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Discussion Starter #1
When you guys go to a new track do you pre-view it with maps or watch videos online? Do you find this helps? Is it better to do that then just show up blind with no idea about the track?
 

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I do both. It helps me learn the lines along with visual queues. I find it deceased learning curve.
 

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Before I did not care, I would just show up and spend a couple of sessions to learn proper lines.
With more track days, I got different 'proper lines' answers from different coaches. Which is pretty confusing.

Now I watch top racers lines online, before and after doing a session at a new track. It helps a lot. Few inches off the line makes a big difference IMO. It gets trickier to learn regular race line vs passing line. It's a
 
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I watch videos and look at track maps.

I don't have the ability or skill to learn a track or the correct lines in a few sessions. Now I'm not saying I can't get around the track with some general knowledge and hold my own in my group.

For me it takes several visits to a track before I feel like I know the track - and then the correct lines - well again in general I know where I want to be - but I have found on any given day - the track that I think I know well - well what typically has worked in the past in not working that day.

Weather condition - track condition - my tires - my suspension all of these are a work in progress for me. Sure I can set the bike up and go with my normal setup and usually that serves me well but there have been many days that I just can't seem to get in the groove.

The tracks I go to - if the cars have been on track a lot - certain corners I can't use the line that I think is right for me - from the cars just simply beating up the track to the amount of rubber on the track.

As I've said many times I try really hard to ride correctly - never going to be a great rider - but I'm a techno type rider - tracks are always changing - I just hope that I continue to be aware of the conditions.
 

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I look at track maps and videos for a new track, for sure. I dont study the lines someone takes tho. Unless its a known pro. Trying to memorize someone else's crappy line is a waste of time. My goal is just to know the order of the turns coming up to minimize "oh shits" the first couple of sessions. Being able to make a rough drawing of the track from memory should be easy if you study the track maps, and I find that exercise very helpful.
 

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Before I went to the Superbike School at Laguna Seca a few years ago, I bought a second hand PlayStation at a pawn shop, got Gran Turismo, and played the game for hours only at Laguna Seca, on the front-most view (no dashboard, no steering wheel view, just the road ahead, most similar to a bike). Amazing how close to the real track the game is. I found a car with similar lap times to what I thought I would be at watching YouTube (also did that), in the low 1:40s, and played whenever I could.

That was more useful than all the videos and track maps I watched.

When I got to Laguna, it felt as if I had been there. I was instantly fast in some turns, such as the 3-4 right handers, though I still cannot properly figure out Rainey curve after the corkscrew.

Guess I have to go back.

I sold the PlayStation back to the pawn shop for a minimal discount, so the investment paid off great.

Enjoy.
 
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I'm watching videos now for some new tracks I want to try later this summer. I can usually get up to speed after a session or two though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I look at track maps and videos for a new track, for sure. I dont study the lines someone takes tho. Unless its a known pro. Trying to memorize someone else's crappy line is a waste of time. My goal is just to know the order of the turns coming up to minimize "oh shits" the first couple of sessions. Being able to make a rough drawing of the track from memory should be easy if you study the track maps, and I find that exercise very helpful.
Seems like most people here preview the track with videos and they find it helpful which is cool. I've never really learned that way and I find looking at videos, or playing games doesn't give me enough "reality" and so I prefer to just feel it out when I get there but if it helps give you a sense of direction and location then go for it!

I really like what you say above about not studying someone else's crappy lines though. This is really important because lines can change according to ability and track knowledge etc.

I also really like how you say that making a rough drawing of the track from memory shouldn't be too hard. This is something that Keith Code made me do when racing AMA and I find it helps me learn a track very quickly. I come in from the first session (usually pretty blind as looking at videos and or maps doesn't really work for me) and I write down whatever I remember. From there I can see what corners are vague or wrong (lol) and what corners seem to have stuck more. on the map I'll write down any reference points I remember, lines, brake markers, corner stations, cones, etc and go from there.

I also find that tagging along with a pro or know good rider at that track really helps. Sometimes corners seem like they should be taken a certain way but track specifics or quirks (like a bump at the apex or slick area) can affect the "ideal line".

