Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Race3 - East London

Wow. What can I say about this track.....absolutely - insane. It is SO FAST, I loved it!!!! WOWNESS :P These Formula Vee cars got up to 220kph....and my neck is sore from trying to keep my head from getting sucked out the car :)

Practise and Qualifying
Arriving at the track, us newbies got bombarded with stories of Potter's Pass, how crazy it was, the dangerous crashes there, the minimal run-off area, and how scared we were going to be. I just shrugged it off. My whole mindset was like that going there. There was no expectation, and I was going to take things as they came to me. So, I'll make my own judgement on Potter's Pass when I get to it.

I got to it in the 1st practise, and didn't take it flat out :P My mind was so focused for this weekend. I had 3 practise sessions and qualifying on the Friday, so I thought I'd go at my own pace such that I reached some sort of limit by quali. Courtney and the other new guys went balls to the wall from 1st session, I didn't feel the need to :) Nobody timing me again, Alan Holm rocked the track in a 1m32.9....the next guy was in the 1m34's hehehe. I was liking the track, the speed you reach is incredible....there's nothing like it, screw computer games :D I was also enjoying that midfield section, it was quite tricky and challenging!

Well I got going at my own pace. In 2nd session, Potter's Pass was flat out the 1st try....was awesome :) Just because it was fast. With the new Dunlop semi-slicks, this corner was just an above-average-sweep. Quite an overrated corner I thought, to be that was done. Went at my own pace to get the braking sorted out and learn some other corners....was a very physical track, my arms were really struggling hehe. But I was getting close to the limit without much risk. I didn't run off-track once....even though a couple sideways situations. Comes with the territory. I was even experimenting with some setup changes....which worked too. Things were running smoothly.

Qualifying arrived and I just put the corners together, not really on the full braking limits. Tried to slipstream others but got caught up with the drivers in other parts of the lap. Things went ok, but other drivers were eyeing me out in the pits after that. They reckon I was going well....and I think I was going ok. Ended up 5th on the things were not too bad!! But was still 2sec down on Alan Holm...the guy's engine was practise I tried to slipstream him, but all I did was keep up!!! Down that long straight, I should have passed him even before Potter's....but I didn't even catch him.

I got noticed after that qualifying....even got a TV interview ermm...I'm not too good at chatting in front of a camera....but I think it went pretty well :D Will see when it comes out on SuperSport later.

I was pretty focused. Knew what I had to do: just stay in the leading pack's slipstream. I could keep up with them throught the rest of the track just about, in practise I kept up with frontrunner Dennis Johns like that.

But I missed the lights going out at the start. Noob. It wasn't so bad, but the wheelspin I had added to the bad start....I just got swallowed up by the pack!! Crap...after that I thought I could get back with them if I just drove decently and kept up the pace in the slipstream....but...enter Trevor Bland. The guy was dive-bombing me in every corner he could get a chance. It was so dangerous sometimes, we actually hit wheels the one time, and I dived onto the grass to avoid him. I was not impressed at all, with this stupidity we were losing touch with the front guys.

I also started being a bit aggressive with him when defending my lines, and that became a whole other story in the pits after that....I did nothing illegal, I made sure of that. I was just harsh. Just like he was doing to me. I may have done a couple moves that I shouldn't have, but it should have been dealt with better. The politics of him knowing everyone and me not knowing anyone...things got annoying in the pits. Oh yeah, I finished that race in 8th. That fact really feels like an aside comment, since this Bland thing destroyed my name in the pits.

I put aside the bullshit going on in the pits, it wasn't that big, just a vibe I got from people that Trevor obviously got to first. Anyway, even though I was damn unfit, and really tired at the time, I got my brain in order. Watched the lights properly this time (hehe) and got a decent start off the line....just followed everyone down to the 1st corner...sliding around on cold tyres flat out through Potter's and Rifle....down into Cocabana...I enjoyed that corner. It was banked and dipped at the apex, and just rose on the way a mini roller coaster going through there :)

The infield section was great, tough on cold tyres....not a lot of grip through here...but this was the part of the track that scared me the most, even though it wasn't the quickest. So easy to lose it and wipe out into the wall :/ The sweep after that section is aggressive. You have to fight the car to keep the apex, and also let go of the steering wheel with one hand to shift to 4th gear halfway through the's intense.

The race was going well. I was keeping up with James Leach, but the lead pack was breaking up as those front g
uys were just insanely fast. I was having a nice dice, but keeping momentum so that we still had a chance of catching guys in front of us....I wasn't making any errors, things were going great. The only gripe I have with this moment was that I did not latch onto James's arse through these laps. I always kept this 0.5sec gap in front of me....I was not confident in running right behind him. It is something I must work on in races to come...

With 2laps to go, I was running in 6th position, working 'together' with James Leach with slipstream to catch the guys ahead of us....but then
my accelerator cable snapped :( That was quite disappointing, running in a strong position, and my first DNF :( But that's racing, it was going to happen sooner or later.

So as my pace and consistency improves, I am learning other aspects of real racing too. The little politics in the pits, and even more crazy close racing. There are a lot of mindgames to play and follow, it was never just about the racing on the track. This championship is going to be interesting indeed :)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Race3 - East London Preview

The next race date is coming up fast...East London on the 19th May...the original Grand Prix circuit. This picture of the track layout is all the knowledge I have of this circuit. I can only remember seeing a couple corners of it on TV, it's not in any game that I can practise on, and I can't find any onboard footage. So this will be a whole new experience.....I only have 3 practise sessions to learn it too! Situated at sea level, we are going to get the most power out of the cars....and I'm tired of hearing how scary this track is :P

Anthony Taylor:

me: dude, im ready for anything ;) time to kick ass or die trying hehehe

Ant: You're gonna luv EL's frigging fast!

me: yah i heard a lot about east london.....more power at sealevel, potters pass, etc etc. but who cares :P i'll see when i get there eh ;) top8 is calling....top8 top8 top8 top8 top8 :D

Let's see what happens. I'm itching already :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Did Simracing Really Help?

Looking back at my races, I see that I would be pretty much nowhere if I had gone into Formula Vee without any simracing experience (have not done karting at all).

I don't need any help with racing lines, I can figure it out by myself. What's fast in the game is fast on track - it works. I was taught to be patient....don't let any emotions get in the way, and maybe even channeling the emotions to make you faster or more consistent....but most of all I learned patience, just to keep your head sane and calm in the craziest of situations....and to keep pushing, at every moment.

When I was hopelessly slow, I didn't give up. In simracing I'm usually the slower guy, I may have been the pace setter once or twice, but mostly chasing. You have to concentrate on certain things, and basically focus on where exactly you need to improve the time. It has to be done, and you end up doing it, instead of farting around feeling sorry for yourself.

The most joy I can take from simracing is the actual wheel-to-wheel duels I had online. These battles helped me strategise subconsciously on when and where to be on the track to force an error, make a pass, defend, etc. When attacking a driver, it's quite difficult in some circumstances to watch him and also drive the corner properly (seeing as you will be off the normal racing line you're used to), and you build this cool awareness of knowing exactly where the driver's car is, and what he is probably doing. I had some interesting battles on track at Kyalami...very interesting :P There is no way I'd be alive today after overtaking someone around the outside of T1 if I didn't have that awareness of what to do, how to slide off-line without getting in the other guy's way (ie: crash into him). You also learn to size up a driver's nature very quickly, how aggressive he is, etc. And after that, you know exactly what to do with him. It's very cool, no screwing around wondering what to do :P

Example of a tough simracing duel

There's some occasions where it doesn't work out. In rFactor I'm sure as hell I could defend my position against a relatively aggressive driver around the outside of T5 (Sunset corner, fast righty), but it didn't work out at all. It's so dirty off the racing line, I ended up going sideways through there, and too close to I learnt the hard way :P Under no circumstances ever get onto the dirty line :P

You see, simracing seems to have helped. But it's all a matter of application. Real and Sim are totally different. Simracing will teach you the raw basics, the underlying truth to what being fast really is about. But it can be total trash and absolutely useless. It's up to the individual to identify certain similarities, and find a way of applying that knowledge to make it work. It's hard to totally trust a computer game, seeing it's just a fudged approximation of what someone thinks feels like real life. Its obviously flawed, and can't go flying into corners on the real track without basing knowledge of what the car is going to do from experience WITH the car itself. I certainly won't base my trust in simracing like that. But there's quite a bit else that I can gain from rFactor, I'm sure I haven't figured out the full potential of how simracing can help in real racing.

I have raced 2 events and my best finish now is 11th, with the car still intact. If some other simracer had the same opportunity, he/she could have done a lot better. Or much worse. It's all about how you can apply what you've learned, and figure it out in the shortest amount of time. Quite interesting, I still got lots to learn on track, and I'm enjoying this experience.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How is the Real Thing Different?

Well, after my race at Kyalami, I thought I would have driven enough to make a few observations between real and sim racing.

There's the poop factor. You are travelling in a race car at some speed, and although you're in a controlled environment, you are always on the limit (wouldn't be much of a race if you weren't) and things can go wayyyy wrong in an instant - you're in control, and you have the responsibility. If you crash, that's it. In rFactor you can throw the car anywhere, flat out anywhere, because there is no consequence. Personally I'm not really that scared of doing harm to my body in a crash, I'm just worried about what it would cost afterwards. I'd like to keep racing thank you, but this mentality makes me slow. I'm sure it does. Where is the balance of putting it all on the line and being 'mature' about it? Patience.....a different patience to what simracing taught me.

The cars are not the same. You're not in the same machinery, this is quite a big factor of course :P But nobody quite realises this when you sit and watch on TV. All those cars out there are all in different much time to gain in pure maintenance alone, and that only if it's the same model of the car. There are quite a few chassis types and body shapes out there.

When you sit and wonder why you're slow, you can only do it sorta like this:

Just a printout of the timesheets. In rFactor you can exit to the pits, click on the faster guy and watch onboard with him to see where you're going wrong. But that's never enough, you end up asking him for his setup, to which you can compare side by side, and make changes in a few clicks of a mouse button. To change the anti-roll bar in a Formula Vee, you'd have to get it made, strip the entire front end to get to the inside of the front suspension, put it in, and finally when everything is back together again (probably a couple days later) then you have your new anti-roll bar 'setting'. Man you'd better hope you were right about that change....Being in the right gear at the right time is so important. In rFactor I have a habit of staying in a higher gear and keeping the revs's faster. If you do this in real life, or at least in a relatively low powered vehicle like a Formula Vee, you'll be so bloody slow. Have to rev the crap out of it at every opportunity. It's also pretty easy to misjudge your speed entering a corner when you're concentrating on downshifting smoothly - you get the downshifts right, but you're just in the wrong place at the wrong speed in the corner...quite annoying, and you feel like a noob.

Driving the car is different. It's a car. In a game, its a wheel and pedals with basically no feedback. There really isn't much physical consideration of the goings on of changing gear, for example. My mind was well prepared for racing lines, etc, but the thing that got me in the end was the downshifting. You simply can't learn the tricky and evidently important stuff in a game - impossible. Being bashed around the car is kinda distracting too :P Everyone knows this is the main difference, the physical part of racing, so I don't need to go into that much. All I know is that I have to get a lot fitter for the next race :P

So what can you learn from simracing then? Totally useless? Ehhhh I think it taught me a lot....get your ass to the next post lol

Monday, March 26, 2007

Race2 - Kyalami - [Part2 - Saturday]

Right. Saturday is here and its qualifying for the 1st I really had to be mentally prepared before I went out for this one. Which I think I was! I got my mind in order, had some things to try out as I still don't know the circuit enough to be fully on the limit....

So I went out and started to try different gears for some corners, and 2nd gear was still giving me grief as normal. Tyres and brakes were a bit cold, so no laptime would come of these experimental laps anyway....but woah when I got to the last corner, there was an oil flag being shown. I could see some water across the track.....and HOLY CRAP the car got unsteady through there, was shocking :P After the session we learned it was anti-freeze, so no wonder it was so slippy. Anyway, some of the top guys came up behind me, so I had to let them through which made me lose time always....I needed to put a good lap in sometime soon. Symm Grobler came past me, and thats when I decided to go....he is usually one of the top drivers on the grid...he was about 1 second ahead of me. I felt I could follow him nicely throughout the fact....I thought I was gaining on him!! But then the chicane came along and I missed 2nd gear...had to quickly punch it into 3rd gear, but lost a lot of time and watched Symm pull away....I got through the anti-freeze okay, but lost time as I'm sure everyone else did. I wanted to try somehow to keep up with Symm who was a bit in the distance....I had an unbelievable first few corners, it was really on the limit. But then a freakn red flag came out :/ John Lerm crashed at Sunset corner, and that was scary. Drove past and saw he'd hit the notorious inside wall....his car was totally wrecked....let alone my awesome lap :P

Came back in the pits and went to see what laptimes I had done, and to gauge where exactly I was on pace, as nobody had timed me on Friday. It turns out I qualified 10th with a 2m01.4...ahead of me was Courtney with 2m01.2. Pole time was 1m58.4....and what was funny was seeing Symm Grobler in 5th position with a 1m59.9.....hehhehheh his fastest lap was the one where I was gaining on him slightly. Things looked good ;) Come on you piece of shit 2nd gear....

