Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Synchros shot? Weird noises while shifting? Not sure what needs to be replaced?
User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:24 am

Johnf514 wrote:In your four years as a mainstay on the site, what can you say is the definitive obstacle that new standardshift drivers must overcome?

Over-analyzing. I see lots of folks that are SO focused on technique and precision. There is very little finesse involved with a manual transmission once the car is rolling. If I had any advice for new standardshift drivers out there it would be "RELAX". It will come to you eventually.

Johnf514 wrote:Edit: an additional, point-blank question if the above is too "general."

Why Subaru?

The timing was perfect. I pitched Subaru with a racing program the year before the Subaru WRX came to the US. I was one of the first and we worked out a deal to race the car in the U.S. Touring Car Championship. I raced and represented Subaru for 3 years in USTCC. Since that was the big boom time of Subaru performance cars, my racing was the focus of a lot of attention. The Subaru fans embraced our efforts and helped us out quite a bit.

While I'm by no means a Subaru exclusive racer, a lot of publicity was generated while racing the WRX and STi, so I'm associated with Subaru quite a bit.

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:34 am

jomotopia wrote:What is your favorite type of car to race in (FI vs NA, AWD vs RWD vs FWD, Lower Power/Great handling vs High power/worse handling)?

My favorite car type to drive is a normally aspirated RWD openwheel formula car. There's just so little compromise in the chassis. They do everything just right and allow you to drive the car at the absolute limit. These cars are all about finesse to the nth degree to get the most out of them.

On the other hand, I do have a blast driving the high horsepower forced injection all wheel drive cars. They require a different mentality and are a lot more about wrestling the car around the track. There's very little finesse at corner exit with these things. When the turbo hits its sweet spot, you'd better have everything pointed in the right direction because all hell breaks loose. It's much more of an "adventure". Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to control an animal rather than drive a car.

User avatar
pmacutay
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1563
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:05 am
Cars: 95 VW Golf
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby pmacutay » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:34 am

Does any of your racing technique find its way into your normal street driving, like sequential heel-toeing, or hitting apexes of turns, if even subconsciously?
Image
95 VR6 Golf Sport

ra64t
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 9:14 pm
Location: VA, USA
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby ra64t » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:32 am

would you recommend starting racing in a regional karting club or going straight to a f2000 type racing school? I'm in my early 20s and my only experience is indoor karting, but I aspire to get as far in racing as I can. Which route will get me further and or make me a better driver?
My racing blog: aracingdream.com

User avatar
.insane
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1280
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:06 pm
Cars: 1998 Ford Contour Slush
Location: hovering over the post reply button

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Postby .insane » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:34 am

GarySheehan wrote:
.insane wrote:Any hope for a future doctor to get into racing (not as a team owner) but as a driver?

Holy HELL, yes. There's a whole racing class basically invented for doctor racers. It's called Sports 2000. Essentially a series that's made up of wealthy folks. Fast, cool cars, too.

Auto racing is one of the few sports where you can move on up the ladder with more money than skill.


hell yes my life will not be wasted in an operating room win :p just need to retire early with a huge wad of cash :P and get me a race car.
Image
Retired:
'98 Ford Contour (AT) - 130,xxx miles (passed to my brother)
'93 Toyota Tercel (4sp MT) - 190,xxx miles (donated)

User avatar
Perpetuus
Senior Standardshifter
Posts: 445
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 2:01 am
Cars: VW GTI Mk. V
Location: The great north

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby Perpetuus » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:33 pm

I was wondering if you could provide some insight on steering feedback. I have gone from a car that provided significant steering feedback and it was a great feeling because I was able to feel the road and know exactly what the front tires were doing. I felt safe. On my current car there's a significantly diminished level of steering feedback and makes it so much more difficult to figure out what the front tires are doing. I have not gone past the car's grip limit yet, so I feel the chassis is quite capable. However,at the same time, the lack of steering wheel feedback has downgraded my driving technique to the point that I seem to be making little throttle and steering angle adjustments through long sweeping turns because my car is very sensitive to both of these things. Driving at higher speeds reduces the severity of the steering feedback problem by giving me better feedback from lateral weight transfer in the chassis...but most of the time the car is driven normally, so that does not help me.

So my question is, how can I overcome this problem so I can be more in tune with my car like before?
GTI Mk5 6MT -| Dieselgeek | VF Engineering | O.Z. | Wavetrac | Forge | AWE | H&R | Öhlins | ITG

Butterfingers
Junior Standardshifter
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:23 pm

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby Butterfingers » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:26 pm

Gary, you have had lots of wheel time in subarus both the USTCC WRX chassis and more recently the Grand Am Legacy GT chassis.

What are some of the notable diffrences in driving these two cars and which do you like better power differences aside?

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:59 pm

Sorry, guys. I've been incredibly busy. Back to it!!!!

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:05 pm

Warner wrote:What would you say your largest obstacle to overcome was in starting your racing career?

