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Knowing your car’s limits





Now i have the odd burn on the roads, but i wouldnt have the confidence to drive the car near its limits, and also dont even know what the feckin limits are!!! reading / watchin the posts / vids around, it got me thinkin - how do you know the limit of your car, be it a cup, valver, RT, etc...? do you use track days to find them, or is it just careful experimentation on her majestys finest public highways?! ;)
 


i had mine wheels spinning whilst half sideways round a sharp as hell bend last night- LOL.. im learning its limits the fun way!
 


Road, everytime. Nice empty roundabouts are the best, especially when its damp. Bit of understeer (if you can ever get a valver to understeer other than on fooked tyres), or if youre my brother, 45degree-*rse-out-lift-off-oversteer round a town centre roundabout... ;)
 


you cant in all honesty drive at 100% on teh rd, its dangerous and silly......you wont have any room for error and lamp posts dont move out the way....

Drive as well as you can....but not over your personal limits.

The only way to find it is on a track...when you spin or wash tehf rotn out onto the grass...youve found it....lol
 
  mk2 172


i find em by loosing it etc pushing it hard at night when no-ones about, but once you get a feel for your cars control you can push it over the limit and save ur ass if need be............sometimes lol
 


If you can afford it, a track day or an advanced driving day would be best - I think TelfordMike and some others from here went on one and found it seriously enlightening (although very harsh on their cars!). Worth noting though that organisers of track days generally dont like it if they have to stop the event to go and rescue you from a gravel trap, so maybe dont go overboard on the experimenting eh? ;)

To be honest (and this is something Im not proud of) Ive driven much closer to the limits of my car on public roads than Ive ever managed on the track: Not intentionally BTW, but sometimes you just go way too fast into a corner, lift off the accelerator causing mega-oversteer (because youre bricking it and instinctively do it! :confused:) grab a bit of opposite lock, tyres howling and appear at the other side of the corner thinking "How the F*CK did I get away with that?" - I still dont think I can reliably find the limit at any desired opportunity - its more of an accident - but Ive found it one or two times, and in the instant afterwards you just grin, and grin, and grin... and replace your underwear...

So with my head - track days / drving days... With my heart - err... road, but well away from anything and everything that you could hurt, with the exception of yourself (sorry)

Hope I dont get too slated for saying that, but Im at least being honest, and I dont go out with the intention to speed or drive dangerously.
 


how did you learn driving skills then? you need to know how to correct yourself in a mess, and how did you learn that? by just gettin in a mess and crossing your fingers it would work, then realising you could control it so trying to get in a mess?!

dont wanna come across as pessimistic cos im absolutely not, i know that car enthusiasts on here will never be tw*ts with their cars becuase they value them, its jusy that in my 2yrs driving, ive had 2 crashes (not my fault!!!) and have realised just how easy it is to cause mega £££ damage to your pride and joy!!!
 


LOL @ Craggy... Im not a tw*t with mine! (Well, not on purpose anyway). Sounds stupid, but why not try go-karting as a first step - the higher speed ones are excellent fun and you can try to hold the oversteer through corners (NOT EASY in a go-kart in my opinion! - you need super-quick reactions!!!) Its the cheapest option and you can get some mates to go along with you and make it fun!
 


yeah tried that when i was just 17 and learning to drive, was surprised how good it was, but so feckin expensive in relatino to the actual driving time...plus they were really arsey about makin the car slide on purpose etc.! i hope theyre not all like that!
 
  172 M69 eater


haha i dont need to be a tw*t with mine, iv got a 1.2 i know its limits lol, iv took it there!!
 
  mk2 172


we go kartin, fukkin som,e nob end up turining it into a demolition derby and we all react and get kicked off, all good fun tho, not very good getting t-boned at 30mph in a cart tho lol
 


Well I wish I could say I am the best driver in the world, but I am not. I know how my car will react with what I want to do with it. And so that makes me quite a good driver when driving my car the way I usually drive it. If I was to drive another car or out of my usual style I wouldnt be that good. I would be able to use my knowledge and skill that I have, but I would have to learn all over again.

Start driving your car normally. Dont go hell for leather, keep the revs at not to much over 3k. (this is for your RT mate) Drive around like that for a few months. Over those months slowly get faster and faster around corners. But still keep the revs low. In doing this you will learn how your car reacts to speeds and conditions. Then start pushing up the revs over the next few months. You will get to know where the limets are, without crossing them. They key is time. Dont push it from the day you get it because (if your a new driver) you wont have the skill to handle it. I have had my car for 3 years now and have been driving for 4. Its only this year that I have started driving over 3k revs. I know my car now, and I have been driving enough to learn the ways of the road and how its mainly other drivers that cause you problems.



Paul
 


If you werent to learn the limits of car control fit some bad tyres to your car. Then you wont need to go fast and risk hurting yourself or other people.
 


As said before I use round-a-bouts to experiment on the understeer/oversteer and general feel. I dont push it too hard on corners when out on the road although but I dont drive slowly by any means - Ive lost control at 110mph when I hit standing water and aquaplaned for about 200-300mtrs sideways on a dual carragewayduring a thunderstorm - I should never have been doing that speed but I was young and stupid. I have had quite a few other scares and the more scares you get the more careful you drive (usually). I think luck plays a large part as I have been very lucky - never had a prob in the Dry only when its wet.
 


Be smooth while driving (and I dont mean listen to Barry White while wearing a silk shirt and a medallion :p ) I mean be smooth with the way you steer the car, use the accelerator and position your car on the road, speed and knowledge will come with time.
 


Quote: Originally posted by DTWD on 25 March 2003


Well I wish I could say I am the best driver in the world, but I am not. I know how my car will react with what I want to do with it. And so that makes me quite a good driver when driving my car the way I usually drive it. If I was to drive another car or out of my usual style I wouldnt be that good. I would be able to use my knowledge and skill that I have, but I would have to learn all over again.

Start driving your car normally. Dont go hell for leather, keep the revs at not to much over 3k. (this is for your RT mate) Drive around like that for a few months. Over those months slowly get faster and faster around corners. But still keep the revs low. In doing this you will learn how your car reacts to speeds and conditions. Then start pushing up the revs over the next few months. You will get to know where the limets are, without crossing them. They key is time. Dont push it from the day you get it because (if your a new driver) you wont have the skill to handle it. I have had my car for 3 years now and have been driving for 4. Its only this year that I have started driving over 3k revs. I know my car now, and I have been driving enough to learn the ways of the road and how its mainly other drivers that cause you problems.



Paul





Safe advice mate but thats driver limits opposed to the cars limits , id like to see someone fishtailing a small engined Clio..it just wont happen, youll understeer and understeer until you hit a hedge.
 


Ive got to be honest and say that I dont know where the limits of my car are. Ive got an idea by testing it out on a long curved motorway slip road near my house.

Its usually quiet and it means Ive been able to go faster and faster round it as time has gone on and Ive got more confident. So far Ive got the car to understeer and found it to be quite progressive and slow understeer. I used to have a fiat uno and when you ragged it in that thing you understeered fast... leaving me needing new undies many times.

Thats about where the limits of me feeling comfortable with the car stand. Theres no way Im going to attack corners trying to find out the limits of the car on the road because when you get caught out nd find the limit either people get hurt or you end up with a car that looks like a spat out toffee.

Save that kind of gung ho approach for the track with nice big run off areas.
 


Quote: Originally posted by RobFenn on 25 March 2003


So youre relying on luck?
It certainly plays a part when driving - whether you are driving fast or not does it not? Your assumption that I "rely on luck" is way off the mark!!
 


With my clio it understeers and has once gone into lift off oversteer, which just isnt enjoyable. I still drive progressively when i feel like it (as the chassis is good to a point) but not to the same degree as before, theres just no point. I cant make my car be something its not. Id rather jump into a faster car on track whenever i can.
 
