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Malibu Grand Prix, Houston, Tx
DRIVING TIPS:
The start is on the right side of the track. I pull to the far right of the starting line, angled to the first apex. I pull up only as far as I need to to trigger the yellow down arrow light indicating that I am staged. You can start anytime after the green light comes on. The timer does not start until you cross the starting line.

Do not hit the berms. Hitting the berms will cause the tires to lose traction, often inducing a slide. Slides kill your speed, and, therefore your time. The ideal line keeps all tires rolling, not sliding. Some turns allow you to start wide and exit wide. Most do not. Power braking, i.e. brakes and throttle at the same time, will not help. In fact, you may never need the brakes if your line is good, until the finish line. When you get to the finish line, FINISH. The timer does not stop until you cross the finish line. Then apply the brakes. DO NOT come roaring through the pit area. This is a way to get someone hurt.

Apex the turns tight against the berms. Rolling over the beveled edge of the berms is okay if the car does not get upset. Use the throttle to control your sliding. Generally, I may lift part way as I start my turn, but be back to full throttle at the apex.

Remember, this is a very curvy track. Your line must take that into account. The proper racing line for a road course generally assumes that there is a long enough straight to get the car positioned for the next turn. Here, the next turn is right after the last turn in most cases. You have to pick a line that is a compromise.

Sure, you can drive 'pedal to the metal' most of the way, and slide all over the track, but your time will not be fast. Throttle control, compromising line, and smooth steering transitions will give you the best results.

A note on the cars. Watch the other cars performance. These cars can run differently every day. Watch a few drivers of a car that might seem fast. If they slide alot at the end of the course, but still get pretty good times, that car might be a good car. Some cars bounce alot. Some cars badly need an alignment. Some cars start slow and run fast. Some cars start fast, but never seem to run fast.

Which car can you qualify in? Most of them will run the required 55.50 or better to qualify you to drive the VFX car. One day last October, when the VFX was broken, I drove 9 different cars. Seven of them ran in the 54 second range. The other two were within 0.05 seconds of 54 second times.

The driver makes the most difference on the cars. Drive fast, smooth and smart. You can qualify. If you get a car that you do not like, or that does not run well, consider getting another car. If there is no one else driving, then the track guys will probably let you trade cars. If they have a line of people waiting, you may have to go through the line again. If there are several cars to choose from, ask the track officials which car is running good. Most of the time they will have an opinion. It may not be totally correct, but they see these things running everyday. They even drive them themselves, sometimes.

If you see one of the VFX drivers lurking aroung the picnic tables, taking a break, please feel free to ask them for tips. Most of us are happy to give tips. Personally, this is the way I take out my frustrations with dealing with 2000 computer users that drive me nuts most of the week. It's cheaper than a psychiatrist.

WARNING: The track officials will not tolerate recklass, rude, or idiotic behavior. They may give you tips on driving, and/or safety. Listen to them. They are there to help you have fun, and to keep people from injuring themselves or someone else. This is their job. They have bosses that will 'chew them out' if they don't follow the rules. Treat them as you would want to be treated.

If you get a time, that is terribly wrong, such as turning a 34.98 in a Virage car, or turning a 99.01 when your last laps were in the 58 second range, ask if they will reset the clock and let you have a relap. Most of the time they will accomodate you. If they don't, just accept it as a practice lap. Afterall, you did get to drive like A. J. Foyt. If the next lap is again wrong, ask again, nicely, explaining that you are trying to improve your driving skills. They are generally pretty accomodating in this area. If all else fails, go talk to one of the managers in the Castle. You can always come back and use your tickets at another time.

As a final tip, when you leave the track,

REMEMBER SUPERMAN, THERE IS KRYPTONITE OUT THERE ON THE ROADS!



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Fred Guymon
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