My 1955 Driving Philosophy
Posted 28 December 2017 - 06:33 PM
I thought I'd put down a few thoughts regarding the 1955 mod for GPL. It's still quite new and that in and of itself makes it a challenge. Add in low adhesion and the feature of brake fade and you have a recipe for many incidents.
I have to say that I'm largely dismayed at the driving techniques and behaviors I'm witnessing in many races in this and other leagues. Too often, it seems, the be-all and end-all is score the best possible finishing position possible and over-driving results. These cars need TLC. Tender Love & Care. You cannot abuse them especially the brakes. Not if you want to treat the '55 mod as a 'sim' rather than an arcade game, that is. I see comments regarding WR's and lap times as being all-important where the goal should be survive and hope for the best. I'm impressed with the skills evidenced by several members of the club who hurl the cars about with great abandon and achieve superior results. But the cost of one mistake could very well spell the end of them. You didn't crash these cars...even lightly...and hope to walk away without some consequence. A minor shunt could have you in the grave and I think that everyone should drive with that uppermost in mind. For those hell-bent on performance, remember that a shunt would most likely end your career...if not your life...and that should be a sobering outlook. It's not just that you risk your own skin. Your mistake could so easily cost the life of another participant.
My personal approach is to drive to survive. I'll never attempt to out-brake someone unless I'm 100% certain that it's in the bag. I'll not push so hard in the corners as to risk that one off and potential doom. Any of the that fancy stuff is just kidding yourself. You can only get away with that for so long.
I don't expect to find too much support or sympathy for this approach. That's fine. All I know is that at the end of the day, I did what I consider to be my best.
Remember the time-honoured phrase...
'There are old drivers and there are bold drivers but there aren't many old, bold drivers.'
From this point on, I'm going to monitor of all '55 races in which I participate and keep track of the box score on incidents of which I'm aware. I'll publish my analysis and let you know if you got to the post-race ball to live it up and receive a trophy or spent the night on a slab with a tag on your toe.
Posted 29 December 2017 - 06:03 PM
VOR GPL Race Series Manager
Posted 30 December 2017 - 04:13 PM
Here's a little something I just composed offline for posting here. I was the eyewitness. Read and heed...
Ever seen a driver ejected from his car? Road or racing? I have. A sobering sight that you never forget. Ever.
The occasion was a club race at Mosport in 1965. I was spectating from the outfield opposite the pits while stationed on a platform constructed in a tree about half way along the straight for a morning practice and qualifying session for production sports cars and sedans. It was a beautiful sunny day. From this elevated vantage point, I could see cars come off the back straight into T8, round T9, come thru and exit T10 onto the pit straight, enter T1, climb the hill into T2. I could even get a view of T3 in the far distance. Great spot! For spectator protection in those days, all that separated the cars on track from plowing into the crowd were assorted earthen berms typically several rows deep at various locations around the circuit. In many ways, these could act as launching ramps as they weren't square to the racing tarmac but rather, featured an incline. (Jackie Stewart once commented upon these in an article I read on circuit safety and he should know. Indeed, it was these very berms that almost cost the life of John Surtees while attempting to qualify for the '65 Canadian GP. His Lola T70 experienced a suspension failure while travelling thru T1 and the car struck and vaulted the berms, tumbling down a good six metres to the public roads on the outside of the corner. There are photos out there showing Big John prostrate on the ground, face down, with the Lola inverted and lying on top of him. Remarkable that he survived and came back from this horror to win CanAms and Grand Prix.) T10 at Mosport features a paved access road at track level onto the circuit to allow vehicles too large for the underpass between T9 and T10 to gain access to the pits/paddock. Immediately down-track of the access road, the protective berms start on the outfield and carry on for quite some distance. Of course, the berm has to start from somewhere and its leading edge commences immediately down-track of the access road.
At one point in the session, a grubby, gold-coloured MGA came into view from behind the control tower entering T10. It was completely out of shape, sideways with tail out, nose in. The MGA struck the berm approximately mid-ships. The car started to ride up on the end of the berm and in so doing, pitched over to its left. The driver was flung out landing on top of the first berm. He then rolled down the trackside of the berm ending up on the gravel verge. The car bounded up onto the top of the berm but still had considerable momentum. It was nose down facing the track and proceeded to come down off the berm and onto the track surface. In so doing, it came within inches of the head of the downed driver. The driver-less MGA proceeded to cross the track at right angles almost collecting one of the Comstock Mustangs which was fast approaching. The 'stang had to take evasive action to miss the MGA. It struck the berm separating the track from pitlane in...that patch of grass you are familiar with in GPL wasn't always flat; it, too, featured a berm about a metre high back in the day. The car scaled the berm, went over the top and down into pitlane in still a good clip. It disappeared from my view behind the control tower and was heading towards the mock grid located behind the tower. As well, the public access road from the underpass between T9 and T10 is right there and heaven only knows where the MGA stopped. The driver was relatively unscathed in all this but doubtless needed a change of underwear. He got to his feet under his own power. Lucky boy.
The session finished and from my perch on the platform, I heard two marshals walk by underneath and they were discussing the incident. i clearly heard one say, 'Can you believe it? He was almost decapitated by his own car!' I did not leave the platform to inspect the area of the incident. I was rather shaken by it all.
In spectating at hundreds of races at Mosport for over half a century, this was a close to seeing someone die as I'd like.
You still want to drive with reckless abandon?
Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:12 PM
I dug up an old image off my HD and have posted it below. It's from Lap01 of the 1962 Canadian GP. John Cannon leads in the Dailu from Roger Penske's Cooper. The berm separating the track proper from pit lane in is quite apparent as is the berm which the marshal in the foreground is standing behind. This would be the self-same berm that the MGA first struck to set off the ejection.
1962 Canadian GP.jpg 73.79K 2 downloads