Between sessions, big Dean and I sort of figured out my 2nd gear issues....the linkage was slightly loose at the back. We tightened it up a bit, and hoped it would make it better. It was such a long wait to the race....the programme was delayed by at least an hour, and nobody even knew if we were going to even get the 2nd heat in!!! An hour later meant it would be run in the dark :P The 1st heat was reduced by the race was only 7laps :/ It's disappointing that there's so few laps in Formula Vee races, but that's how it goes.

I felt confident about the race. Courtney and I decided to not fight each other....we wanted to work together to catch the group ahead of us, who had qualified on this race would be interesting!! The start came up to the right grid slot (yay) which was on the inside. Lights went out and I thought I had a decent start....well, that was until 2 guys came flying past me!!! I backed off a bit for the 1st couple corners, as I didn't feel like crashing. Shouldn't have done that, lost more places :/ There was some tangling in T3, and Gert van den Berg spun round...others were involved, so managed to get a couple places...Courtney was behind me (he had a bad start) and slipstreamed me before Sunset corner...I tried to hold it around the outside, but errrr that didn't work out very well. I oversteered so badly on the marbles, I thought I was going to fly off and crash :/ But I held it together by some miracle, with nobody else hitting me. The rest of the 1st lap was decent, but thinking back to it, my mindset was all wrong. I wanted to stay a couple car lengths behind the guy in front of me, to get comfy with the car...NO!!!! I should be racing these guys, c'mon...but I was getting 2nd gear now, and that was good.

But somehow things were not working out for me....some driver had a problem I think going into the hairpin, and I got held up which allowed Johan Gouws past me. GAARRGH I got held up by him for a few laps :/ Could not find a way past...finally I got a better run coming out of T3, and nailed him into Sunset. I immediately pulled a gap on him, but started getting gear issues again. Began to get frustrated and even wasn't changing gears cleanly, pushing the clutch only halfway and going across start/finish in neutral....stupid shit like that. It started to get a bit of a nightmare. Wow but had some scary moments....some guy spun ahead of me coming out of T2...the dude didn't know which way he wanted to slide. He was all over the place, and I just didn't know which direction to choose to avoid him :/ Thought I was going to hit him but managed to get passed okay....wanted to start catching the guys ahead, but wasn't driving well at all. Without knowing it, I was overdriving the car. Going into T3 I went in waayyy too hot....was well sideways, and by the time I caught it, I was already into the gravel. Took a nice trip bouncing along in the litter, cursing and screaming and watching Gouws drive back past....I just gave up.

Got back on track and just cruised to the finish basically, since it was the last couple laps remaining....there was nobody near me in front, so no hope of catching. My issues with 2nd gear creeped in again, and just wanted to get it sorted for the 2nd race. Looking at the timesheets, I finished in P13 :( Quite disappointing...I managed 2m01.6, but wasn't sure how, as that was the lap I overtook Johan Gouws into Sunset, and I'm sure I missed a gear on that lap. Yet again, disappointed by my 1st heat like I was at Wesbank Raceway.

Since most of the categories races were shortened, and some were even combined, we managed to get a 2nd heat in the dying light. I smiled between sessions. I knew where I had gone wrong, it was all mental. This time I was confident for the 2nd race, and was focused on the job ahead. Big Dean did some last minute fixes on the linkage at the back, and it clamped better. Man, I hope it holds....

Starting from P13 wasn't ideal. There were some slow drivers ahead of me, and wanted to get past them as soon as I could....but let's concentrate on race start first, shall we :P I felt I was too tame in the 1st race, so I got into an aggressive mindset. Starting on the outside now, and I got a decent start again. A bit of wheelspin, and some drivers behind were putting pressure on me. But into T1 I just went flat out :P Kept it around the outside, so I was on inside for T2 and worked out okay. Someone had gone off in front, there was just dust everywhere. I was in that aggressive mode, but knew I had to calm it down. Was definitely overdriving the car in the 1st race, but now I was hooking up the corners nicely, and getting 2nd gear well. I was much much quicker than the guys in front of me going into the scary corners. Before the race I told Anthony Taylor that I had tried to take Sunset flat out (which didn't really work eehhehe)...he just stared back at me wide-eyed....I guess it's not quite the thing to try :P So the drivers in the pack I was in were even braking for Sunset, and I was just tapping off. Got a great run on them going into the next corner (Clubhouse), and kept the extra speed to outbrake them.

I had some absolutely unreal battles with guys....wheel-to-wheel isn't even the word hehhe, it was just crazy stuff going on. This is even crazier with the knowledge that if I flip the car, I will probably die hehehe seeing as I have very little head clearance to my roll-over bar. But it worked out okay. Missed 2nd gear going into the chicane (just because I didn't blip the throttle enough) which allowed the guy behind me to get a run into the final corner. I defended quite hard, but he stayed on the inside none-the-less: I was dealing with an aggressive dude. Okay, nice. So I kept on him coming out the last corner and got a run into him going into T1. This is no place for messing around side-by-side, but I was going for it anyway, screw it :) went around the outside of him into T1 flat this moment my life flashed before my eyes :P we both went wheel-to-wheel through T1 and T2, the scariest corners on the track. By far the coolest moment of my racing "career" lol....I think I pissed him off with that though, as he just divebombed me going into T3. SCREW THIS GUY, I really needed to be battling with the guys ahead for God's sake. Some other driver took advantage and followed him through T3 while I was vulnerable around the outside :/ Managed to destroy them into Sunset and Clubhouse as usual, so that worked out :)

Had to now catch the guys ahead with only a couple laps remaining. I pushed hard, the group in front were 4 drivers, including Courtney....on the last lap I managed to catch them, and things got real interesting. Courtney was busy sliding around in front of me in places I couldn't take advantage of :/ It got to the final few corners, I was definitely going to divebomb someone, it just had to happen :P It turned out Johan Gouws missed a gear coming out of the bottom of the everyone was scrapping into the chicane. Was going to line up whoever was ahead of me to divebomb into the last corner, but Johan was already going to do that on me :P Screewww that, I kept it around the outside and punched out the corner nicely. We were running side-by-side driving to the finish line....I shifted to 3rd gear a little earlier, and he jumped slightly in front. Then he shifted and was his turn to drop back a bit. I wasn't even looking ahead, was just watching him and smiling as we crossed the finish line together :D It was anyone's guess who got it, it all depended on where his transponder was placed relative to mine!!!

Checked the timesheets....Johan and I registered exactly the same time....but had me ahead ahahhahha :D finished P11, but it should have been P9 if I hadn't been dicing so long with those other two early on in my race. Yeeeeee but this race was a thousand times better than I had at Wesbank :) Such a crazy track, and some awesome action with guys going into mad fast corners....I thought I would have got a 1m59 in this race, as the gears were fine and I felt I was pushing. But my FL was only a 2m01.0 :/ I was highly confused about quali I did 2m01.4, and that was with a missed gear and the anti-freeze last corner....very very odd. Courtney's FL was a 2m01.8.

Thinking about it afterwards, I think I really need to follow someone faster than me to get me going. When I was driving alone, I thought I was going fast, but in reality I wasn't :/ So that's nice, I feel I'm learning things as I'm going along. Of course I'd be learning things, it's only my 2nd race meeting, but I mean I'm conscious of the things I have to improve. I'm just glad I have an awesome car under me. Knowing how good new tyres actually are, I could have been running really well at Wesbank at Kyalami though, it's left me with a bit of head scratching :/ I'm 2.7 seconds down on the fastest lap, but I really think I should have been 1.5 seconds down (at the worst) instead. Have to improve next time, but I think I know what to do...

The next race is at East London in a couple months....the old F1 Grand Prix circuit :) The F1 guys used to race there before they moved to, this will be enjoyable to say the least :) One of the corners includes the notorious Potter's Pass. I've heard about it, I've seen it, I haven't even driven it yet and I'm already scared :/ Here we go again Zaahir...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Race2 - Kyalami - [Part1 - Friday]

I slept nicely that Thursday evening. I felt I really got nicely focused for what to do, and seemed pretty calm going to the track. Just tried to keep focusing and to not get nervous. What did get me a little nervous was how wet the roads had obviously rained early morning, and was drizzling a bit on the way there.....sure it’s fun and everything being on a wet track, but let me learn the track first :P Oh and the Johannesburg traffic pissed me off a bit :P I ended up getting to the track on time though! Can’t afford to miss a session when I only have 3...

Getting to the pits, it was nice seeing my baby again :) With new tyres and rear shock fixed, as well as new brake pads. But greeting big Dean wasn’t very nice....he told me I had a misfire, soooo that sucked. There was no time to fix it for 1st session, so I’d just have to go out and learn the track a bit and get everything warmed up anyway. Took a look at Courtney’s car which made me jealous :P He has a TOTAL REBUILD of the car. Basically everything was new. Everything. He had a freakn new car there hehehe....wouldn’t mind swapping…

Before heading into the 1st session, I wanted to find out from guys what gear to be in for which corner, what to watch out for, etc. But the session came too quick and had to go learn it myself. Anyway, big Dean told me to just chill out and bed in brakes and tyres, plus the track was pretty green from the rain, so there was no way I could push from the outset. The rFactor computer game on Kyalami was my only hope LOL....driving out on track made me smile....and made me a bit surprised too. Smiling ‘coz hell, I was driving on Kyalami for God’s sake....but surprised ‘coz the track seemed quite small and’s quite big compared to Wesbank, but quite smaller than I’m used to with rFactor. Gradient changes seem a lot more noticeable as well, and there’s bumps in the rF Kyalami that just aren’t there on the real surface :P Quite odd....anyway I drove around with my foot on brake pedal occasionally, to just get the brake pads bedded in. The engine misfire was quite bad, so I had no power anywhere. But it felt good to drive around on the track, been waiting so long for this moment :) Attempted my notorious 2nd gear downshifting, and it was bad as usual hehehe. But it wasn’t grinding, 2nd gear was just difficult to select, felt very hard. Session was over pretty quickly, I think I only got 3 or 4 laps in....and they were useless laps, so nothing to learn really.

Second session went okay. I could start to push now, and try figure out the was basically dry now. Misfire was sorted out inbetween sessions, so I had power again. I’ll try to briefly describe the differences of the real track to the rFactor one. There are some real scary corners on this circuit :/ and quite a few 2nd gear corners, so that sucks :P Anyway, the first 2 corners of the track are hella scary. There’s no way I’m trying taking that 2nd corner flat out (some other FVee driver said he was)....that thing is SO tight...and you are really travelling at quite a speed. Turn3 is real tricky too, I didn’t know whether to shift to 3rd gear before the initial kink, or cruise into there in 4th and downshift after that....either way, that corner is real scary, and damn tricky. Sunset corner (turn4) is so cool. I thought that would scare me, but it’s just so much fun. New tyres ROCK by the way, I have a lot less understeer! Can’t quite take sunset flat out, I tried once and the back-end started stepping out (scary). The Esses are pretty cool too...nice gradient changes, and you really throw the car into there. Wesbank hairpin is bloody weird :/ It’s nothing like the rF Kyalami, the line is quite odd and different, and seems so much narrower. My arms started to hurt going through here...getting 2nd gear for this corner is a bitch too, ‘coz I’m busy concentrating on getting 2nd, and the line and speed is so important, so that ends up getting messed. Was still struggling with engaging gear, the damn thing just wouldn’t go for Mineshaft corner....the run down to there is quite a steep downhill!!! I was amazed, as you can’t really feel this in rFactor. Taking Mineshaft flat out is quite some concentration :P back-end always wants to step out, but you keep it going and stay sensitive to the steering wheel. On the brakes at the bottom of mineshaft isn’t very fun, car shudders quite badly – but not as bad as it was back at Wesbank Raceway. The chicane/kink thing is a bit of a joke. Being a 2nd gear corner, it sucked already...but it’s so small and stupid. It’s much flatter than what it is in the computer game, but the kerbs are high, so you can’t ride anything there. Going into the last corner there aren’t those bad bumps you get in the game either, it’s pretty smooth. The only noticeable bumps on the track are in the Esses....your arms really get mushed around when the feedback comes through the steering wheel!

