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Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:54 pm
by Standardshifter
Gary Sheehan is our resident race car driver, and he has graciously agreed to take part in a question and answer session here at standardshift.com.

Gary has been behind the wheel of many a different type of race car, from open wheelers to FWD subcompacts, so this is a great opportunity to get a question answered on a broad range of racing and driving subjects. Want to know more about his background? Check out his bio at http://garysheehan.com/?page_id=2.

One question per post, please. We'll be closing the thread late next week, and Gary will be answering the best questions through the 29th of April, his four year anniversary on standardshift. So spread the word and post up your questions!

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Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:01 am
by watkins
I would ask about the potency of liquid Gary, but thats been covered.
Hmm... good questions...

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:16 am
by Leedeth
So you raced a Mazda MX-3 and Honda Del Sol, eh? What modifications were on them, and what were their handling quirks?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:57 am
by Zexel
How does someone get into racing? From what I read in your bio, I guess it costs a lot of money?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:07 am
by .insane
Any hope for a future doctor to get into racing (not as a team owner) but as a driver?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:12 pm
by GarySheehan
Leedeth wrote:So you raced a Mazda MX-3 and Honda Del Sol, eh? What modifications were on them, and what were their handling quirks?

Both the Honda Del Sol and the MX-3 were racing in classes that allowed only minor engine enhancements, but significant suspension and braking upgrades. Typical safety stuff of cage, racing seat, harnesses, fire bottle, etc. Completely gutted interiors for weight savings, like any race car.

The handling quirks were similar to any front wheel drive race car. The FWD platform has a natural tendency to understeer significantly, so high rear spring rates and sway bar rates are used to compensate for this to get the car to rotate under braking and have some semblance of balance through mid-corner. FWD cars always understeer at corner exit on throttle, because the front tires are being asked to continue to turn the car while simultaneously accelerate the car. So the driver has to choose a line that minimizes steering angle after the apex, so the front tires can support more acceleration. This typically means very late apex is how these cars need to be driven.

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Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:03 pm
by six
Any projections/aspirations for the future of your career?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:07 pm
by Johnf514
In your four years as a mainstay on the site, what can you say is the definitive obstacle that new standardshift drivers must overcome?

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

Why Subaru?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:27 pm
by jomotopia
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)?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:59 pm
by Warner
What would you say your largest obstacle to overcome was in starting your racing career?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:49 pm
by GarySheehan
paul34 wrote:Any advice for an aspiring EE?

What are you aspiring to do?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:53 pm
by GarySheehan
Zexel wrote:How does someone get into racing? From what I read in your bio, I guess it costs a lot of money?

Racing even at the lowest of levels can be expensive. There are racing series that are designed to be low cost, but they are still more expensive than, say, being a competitive cyclist.

There are multiple ways to get into racing. You can start with your street car at local autocrosses held by NASA or SCCA. You can start by going to High Performance Driver Education track events with your street car through many different oganizations. You can buy a race car and go straight to an SCCA driver school. Or, like I did, you can start with no prior racing or karting experience and go to a pro racing school for professional training.

Wherever you start, you're "into" racing. How high you move up is entirely dependent on your will, marketing savvy and good fortune.

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:02 pm
by Leedeth
How did you find StandardShift.com and what made you join the forums? :D

Re: Question and Answer Session with Gary Sheehan

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:16 am
by GarySheehan
.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. :wink: It's called Sports 2000. Essentially a series that's made up of wealthy folks. Fast, cool cars, too.

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

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:18 am
by GarySheehan
six wrote:Any projections/aspirations for the future of your career?

Right now I'm looking for a consistent ride in a racing series. I need to get a few years of full season racing under my belt in touring cars and GT cars. Ultimately I am looking to Grand-Am Rolex and ALMS as the series I aspire to.