So we can see that Jamie is pretty much on the limit, at least at this point of the corner. Now coming through Clearways in this way, as you come over the crest, you generally in real life as well, you generally get that little bit of oversteer so that’s something interesting there, he’s somewhere close. We’ll let him do another couple of laps before we really get into the analysis just to let him build up the speed.
Coming down the start/finish straight into Paddock here. Around Paddock down the dip, using the kerb on the exit up to Druids uphill braking here so you can break a bit later than normal, brought it to the inside really well. Bit of oversteer on the exit you can see with the steering wheel, could use a bit more road on the entry, but really hooked up on the apex there, good exit using all the road. Into Surtees, little bit of push mid-corner there you can see with the steering wheel, just pushing it over the top of the grip. Decent exit onto the back straight, fantastic right-hander coming up now, this is a lot of fun. And the next right-hander’s quick as well, you want to take a load of kerb on the inside here, there’s a horrible bump on the exit in the sim too.
So Brands Hatch has been laser scanned for the sim drivers so it’s absolutely inch-perfect. All the colours, all of the bumps, most importantly and the curbs are exactly as they are in real life. You can really use a simulator to learn a circuit, you know, if you’ve got a good quality steering wheel and pedals and the sim has been set up properly – that’s probably the most important thing with the sim is that the hardware is set up properly but, you know, they’re so close now that I use them as a real training programme. In fact, I was talking to one of my customers, my friends actually, this morning who was on his sim in Assetto and he’s beginning to learn about setup. Now, he’s a real-world racer, he’s been racing for three years and finds the kind of consistency of the sim and just changing a few things to give him the learning and understanding what setup does and he’s also working on different processes, whether that be adapting and manipulating the balance of the car in the sim. So what’s important isn’t that it’s a sim, it’s the learning process that you go through, so how do I generate a bit more grip on the entry to this corner in terms of changing my technique? How do I get the nose of the car to turn in when I want it to by adapting what I’m doing? It’s the process of getting there that’s really important to both real-world and sim racing.
So let’s get back to Jamie’s lap and have a look. One thing that I would do, and I don’t know if you can do it in this sim, is get the delta on the Racelogic display here. I think actually this is the delta down here that I can see on this, yeah it is, this is the delta. So the delta is the difference between the lap that you’re on and your best lap and we use it, as racing drivers, to gauge live how we’re getting on. So if we take a little bit of a different line or get a little bit later on the brakes, you can see that in the delta. So here you can see he’s is almost a tenth of a second up on his best lap. He got a good entry through Paddock, good exit as well, losing a bit of time here, he’s gone in a little bit hot and now he’s losing time on the exit. So that I’m going to look specifically at his line for a lap and then I’m going to look at what is doing with the pedals down here. So coming into Surtees, there’s loads of road on the outside that he could have been using here, so he’s kept himself a little bit tight and on the exit, too so he’s kind of restricted that corner because he’s turned it in too early. And so to go into a bit of detail here, Jamie’s leaving it too late to turn in to this corner. So we’re coming up and you see that there’s a little bit of steering angle in the car here, but then he doesn’t really wind it on until here and if you ask a lot of the car in a short period of the track we’re bringing the limit down, we’re forcing it to understeer and he gets a bit of understeer here. We’re doing too much of the turning in this little section of the circuit. So he’d actually be better off doing is bringing the car in a little bit earlier so that what we’re asking for from the car is more gradual and it loads the car more smoothly, it’s not a big spike in lateral G-force. So there, so that’s bringing the limit down, meaning that it’s going to go through here a bit slower than you really should.
Really good entry there, he went in really well, all of this section’s about just spotting the apexes especially as you come over this crest now we want you to be looking across here looking for the apex, there it is, take all the kerb, got a good exit. On the brakes nice and heavy, all the kerb on the inside, fantastic stuff, really need to get a good exit there, the car was rotating well on the exit. Down into Clearways, again, he’s turned it in a little bit too late there and missed the apex slightly. So I think, Jamie, what you need to do is really try and spot those apexes is a little bit earlier because if you’re not looking there early enough, you will tend to just fly past them. Here again, little bit late getting to the apex of Paddock so try and pick your vision up. So follow me around here, I’m looking down here, apex, apex, apex. Now looking at the exit, looking for the exit, out here, there we go and you’ll find that if you do that we’re already looking down here. Inside, outside, inside apex here now looking at the exit, you’ll find if you do that, the information comes at you much more slowly and you have much more time to react, right. Again, you’re a little bit tight here coming into Surtees, restricting the entry slightly and it’s lowering your minimum corner speed through there, which will cost you time.
Coming down the back straight now, let’s try and turn a bit earlier. Again, it’s a bit late and then you’re turning the car so it’s like you’re actually squaring the corner off a little bit too much. Now, these quicker corners are a little bit more about momentum so you want to keep the minimum speed as high as possible. If it was a hairpin in this car, which is pretty heavy, it’s a GT car, yes, you want to kind of get the car stopped, get it in a straight line and get out of the corner but in these quicker corners, we still do need to try and just ease the car in a little bit earlier. We want to stay away from, as I mentioned before, loading it up all of a sudden. Get your vision down at the apex, apex here, bring it in, there you go, perfect. Now at the exit, fantastic, up to the outside here, up to Dingle Dell and then we try to spot as soon as you can. Here it is, good stuff, I mean, this all looks fantastic.
So now I’m going to spend a bit of time looking at how you’re getting on the accelerator, but probably most importantly, how you’re getting off the brake pedal. Because the brake pedal controls the balance of the car as we enter more braking as you turn means the front will have more grip, less braking as you turn means that the rear will have more grip. So let’s go into a bit of detail coming into Paddock. First of all, if we’re looking at this throttle is the green and the brake is red, you’re on the brakes here, but you’re actually coming out of the brake pedal quite early coming into Paddock and that kind of releases the front up, you lose control of the front of the car and when in the real world and probably in the sim, if you’ve got a good steering wheel, you’ll feel the steering wheel go light. So that means that from this point now where we are into the apex, we’ll lose control of the front so I would suspect that you probably want to keep a little bit of pressure on the brake pedal, not much, just a breath of pressure on the brake pedal to keep the nose loaded up as you’re coming into the apex. Then I can see, you’re back on the throttle, to maybe, I don’t know, quite a high percentage there way before the apex. That says to me if you’re able to get on the throttle so much, so early that you’re not going in quickly enough. If you’re going in the right speed, you can’t get away with getting on the throttle in that way. So if you find yourself on the throttle early and too hard, then really think about, go back and think about your braking point back here and actually trying to carry a little bit more speed in Paddock. That then also rolls back into vision, make sure your vision is right because otherwise the information’s coming at you too quickly and then your inputs will be a little bit too harsh. So you’ve gone on it once and then you had to get out of it and go on it again so all these harsh inputs mean that you’re bringing the limit of the car down. So what I would suggest is there that you want to get on the brakes, ease up off the brakes, a little bit of braking as you bring the car in, then mirror that brake trace with getting back on the throttle just a little bit just to settle the rear of the car down. Be patient, keep the minimum speed up as much as you can, but be patient on the throttle, not on and off the throttle just a little bit until you get to the apex and then blend it in as you come out. So the throttle should be one input as you’re coming through there.
Now, ironically, you are up 13 hundredths of a second now I know that it’s quicker than you had them before, but it isn’t as quick as you can go, I can see that from here. So back to looking at the throttle trace, hard on the brakes here, easing up, trail braking into the apex there. You’ve got a bit of understeer here mid-corner, if you watch the steering trace, brake, brake, brake and then you’re off the brakes here and the car’s got some understeer. That extra steering angle that I can see going into the car is understeer and it kind of comes when you come off the brake pedal, right, so we can see if you watch a brake trace along with the steering angle, you turn the car in, it’s all going pretty well then you’re off the brakes and it gets understeer here. That means if you think about the dynamics of the car, that the front is coming down and then when you get off the brakes, it comes up too quickly and pushes the car into understeer. So consider trying to, if you’re into your setup, putting a little bit more rebound in the front of the car. Now, the rebound is when the damper setting, when the suspension compresses and then when it comes back up again, when the spring pushes the dumper back out again, that’s rebound. And if you add a few more clicks to the rebound, when it comes back out again, it will come up more slowly, the front will come up more slowly. So you dive down and then if you increase rebound, the front will come up more slowly, meaning there’s more weight on the front of the car for a little bit longer, which might get rid of that mid-corner understeer that you’ve got here and now you wouldn’t have pushed wide as you have done in the video here. So all of that time that he gained at Paddock you’ve just lost in Druids here.
So, again, let’s watch the trial breaking, pretty good, we’ve still got understeer here so you’ve gone in a bit hot. I mean, if you watch the brake trace, looks okay. I mean, I think that could be a setup thing, to be honest with you, Jamie, because it’s mid-corner, it’s when you come off the brakes, the thing starts pushing so definitely say that you could try. Good exit there, do seem to be struggling on the throttle a little bit coming out of the corners, the thing wants to slide on you. So when you’re pretty eager on the throttle, right? So before you go, before you go changing any setup to try and give the rear some grip on the throttle, I would try and soften off the accelerator. You want to just get on the throttle, as I explain for just a little bit, and then ramp it upwards, now you can get on it. But you might be instigating that, so you might be starting that oversteer and so before we start making setup changes, you need to be sure that the driving technique is right first of all, because we don’t want to be kind of trying to make up for poor technique, not saying that this is poor, but for not perfect technique with setup. So really, Jamie, you need to work on your throttle application, you’re so keen to get on the throttle, look at the throttle trace here. I’m just going to go forwards in slow motion, you’re on the brakes here, knock it down a gear, bringing the car into clearways, the line is good, you’ve turned in really well, the thing’s rotating already, if you look at the steering wheel here, it’s rotating there then it’s sitting down, back on the throttle and if you look at the throttle here, you’ve jumped on the accelerator. Look at that, you jumped up and this is a high power car, you might be able to get away with that in the slower car, but in something like this, it just won’t accept it and then you get a kick of oversteer, as you can see with the steering wheel here, and there we go, you kept it pinned but I think there’s definitely some room there for you to be a lot smoother on the accelerator, especially in the initial bit, you’re kind of giving it a load of stick getting on and off the throttle.
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