I felt the session went okay. There were some corners which I still needed to learn fully, but it just felt great to push on such a circuit.....WOW :) Didn’t know laptimes yet, I am alone here at the, no pictures or video either :( MAJOR bummer. Anyway, I didn’t need to know laptimes...when I’m on the limit then only I’d like to know where I’m losing time. Right now I know I’m losing time everywhere hehehe....fastest lap of the session was 1m58.3 I think by Peter Hills. I’ll see if I can get within 5 seconds of that?? The track is tricky, most corners are not straight forward...and I’d imagine there is so much time to gain in all of them. This is why to me 5 seconds is not a lot :( Hope I can learn more in the 3rd session.

And no, I didn’t :/ This session was pretty crap. I asked around for some tips with some of the tricky corners and gear changes....had some things to try out! Oh it appears I may have gearbox issues according to big Dean....would make sense why hooking 2nd gear is such a bitch. May have to rebuild the gearbox for next race, but nothing I can do now. Anyway, the 3rd session was a pain....I couldn’t get a clean lap in, always someone ahead of me, or slowing down, or some shit. I tried experimenting a bit with the corners I wasn’t sure of….but nothing seemed to work. I’m also still scared of that 2nd corner :P and a couple other places.

And just like that my practice was over. I really feel I need quite a few more laps to sort things out. This weekend is too short :( All that is left tomorrow is qualifying and the races!!!! I don’t even know what laptimes I’m doing, or totally comfy with the track. I’ll get some laptimes in qualifying tomorrow now that I have my transponder....but that’s a bit late isn’t it? :P The weekend is going too quickly, I hope I end up hooking things up and enjoying myself.....and I REALLY hope I’m not that slow. Even though the car feels real good, I feel I’m going to perform worse than at Wesbank....just need more practice.

We’ll see how it goes. Right now I need sleep :) And grow some balls. Being a pussy through some corners is just not on.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Sooooooo many times now I've been asked the question....why? Plain and other other words to the sentence....just...."Why?"

In discussions with people, they think it's cool I've started racing, blah blah blah. But when they find out I spend so much money on it, and dont get paid if I win a race, or any return at all for that matter.....then there's a 10 second pause, with the most priceless look on their faces.....and then comes the question.

Well, what the hell? Do you people out there not have dreams? Wild wacky dreams, things you'd love to just fulfill. Do these things remain dreams your whole life? "Man I'd love to go to the north pole to check if Santa's there......or walk the entire Great Wall of China".....well go and do it then. Not the greatest of examples, those are more of a once-off type thing. Track racing is my passion, and I want it to be involved in my daily life as much as possible :P I am LIVING THE DREAM. Just 3 words is all that you need to know. Whatever you've been wanting to do all your life, and when you finally get down to doing's called.....LIVING THE DREAM. So, that's why. If you don't have a dream then you will just not understand and I'm sorry :P

(If u want to go to the moon, well then, I don't have a suggestion for that as yet)

Kyalami Update:
I'm leaving this week to go to the track. Driving up to Jo'burg on Thursday 'coz I can't afford flights and renting a car....looked at the schedule for Kyalami, and I am pretty screwed. I have got a total of 3 separate practise sessions (15min each) to get to know the track on the limit before the races. Let's leave one session out for just warming up the car, getting tyres bedded in, I have a grand total of two sessions to get my groove on. Errrrr.....this is Kyalami, not some mickey mouse crap. To get on the limit without crashing will take me more than 2 sessions.....I'm definitely not that good enough :P So, I'll just have to see what happens I guess, but most probably my performance will be a lot worse than what I had at Wesbank :( What a terrible realisation.....but the weekend isn't here yet, so take what comes.....


Monday, March 12, 2007

Kyalami Soon...

Oohhhh yes.

Kyalami. Home of South African racing. The history behind it....and MAN what a track....looks hella fast. Race is in 2 weeks....and I'm feeling generally uneasy hehehe...I know where the corners go, played it in a computer game, but I know that means nothing. Plus the race meeting has minimal practise sessions, just 'coz Kyalami is so damn expensive to I won't have much practise, I'll really have to figure this one out FAST. But what's good is that I know what the car should feel like.


I managed to get new tyres. So that will change the handling won't it :D Begged, borrowed and stole money (I really need sponsors lol), I have a set of new boots on my car!!!! As well as new brake pads (yay) and some other major maintenance on the car that should make handling better. So it will be a different car, but surely it'll be faster...

Anyway I need all I can get for this race. Not much practise, so car has to be prim and proper. The difficulty level of this compared to Wesbank is probably double, as well as being almost double the length. So if i can be around the same place in the pack as i was at Wesbank, I definitely think i would have improved a lot. If that makes any sense :/

We'll see what happens. I'm counting the days.....and don't want to expect too much otherwise I'd end up disappointed. but I'll be racing on the Kyalami. How could I get disappointed?

Running Kyalami with a similar mod to FVee in the game rFactor...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Lap of Wesbank Raceway

just so i remember it.

crossing the start/finish u approach 200kph. watch the 200m board flash past and get ur mind set for the whole braking thing. the 150m mark is a pole with the red flag on it....slam brakes as u flash past it, almost instantly downshifting to 3rd gear. car begins dancing around, and u gotta make slight wheel corrections. under braking i couldnt see much, with the vibrations of the car my head just got thundered around. heel-toe and hook 2nd gear....keep the revs up since the 1st corner is not tight enuff for 2nd gear and too tight for 3rd.

up over the crest and change up to 3rd gear. keep it flat out and smooth thru the next left hander. just after u exit the corner the engine should be screaming for an upshift...change to 4th.

wait till u start to pass the dotted white lines and brake for the left hander hairpin (turn3). since u havnt reached anywhere near top speed, downshift instantly to 3rd gear....feel like u running straight off track, hook 2nd gear and then only turn in for the corner - extremely late apex.

exit that hairpin and set yourself up for the right hand hairpin of turn4. between the hairpins its too much of a bitch to shift up to 3rd gear and then downshift again. watch the revs and maintain just over 7100rpm...entry line is in the middle of the track since u're already down a gear and minimising chance of sum1 diving down the inside. dont brake for this corner....and barely lift off the throttle either.

here comes the 1st fun bit. exit turn4 but dont use all the road....u need to set urself up for turn5/6/7...get into the left kink as far left as possible and shift up to 3rd gear....still turning left even onto the escape road...then pick a turn-in point for be taken flat out u may have to use a bit of dust. turn7 is just a corner to gather urself from turn6, still flat out but dancing over the exit kerbs. ur body gets pretty banged up here with the quick direction changes

hectic entry into turn8 (left hander)...dont shift up to 4th gear and let her scream....the bumps will unsettle the car big time here, but just keep it straight...brake just after the gravel patch on the right and try turn in late, but quickly straighten up...keeping to the left. the entry into the next chicane is a bit further ahead, so even accelerate again before braking for the chicane

try take the chicane late, but cut it a bit so u bounce a bit on the dust and hop over the kerb basically....if u hit the kerb the wheel just flies in the air and car gets unsettled...2nd part of the chicane is pretty dusty, lots of cars running wide here and bringing dust onto the circuit....keep 3rd gear heading up onto the oval

the oval u enter flat out and stay high.....not too high, about 2/3rd's the way up....i have to lift off a little here, to get the car turned in a its freakn scary coz if u lose it here its pretty much game over with that concrete wall next to u. on new tyres the legend is that they take this flat out :/ this is where u start feeling ur arms ache...this left hander puts the most strain on ye body....touch the white line (which u not allowed to cross as its pit entry) and before u think u can really accelerate out, thats when u accelerate :P watch the barriers come closer closer closer but keep flat out.

shift to 4th gear and negotiate that little exit kink which leads back onto the main straight. cross the start/finish line.....lap record in a formula vee here is 1m15.7

Monday, February 19, 2007

Race1 - Wesbank Raceway [Part2 - Races]

Heat 1

i missed driver's briefing. oops. nobody freakn told me to go :P couldnt have been that important anyway rite...

yeeeeeeeee it was race time. no matter how glum things looked, this was my 1st race and it was gonna rock. i just wanted to have a cool dice with sum1, dance around the track, etc etc. been waiting for this my whole life ya know...

my noob teammies were nervous as hell. werent talking much, and were sitting there twiddling their thumbs staring into the distance. hmmmm. i just shrugged and got into the car to get lined up on the dummy grid. damn it was real hot at this point, sitting on the dummy grid waiting for the current race to finish, i was cooking in the car. i was trying to visualise what i'd do on the start line....i really didnt feel like crashing in the 1st corner, but i didnt wanna cruise too much as i'd get hit from behind....i'd never practised a pull-off before, but didnt think it would be too hard. it was just the braking point for the 1st corner HMMMM....tricky one. before i got time to get my mind set for the race itself, the marshall's whistle blew, green flag was waved and we were out on track....i thought we were gonna go out and grid up immediately, but we had a warmup lap....yay. i tried to get heat into my brakes as much as possible, the whole cold-brakes thing worried me...the warmup lap was medium paced...guys zig-zagging to warm up their tyres, getting heat under brakes etc etc....i just wanted to get to the grid and get going...

got to the right grid slot, i was well chuffed about that :P sitting there, i changed to 1st gear, held clutch in and maintained revs at around 3500rpm (advice from other drivers)...still wasnt nervous, was just concentrating on the lights. hadnt even thought what i was gonna do at the 1st corner lights on for an eternity....and then out. a huge roar as every1 pulled away...i got a good pulloff, not much wheelspin. i wasnt losing ground to anyone, but i was stuck on the outside...cruised into the braking zone, and it turned out that most around me did the same. got thru ok, and was just gonna concentrate on making it thru the 1st lap on cold tyres....dont crash just yet, zaahir.

end of lap1, and i was a few car lengths behind the guy in front of me....whatever position he was in. u dont know anything in a race, u just see cars around u and u just push :P i started pushing a bit, but was missing crucial gears....started dropping back, and everytime i recovered a bit, i missed another gear. james leach, veteran driver, overtook me in lap2 i think....i tried to hang on, attempted a pass into 1st corner....but missed 2nd gear. joke. i got repassed and then missed more gears. WTF?? this was a disaster, i kept going backwards....nobody around me, and i kept making errors with the downshifts...common noob error was to pull the lever from 3rd gear into 4th, instead of 3rd into 2nd...because u cant really feel where the lever is exactly, there is so much play....and i was doing this noob mistake almost every lap.

i didnt know how many laps there were in the race. i just knew i was losing ground all the time, and i was nowhere. it felt like a lapping session gone all wrong. before i knew it the race was over.

yup, over.

my arms were so damn sore, knees and elbows were bruised and purple from the usual bashings i get with all the chicanes and esses on the track.....eish. what a 1st race. nothing had happnd. was uneventful, frustrating, and over so damn soon that i thought it was red flagged. felt like 6laps of hell.

the race turned out to be 12laps....when i came back to the pits ppl were smiling, congratulating for, that was almost the most anti-climatic shit in my life. i wanted to at least have a battle with sum1, feel pressured, get into some hairy situations.....but hey, i gotta take what comes. its my 1st race and thats the story. a boring one. but at least i finished. guys were saying i did really well for sum1 who has never raced before, which was true i guess. i wasnt expecting the world, but i knew i couldve done better. few guys dropped out, i ended up finishing p13. points positions up to p12....i was so glad i didnt get a point, that was hardly a worthy drive for a championship point. wat was disappointing is that my car balance felt good. camber settings were nice, it was just a matter of clutch and i screwed it up all by myself.

courtney ended up getting tangled with sum1, he DNF'ed, and his wheel was screwed for the next heat. the upright for the swing arm was bent badly, the sideshafts were probably also fubar'ed but there was no time to fix it between heats. he was gonna hafta run with a funky wheel, just meant he was gonna have sum fun under braking :P little dean was raving abt his race, he seemed to have fun, battling with guys....dammit. looking at the timesheets, i drove Fastest Lap of 1m19.1....FL of the race was 15.9....little dean still going quicker, he managed 17.1....i was going backwards, i prayed for some fun in heat2.

Heat 2
God answered my prayers. this was by far the coolest fucking moment of my entire life. everything clicked, and i've never had so much fun EVER.

between the heats the heavens opened up and it really rained hard....shame for those porsche guys (i think it was) who were racing at the time. i was looking forward to a wet race, thinking back to last week's wet experience, but the track eventually dried out after other race classes ran on the track. oh well. wasnt this a worthless paragraph LMAO

sitting on the dummy grid i was nervous for the 1st time. 2nd race grid is determined from finishing positions of i was sitting p13, with faster guys behind me. thats wat made me nervous. again, whistle blown and green flag out before i could gather my thoughts. i distinctly remember sighing very deeply before pulling away. this was the last time i was gonna be at this track for a while, and everything had not quite lived up to the expectation i had of what was to be. it was time to change things, and i do remember letting go of absolutely everything. crashing the car, fucking up the gears. it was all gone. after this moment i cant quite remember my mindset, i think i was possessed or really focused :P it is seriously hazy.

i think i got a decent start, cant rem what i was doing on the start line. i was on the inside line so that was cool. wat was NOT cool was me missing 2nd gear on the FIRST CORNER OF THE RACE. everyone behind me cruised past. holy - fucking - shit.

i got angry.

thats when i started pushing like mad. hitting apexes everywhere, flying into the scary corners....ehhh i knew my car felt good from race1, and was really great to slide this thing. felt like i knew wat i was doing. and i was pissed off. but i channeled the anger. anthony commented to me after the race that he saw i was looking different on track, like i had the red mist or something, coz i was always tucking down in the car and looking very "grrr". must have been lol.

i was really concentrating on the gears and downshifts, and was getting them right. sort of right. got it a bit rough sometimes when i let the clutch out too quick and stuff...but it was ok. i was catching guys back up...bradley martin was having a bad misfire, so he had no engine grunt...james leach was behind him, and i caught the both of them at the oval...going round there i pushed hard so i could have some chance at slipstream down the straight....and woah it got interesting. a tiny bit of mika/zonta/michael thing happnd here lol....but not really. james pulled out of bradley on the inside, and i had a great run out the oval and was going to the outside....but there was concrete wall and a closing gap of bradley's car....i had to brake and wait for that split sec to see if brad had actually seen me. he left room so i got back on it again and crawled along the wall passed him....immediately into james' slipstream. had a nice battle with him...between the switchback hairpins, i always shut the door slowly on him nxt to me....i knew that he knew i was a noob, and could be unpredictable so he backed off. might as well use this card while im still new. missed couple gears so hadta defend him a few times, was cool. i was getting the braking sorta good now, not vibrating a lot and just about where the others are braking. james always gained on me in those zones tho, but i pulled away in the midfield....

this was the case with other drivers that i caught too....12laps was nothing, and i hadta get passed them fast...i braked well beyond wat i thought was could be done (which was probably the normal braking point lol), but managed to make it stick when i hooked the gears. driving in the slipstream was hot. i could feel the heat from the radiators thru the sidepods, got so unbearable at times that i had to tuck my arms and legs in, away from the heat....i had a nice battle with a lot of guys. had some close action with courtney, great wheel-to-wheel the end i pushed to try catch a couple guys still in view...i had just caught them, but the race was over...needed another lap or 2 :( ended up p12!!! the difference between my heats was night and day, but on the results it was one position :P eeiisshh but that was the most awesome experience ever, to be battling out with guys for position, strategising and pushing ye ass off, its just something i never felt before to this degree.....i was SO HAPPY. but i worked real arms were numb, and body was right royally banged up :/

looking at the timesheets it turned out i did 1m17.4 that race. WAT THE HELL. thats 1.5sec faster than i've been doing all weekend....and i still can gain more under just shows. mindset is what matters, screw everything else. i learned so much from this experience. SO MUCH. there is time to gain just about everywhere in the trickiest of places. the same principles of simracing are there....the racing lines, etc....but all those hundreds of small details i've discussed just make simracing insignificant in a way. there are too many variables, the consequences, the responsibility u have. the FUN. the adrenalin and rush of it all. i've never done sumin so incredible in my life, and im so glad i pushed so hard to fulfill my dream. all the work i've done towards it and time sacrificed and stress was ALL WORTH IT. the money. WORTH EVERY CENT. its certainly not a lot when u compare the money and politics involved in the higher forms of motorsport. im in little league compared to that stuff, but i wanted to know what it feels like. and it feels freakn AWESOME.

turns out this damn thing gonna be shown on tv on supersport :/ dammit, i knew i shouldve got a haircut b4 this race :P

next race is kyalami, march24 methinks....yeee baby :D but chatting to guys after this race, they told me with a straight face that wesbank is for little boys, and kyalami is for real men. and nobody laughed, just nodded. so, im in for sumin really fucked up on march 24th i am sure. cant wait.

Race1 - Wesbank Raceway [Part1 - Buildup]

i had a nice big fat breakfast before going to the track on saturday....because i knew i end up getting too tired from driving to eat properly at the track. what a big mistake that was :\ i dont know if it was nerves or what, i dont think so lol, i just ended up getting sick and thought i was gonna chunder any second. i managed to hold it down until the 1st session.

so everyone was there in full force....19cars. i was gonna be in the top20 woohoo :P people were so revved up to go....dean was keen (hey that rhymes), but u could see he was very nervous....courtney wasnt even there yet; he only arrived after the session and turned out they got lost :/ ok anyway, so it was time to go out and i just wanted to get a feel for the car again, warm up everything and get set to push like hell in the following went ok. cold tyres seemed interesting, sliding a lot and the brakes very cold....already started to dread the 1st lap of the race to come :D i was just revising that heel-toe stuff, and wasnt pushing. i still had nobody timing me so i had no clue what laptimes i am doing on this track.....dean had a new set of tyres on, as like everyone else i think. he reckoned they were a bit slippy, but when heat got into them he still wasnt sure if they felt faster than old tyres. thats good news!! :)

2nd session....mmmm i cant rem much of it, so it mustve been pretty uneventful. i think i was just pushing pushing as usual, and getting 2nd gear now much better....i still noticed i was getting destroyed by others into the big braking zones...ppl just cruised past me. was time to consult others abt it teammie courtney was now at the track, and he bedded his new set of tyres in.....weird, he instantly gained 0.7sec compared to the old set he was using last week (which were now on my car for this weekend)....hmmm, not so good news. dean also went around half a sec quicker, and he was happy with the grip levels of the new tyres....seeing as i cant afford a new set rite now its out of my hands...