When I rode Sachsenring in Germany for the first time in August last year I took a glance at the track map first to get a sense of turn directions. Right, left, right, left, left, left, left, right, left etc..... then I followed a pro racer out for the first two laps. After the first session I wrote down what I remembered and then went back out in the group specifically to look for more reference points. After the third session in B group the organizers moved me up to A group and after that I tagged along behind some fast guys to see their lines :grin2: Each time out I'd add to my map!

What kinds of things would you add to a hand drawn track map? How might drawing a map by hand from memory help someone learn a track faster than just looking at a printed out version?
 

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When you guys go to a new track do you pre-view it with maps or watch videos online? Do you find this helps? Is it better to do that then just show up blind with no idea about the track?
You posted this just to make me feel really old didn't you? When I was racing, mid 70's to mid 80's, you did it "old school." You walked the track the day before looking for reference points, bumps to avoid etc. and made notes.

After a 29 year absence from race tracks, my first track days were at my old "home" track. Sonoma. Despite the changes, I showed up and ran. Adapting to DDC suspension, tuning it and the never before available to me traction from new tire technology where more challenging.

My first attempt at T-Hill blind went awry with rain. Nothing learned. Showed up to Laguna blind on Monday. The first 2 sessions were: WTF am I doing out here? I should be home drinking beer and watching TV. :frown2: The 3rd session I was mad at myself and told myself to get it together. Big improvement. 4th session was good enough to move to the next group. Forgot to bring my back protector. Didn't want to push harder without.

Learning new tracks is not difficult. I need to get serious about physical conditioning. At 61, 40 laps wipes me out. I need custom leathers that are comfortable. After 4 hours all I can think about is taking my leathers off and keeping them off. :surprise: I hate the damn things even though they are perfect when riding. :rolleyes:

I watched a Ken Hill video of him riding an R6 at Laguna when I got home. All it told me is: I have a lot of work to do. :frown2: And while "track days" are fun, I'm not sure they will ever scratch the itch. If it's a track day, you want to go as fast as possible and get you and the bike home in one piece. If it's a race, you have to go 10/10ths into turns 2 and the corkscrew at Laguna.

I love the fact that my times get lower every time out. I hate that I'm not on what I consider race pace. And I'm pretty sure I'll never be at race pace without racing. :rolleyes: As a former racer, I'm sure you understand my dilemma.

Sorry for going OT. The topic just kinda hit a nerve. :laugh:
 

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...You walked the track the day before looking for reference points, bumps to avoid etc. and made notes. ...
I just raced CMP last weekend. I watched videos of folks around the pace I thought I'd be. It def helped get an idea but is no way giving "enough"....

Showed up to the track, and soon as I was unloaded I walked the track. Getting an idea of the surface. Looking for bumps. (It's a somewhat bumpy and VERY abrasive track) But mostly looking for key markers that I'd be looking at the next day for possible reference points. This was more meaningful than any video or game. Granted I hadn't made any of the markers mean anything yet, but I had some ideas of what I could use. This track happens to have orange spots (for cones) at all the (VERY late) apexes, probably for schools and whatnot... This was helpful too, though for anyone who has an "eye" for a line given a corner's characteristics, I found myself guessing where the orange spot would be by T4, and was usually right on or foot or so off...

short story long, if you have the ability to walk the track before riding it, it's one of the best ways to get acquainted in my opinion - at "human" speed.
 

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What kinds of things would you add to a hand drawn track map? How might drawing a map by hand from memory help someone learn a track faster than just looking at a printed out version?
Had to think about this... I have done it before; not for its own sake, but because I simply didn't have one lol
Drawing from memory could help you learn it better, faster, because you're forcing yourself to analyze ALL the characteristics of the track.
How long is that straight compared to that one? How sharp is that corner? Are there things I remember seeing that helped me get around the track? (RPs)

And if you have an accurate track map to compare a drawing to, this would be beneficial too. You can see where your differences are. "Man! This corner felt like it was 90* but on the map it's not even close!" :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You posted this just to make me feel really old didn't you? When I was racing, mid 70's to mid 80's, you did it "old school." You walked the track the day before looking for reference points, bumps to avoid etc. and made notes.
Hahah not at all. All the videos and technology and I still do it "old school" as well :grin2: Just a good topic about what helps people learn tracks and for some, the videos and video games etc all help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Had to think about this... I have done it before; not for its own sake, but because I simply didn't have one lol
Drawing from memory could help you learn it better, faster, because you're forcing yourself to analyze ALL the characteristics of the track.
How long is that straight compared to that one? How sharp is that corner? Are there things I remember seeing that helped me get around the track? (RPs)

And if you have an accurate track map to compare a drawing to, this would be beneficial too. You can see where your differences are. "Man! This corner felt like it was 90* but on the map it's not even close!" :confused:
Hahah, yep. I've had to do that too when I didn't have a track map but also as I said, Keith Code himself MADE me do it....and it helped! I think you are right, you are relying on your memory to write down everything you remember about the track including shape of the turn, length of straight etc. My maps always suck first time around but I re-draw them each time I come in and they get better and better each time.

I also add stuff like rumple strips, painted lines, things in the distance I look at to line me up correctly, signs, cones, braking markers, corner stations etc....I find the more things I have then the more specific I can get with my RP's. Then I can use areas on my map that look vague as a starting point for finding more RPs. If you have one corner with lots of things drawn in your map then chances are you feel quite located in that one area. If you have a portion of the track that is less filled in then that is probably where you could focus your time and energy.

What about split times, do any of you look at your split times compared to your track maps and RP's?
 

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I also add stuff like rumple strips, painted lines, things in the distance I look at to line me up correctly, signs, cones, braking markers, corner stations etc....I find the more things I have then the more specific I can get with my RP's. Then I can use areas on my map that look vague as a starting point for finding more RPs. If you have one corner with lots of things drawn in your map then chances are you feel quite located in that one area. If you have a portion of the track that is less filled in then that is probably where you could focus your time and energy.

What about split times, do any of you look at your split times compared to your track maps and RP's?
That's a good idea, to draw your own map from memory and fill in as you learn the track!

For $9.00 I purchased TrackAddict app on my iPhone and it shows split information along with accel / decel data.

I plan to use the split and accel / decel data to develop feel for entry corners versus exit corners.

For example, I would say that turn 14 Thunderhill East is a huge entry turn since you are on the brakes past the apex and turn 15 is a huge exit turn since you are on the gas before the apex to get good drive down the front straight.
 

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I spend a lot of time on simulators so if there's a track I plan to go to I always take the time to at least get to know the basics on that track if its available for download.

I also watch many hours of online footage from all groups so as a new rider to a certain track I can get a feel if you call it that of reference points.

Its saved many a fighter pilot and it will save any of us if we have access to that hardware/software.

Many sims now use laser scanned tracks and they can be a big help for a new rider.>:)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's a good idea, to draw your own map from memory and fill in as you learn the track!

For $9.00 I purchased TrackAddict app on my iPhone and it shows split information along with accel / decel data.

I plan to use the split and accel / decel data to develop feel for entry corners versus exit corners.

For example, I would say that turn 14 Thunderhill East is a huge entry turn since you are on the brakes past the apex and turn 15 is a huge exit turn since you are on the gas before the apex to get good drive down the front straight.
It really does work to draw the track from memory. As I said, Keith Code himself made me do it and it helped me qualify for several AMA races at tracks I had NEVER even turned a wheel on before. I qualified for Daytona, Fontana and Road America after only one practice day of riding the track. I totally credit drawing the track and analyzing split times to narrow down reference points etc as what helped me accomplish it.

The split data for me was helpful to show me the areas I was slower and it nearly always corresponded with the area's on my track map that had the fewest reference points drawn in. Makes sense that the areas you feel less located are the ones that you will be slower in. That way I was able to go out and focus on that section of track to find more reference points to help give me things to aim for.

Why do you think having and finding reference points quickly are so paramount to learning a track quickly and improving your times?
 
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