The largest obstacle to overcome in starting my racing career was making the decision that this is what I wanted to do, then dedicating everything to that cause. It included deciding on a college major that secure a career that would pay adequately to get me started, working hard in my studies to graduate, landing a job that would pay for entry into pro racing school, and sacrificing many things once out of school in order to reach my goals. I never got to do a lot of travel once I was out of school, nor did I have the coolest car or kick-ass apartment. Pretty much everything went into paying to learn to drive race cars.

Now the largest obstacle is "who you know". There are way more good drivers than paying racing seats. So the "who you know" really comes into play. Coming from a background that didn't involve racing in any way, I had to start from scratch. But as you meet more people and stay in contact with them, more opportunities arise. And an added bonus is you get to make a lot of great friends along the way :)

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:11 pm

Leedeth wrote:How did you find StandardShift.com and what made you join the forums? :D

It was somehow related to the double-clutching, heel-toe footbox video that is up on YouTube. But at some point, Brian asked for permission to post the links to the videos on my website on the videos page of StandardShift. I saw the dialog that was going on in the Forums and felt that I could provide some useful insight from a racing standpoint. So I joined.

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:31 pm

pmacutay wrote:Does any of your racing technique find its way into your normal street driving, like sequential heel-toeing, or hitting apexes of turns, if even subconsciously?

Absolutely. Heel-toe double-clutching in my streetcar is completely subconscious. Hitting apexes when safe to do so. Scanning the road constantly. Extreme awareness of traffic.

Interestingly, one thing that has happened is that I have been significantly desensitized to car-to-car contact. Nothing tends to surprise or scare me on the road. Sudden maneuvers from other drivers that are potential collisions are reacted to almost on autopilot and without anxiety. And car-to-car contact is not the end of the world and in some situations may be preferable to the alternative. So now it's an option rather than an avoid-at-all-costs scenario.

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:33 pm

ra64t wrote:would you recommend starting racing in a regional karting club or going straight to a f2000 type racing school? I'm in my early 20s and my only experience is indoor karting, but I aspire to get as far in racing as I can. Which route will get me further and or make me a better driver?

If you want to get into racing cars, start racing cars right now. Go to a pro F2000 school. Use karts as added practice between sessions in the car to stay sharp.

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:39 pm

Perpetuus wrote:I was wondering if you could provide some insight on steering feedback. I have gone from a car that provided significant steering feedback and it was a great feeling because I was able to feel the road and know exactly what the front tires were doing. I felt safe. On my current car there's a significantly diminished level of steering feedback and makes it so much more difficult to figure out what the front tires are doing. I have not gone past the car's grip limit yet, so I feel the chassis is quite capable. However,at the same time, the lack of steering wheel feedback has downgraded my driving technique to the point that I seem to be making little throttle and steering angle adjustments through long sweeping turns because my car is very sensitive to both of these things. Driving at higher speeds reduces the severity of the steering feedback problem by giving me better feedback from lateral weight transfer in the chassis...but most of the time the car is driven normally, so that does not help me.

So my question is, how can I overcome this problem so I can be more in tune with my car like before?

While steering wheel feedback does give you an additional sensory input to what the car is doing, it's not necessary. The touring cars I have been driving lately all have power steering which significantly reduces road feel, but more than makes up for it with ease of driveability.

You have to let your other senses learn to feel what the car is doing. Kinesthetics through the rest of your body as well as mental processing of driver input vs. chassis response makes it possible to feel what either end of the car is doing. In layman's terms, you're "driving by the seat of your pants". Your a$$ will tell you the attitude of the car. Increasing steering input without a decrease in turning radius means you are understeering. It just takes practice to feel what the car is doing from inputs other than feeling the steering wheel go "light" on you.

User avatar
GarySheehan
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:00 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Contact:

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby GarySheehan » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:42 pm

Butterfingers wrote:Gary, you have had lots of wheel time in subarus both the USTCC WRX chassis and more recently the Grand Am Legacy GT chassis.

What are some of the notable diffrences in driving these two cars and which do you like better power differences aside?

That's a tough question to answer, because the cars were prepared for different racing series, which allowed different modifications. I preferred the WRX because it allowed for more modification of the entire car, which meant I had to drive around fewer compromises that were designed in to the original chassis.

The WRX had more downforce and more suspension modifications, which meant it was faster in the corners and better balanced. The WRX exhaust was unrestricted, so I could actually hear the engine, where as in the Legacy it ran stock exhaust and I couldn't hear the engine at all.

The WRX felt like driving a racecar. The Legacy felt like driving a slightly tuned up street car.

User avatar
Ecmslee
Senior Standardshifter
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 8:14 pm
Location: California

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Postby Ecmslee » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:15 pm

Gary, these questions are about your own personal cars-
What was the first car that you bought and what car(s) do you have in your garage right now? Also, what qualities did these cars have that helped you make your decision to purchase them?


Return to “Parts and Problems”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests