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Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:04 pm
by Ecmslee
hockeystyx16 wrote:kind of a lame quiestion, but i see it all the time in open wheel. why do the drivers tilt their head into the turn? i doubt its for better weight distibution, a head doesnt weigh that much, and i tried tilting my head into a turn and it just disoriented me a little bit


I'm not Gary so I won't say that my answer is the definitive answer, but my guess is that the head tilting is just the body's natural reaction to the lateral g's felt during the turns. The lateral g's experienced by a driver can be fairly high in a racing environment and especially so with purpose-built open-wheel race cars. Those cars just carve up the track, figuratively speaking.

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:50 pm
by ra64t
Ecmslee wrote:
hockeystyx16 wrote:kind of a lame quiestion, but i see it all the time in open wheel. why do the drivers tilt their head into the turn? i doubt its for better weight distibution, a head doesnt weigh that much, and i tried tilting my head into a turn and it just disoriented me a little bit


I'm not Gary so I won't say that my answer is the definitive answer, but my guess is that the head tilting is just the body's natural reaction to the lateral g's felt during the turns. The lateral g's experienced by a driver can be fairly high in a racing environment and especially so with purpose-built open-wheel race cars. Those cars just carve up the track, figuratively speaking.


that, and their also looking for the apex.

also not a definitive answer

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 1:37 am
by Etanimulc
Gary, how long did it take you to learn heel and toe downshifting. I perform this technique the nonconventional way; I have a problem swiveling my heel around to the gas pedal. I put my heel on the brake and blip the throttle with my toes or middle of my foot. I wear a size 12 or 13 shoe. Can you give me some advice on learning this technique?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 3:12 am
by Ecmslee
I found a nice article today that goes with what we've been discussing about head tilting-
http://www.wired.com/special_multimedia/2008/pl_motor

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 8:33 am
by jomotopia
i know this stuff is "on topic" so to speak... but this thread is specifically for asking Gary questions and letting him answer them, so let's try to stick to that format please. ;)

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 11:47 am
by GarySheehan
Hey everyone! I've been very busy lately and spent the day traveling yesterday. I'm excited to see so many new questions, so I'll get to them shortly. I'm just swamped right now.

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 6:26 pm
by wannabe
what made you chose the circut you chose to race in?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:12 am
by Ecmslee
jomotopia wrote:i know this stuff is "on topic" so to speak... but this thread is specifically for asking Gary questions and letting him answer them, so let's try to stick to that format please. ;)


Sorry about that, you're completely right. So here's my post edited into the form of a question-

Gary, would you say that this article is a good anatomy of the skills and qualities you exhibit as a professional race driver? :wink:
http://www.wired.com/special_multimedia/2008/pl_motor
Kidding aside, what types of exercises do you practice to prepare or train yourself for what you do? As mentioned in the article, does your training also include a lot of time spent in driving simulations, such as racing games?

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 6:48 pm
by bde
Gary, kinda carrying forward from the previous question:

What excercises do/did you find most useful for learning the manual?
How much time did you apportion to them in the early years and vs now?

One exercise I've heard is getting in and out of the same gear for a prolonged period of time (an hour or more) on any kind of terrain (hilly, regular etc) while maintaining constant speed throughout.

Looking forward to the reply:)

Thanks!

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed May 14, 2008 4:48 pm
by GarySheehan
ra64t wrote:don't see a restriction on asking more then one question so...

who is your favorite racecar dirver? who do you think is the best?

For me, this is a tough question. I don't know that I have a favorite, but there are many that I like a lot. I really liked Alain Prost back in the day. Kimi Raikkonen is probably the best out there today. All time best in my opinion is Michael Schumacher. I was a big fan of his as well.

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed May 14, 2008 5:04 pm
by GarySheehan
NjSi wrote:Gary, If not subaru...what car company would you rather race..and what class?

I'm not tied to Subaru. As a matter of fact, I'm racing a Scion tC in World Challenge Touring Car this year... http://www.scion.com/scionracing/road/landing_mpm.html Speaking of which, there's a place on that website to ask questions as well, so feel free asking me some of the same questions over there!

World Challenge is a great racing series. The racing is extremely competitive and the 50 minute race format makes for a lot of action.

I also hope to make the jump up to the Grand Am Rolex or ALMS endurance series in one of the lower classes fairly soon.

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed May 14, 2008 5:20 pm
by GarySheehan
padauk_dust wrote:Thanks for taking the time to do this Gary; I am enjoying reading what you have to say.

If you had the opportunity to own any vehicle, restrictions (vehicle rarity, monetary etc.) aside, what would it/they be and for what reason/s?

The first car that I would like to have has to be the Ford GT40. Not the Ford GT that was recently in production from 2004 - 2006. I'm talking about one of the original Ford GT40's that dominated LeMans in the late 1960's. I think these cars are absolutely gorgeous.

Image

In person, these cars are stunning. A real race car for the street!

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed May 14, 2008 5:26 pm
by GarySheehan
NoirX252 wrote:Gary, as a racecar driver, do you make hard solid reference points around the track as you race, like, VERY precise dots/lines whatever on like... a crack of pavement or so

OR, do you imagine your car doing everything front of you aka hard visualization focus

Or do you just focus hard naturally and just feel the car and brake from your visual input and feel, but don't make any hard and fast rules and don't make solid reference points?

(weird question... haha I know)

Not weird at all. I definitely establish reference points around the track. Not so much precise dots or lines around the track. For sure I find hard braking points, turn-in points and apex points. These give me a baseline to incrementally get faster around the track. Once I establish a solid braking point, I can start exploring braking beyond that point. If I can still slow the car and negotiate the corner without hurting apex speed, I will establish that point as my new braking point. This keeps recurring until I find a point where I'm braking too late, then I fall back to a previous braking point.

I also have a few reference points I will follow on the way to the apex, to ensure I get there at the right angle for maximum acceleration out of the corner. These can change as the braking points change.

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Wed May 14, 2008 5:27 pm
by GarySheehan
duong wrote:Are you related to Michael Sheehan the Ferrari specialist?

I don't think so. Maybe I should check my family tree! Perhaps he would be a good relative to have!!!

Re: Question and Answer Session with Race Driver Gary Sheehan

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 4:21 pm
by GarySheehan
padauk_dust wrote:What is happening in your mind while you are on the track, if anything, and if it can be conveyed in written language.

That's entirely dependent on what I'm doing on the track. If I'm new to the track or to the car, I'm thinking about braking points and apexes and trying to find how the car likes to be driven. If it's a testing session, I'm thinking about how the car is reacting to my inputs vs. how I WANT it to react to my inputs and what needs to change to get the two closer together. If I'm qualifying I'm not thinking about much of anything, just entirely focused on the job at hand. If I'm racing against someone, I'm thinking about a way to get past the person in front of my by forcing him into an error or maximizing my exit speed to get a run on him into the braking zone. There is no active thought about driving the car. That's pretty much subconscious for me.

The most curious thing is that I rarely feel any emotion in the car at all. I'm not happy, excited, angry, nothing. Just focused on the job at hand. It's usually not "fun" for me until after I get out of the car and think back on the things that happened. While I'm in the moment, I'm just very analytical.