  VW Potato


no idea what the limit is on mine, but i like to feed into a corner nice and smooth, then feel the weight transfer and shift then off we shoot out, smooth and quite quick, no harm done.

Mines a pasta, please.

g
 
  Was a Clio 1.8 16v


Very easy to tell when ur about to oversteer in a manual steering 1.4 Mk1 IMO.

Harder in my 16v but at least when u reach the limit the car just slides and u can easirly correct your self. Unlike the standard Mk1. However with every new car ive driven the limits are pretty much unreachable because the steering wont let you if you know what i mean.
 


Quote: Originally posted by RobFenn on 25 March 2003


Safe advice mate but thats driver limits opposed to the cars limits , id like to see someone fishtailing a small engined Clio..it just wont happen, youll understeer and understeer until you hit a hedge.
I would stop before I got close to either personally. Its always a good idea to be operating below the maximum of something, then you always have something left in reserve if you really need it.

Imagine if your driving on the edge of your ability and the cars. Then mid corner you hit some water, all of a suden your fudged, you have nothing left. A little less speed and you might have been able to control it but your on the limet. The only thing thats left now if that fast aproaching wall.

Paul
 


Find a big empty roundabout, cane your car round it in 2nd (or 3rd if its really big) till you feel like its going to understeer, then lift off the accellerator completely and turn right into the roundabout, the back should lift slightly to help the front end go where it wants and the car *SHOULD* adopt a neutral four-wheel drift, have fun mate :D but be SAFE !!!!!
 


So that would be a contradiction...drive like a spastic but do it safely?

Just ask for a trackday package as ur next birthday pressie its not hard!
 


I know, and in an ideal situation it would be ideal thing to do but the chances of that happening is pretty slim. As a group i dont think we should promote dangerous driving (even if we dont mean it to be!) as a way of learning to drive fast and safe.

:p
 


some good stuff here ppl - lol @ rob, imagine doing that at queen marys roundabout! prob could learn some stuff though at crittals corner, by your work? is the lift-off quite progressive - i.e. if im going round the roundabout and slowly take off the gas, its not suddenly gonna jump round is it? will i feel it about to go before it does?
 


just read your latest posts, no im not out to be a dick on the roads, or to drive dangerously, i wouldnt try this like at 7 in the eve like i see some knob ends doing - its more a case of i want to know that if my car ever started to slide out or do something other than go in the direction im pointing at, id feel capable of briging it back under control - and track days are so expensive unless for b-day as you suggest!
 


At least you could be ambulanced away pretty quickly! I do give it some welly round there sometimes.

Lift off oversteer is snappy, but your car should sort it out as long as you dont panic. I cant see how you could get into the situation though, i was driving at the bottom of the dual carriageway near old bexley where it happens, there is just no grip on that tarmac for some reason, i was understeering and heading for kerb so lifted off which is when it happened.

If you lift off midcorner the car will just correct yourself unless youre going very fast or in an unusual situation like i was.

-Rob
 


Quote: Originally posted by steve_rt on 25 March 2003

...and track days are so expensive unless for b-day as you suggest!
Hmmm, most of the UK race tracks are comming up for sale...shall we all chip and buy one?

We could make a mint renting it out.

"The Cliosport consortium presents the British Grand Prix"

Paul
 


There used to be an airfield near us that was open to people who could find it. (a b**ch to get to in a car). Most of it was taken up and returned to farmers fields. But the runway and a a few of the taxi ways where still there. Sadly it was ripped up a a year or two ago. ARSE!



Paul
 


There are new industrial estates going up outside town where I live with nice big roundabouts and no traffic after 4pm when the contractors have gone. You can get to the limit pretty easily in the Dry on a roundabout and very very easily in the wet. I only try it with either a new car or new tyres as its good to know what your car may do. The only downfall is if you lose it you can bu66er your alloys & suspension on the kerbing
 


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