after sitting around and discussing with ppl, it appears i was braking at least a good 50-100metres earlier than every1 :/ good grief. i sorta figured out the feet are a bit long, so the top was pushing against the steering column as i i thought i was getting full pressure when i actually wasnt. going out into the 3rd and final session before quali, it was official. i got meself a transponder so now i would know how slow i was really going eehehhe...i started getting the braking much better, now that i tilted my foot before a whole new ballgame. the entire car was shuddering under brakes. tyres bouncing a little i guess, its just the moment before locking up (or so i've heard from the comments in the pits). i could not see a fucking thing!! i'm sitting on the floor and fuel tank (coz with a seat i dont fit in the car), so its direct feedback. my helmet just got thundered around, and i couldnt see if i was stopping faster. required some practise....i was now getting the infield section right i thought, these set of esses were real tight but i was taking them flat out everytime...seems i gained some tenths on ppl there. i found sum1 to latch on again, was chasing down bradley martin, who had been out of racing for a while so we were sorta in the same boat in that session....was fun. still missed some gears which frustrated the hell outa me but was good. came outa the session to check laptimes, and turns out i did 1m18.9....leaders were 16.4 at that point, dean was on 17.6 and courtney it didnt look too bad. i felt if i got a good lap in, i could get was hoping for that in qualifying.

damn. every1 was lined up ready to go. i was told to stick in a pack in quali, coz slipstream makes a big difference, and u have incentive by chasing...everyone stormed off and i was still trying to start my car :P the starter motor wasnt catching, after a while i got it but was too late....i figured wat the hell, i wasnt gonna wait for them to come back past again, i'd just try get any decent lap in. it turns out i started using quali like a practise session. while i was driving i just felt i still needed to try new i was using different gears in corners, different lines...i did get a decent lap in, i thought it was 18.5 but when i came in it turned out to be 18.9...pole was 16.0....dean ended up on 17.5 (p7)...courtney had some problems with his car, only got 2laps in but got 18.6 (p13) i was pretty disappointed, as i knew it wasnt my full potential at that time. i was sitting p16 on the grid of 19cars....p10 was 1m18.3, so it was a very tight group....if i got 18.5 i wouldve been very happy, but hey its only qual so watever. it was a DAMN long day and was time to go home and rest.

sunday is here. came to the track and was feeling relaxed. i think being far back on the grid, there wasnt much expectation so didnt end up getting nervous. was gonna be a backmarker for the day!! but those that know me will know that i just cant accept being slow - in a freakn computer game tho. i was always trying to figure out where i was losing time...thinking of changing things with the car setup, but i couldnt be sure of how sensitive the changes would be, or if they would be correct at all. i wasnt even sure if i was pushing the car to its limits, nothing was certain. following drivers in the practise sessions, it seemed i was hanging onto them in the infield and oval just fine...maybe those guys i was following were just cruising back to the pits.....or was it only the brakes. but +3sec on brakes alone? didnt seem so, i was confused. losing time on braking is a pretty SHIT place to lose time. especially when u losing lots of it. on downshifts i was revving to just over 7000rpm, which was what others were doing, so cant be that....*shrug* i just accepted that i was slow :/ which was sad lol....

went out into the session, and the car was ALL OVER the place. it rained last nite so maybe there wasnt much grip. i didnt have ANY confidence going into the scary corners, coz those had now become disaster areas, push too hard and was definitely gonna crash....i came in and asked dean - dean nel, not driver dean....ok from now its big dean and little dean lol - yeh so i asked big dean wat the hell, i had no grip :/ he laughed and pointed to my tyres. wat the fuck. surely they cant be that was depressing when i looked at the timesheets. everyone had gone faster. fastest lap was now 15.9, little dean was on 17.3...courtney 18.3, and i drove a rocking 1m19.7...with my 2nd fastest lap a 20.5. OH DEAR. things were rapidly declining, and i didnt know WTF. so i conveyed my WTF sentiments to big dean, yet again, and he says he changed my rear camber. oh thanks for the update dude!!! :P he took camber off, coz i told him i was having bad understeer, so that change would take away understeer. well, it certainly did. undriveable with my tyres i think or the rest of the setup of my car...told him to put more camber, but not as much as i've had previously....we'll see what happens. i was unsure of how the car was gonna handle, didnt wanna change anything else on setup coz i didnt know what would happen, wasnt getting the gears perfect everytime, still felt i wasnt on limit consistently, was now slow enuff to be dead last, and the only remaining sessions were the heats :/

nice situation, zaahir, very nice.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Living the Dream...

ok so its race time.

i live in durban, so its quite difficult for me to keep travelling for the races. thanks to ajt for helping me out with storage and every damn thing u have done for me.....anyway, so i wont be getting any practise going to each race meeting. with my studies i have no time to travel inbetween races just to practise the track, i just gotta rock up there race weekend and figure shit out.

this weekend is the 1st race of the season at wesbank raceway. the itenary is a bit staggered, i think due to overflow of other categories with us at this meeting. practise day was on saturday 10feb, and practise and quali is this saturday 17feb, with the race (two heats) on sunday 18feb. i travelled up from durban and staying the week here in jo'burg so i could make that praccy day and the race too. missing a week of varsity but hey its my 1st race, sacrifices and priorities :P

that practise day was the best day of my life. until this sunday anyway ;) i wasnt nervous at all, just excited. everyday after that zwartkops run of mine, i was get back on track. and the time had come. any thought of crashing the car were gone. i couldnt give a shit anymore, time to trust myself and what i can do. i've seen a bit of an onboard camera shot of wesbank, and it looked quite technical!! its this bit of an oval circuit, with a damn long straight which breaks off into a tight midfield section. there were quite a few fvee guys here this time, getting things set for the race the next week. i wasnt the only noob there, there were 2 other they were 16yr olds, that just come out of karting. they both had a few more outings than me in their cars as well, but i couldnt care, none of us had seen wesbank. their names are dean and courtney.

it came time for the 1st 15min session....some guy offered to show us noobs the racing line for the 1st couple laps. yay, they went off and i was left trying to find 1st gear grrrr...the damn thing was stuck. oh well, who needed to know the racing line anyway. once i got away i put foot down the straight. immediate feeling was that i was gonna get sucked out the car and get thrown into the stands. aerodynamic forces were was logical not to overdo things into the corners....but i soon caught the noob-train. i dont know why that guy was going so slow, he mustve thought we were real idiots....i think dean got pissed off and overtook the "leader" lmao....courtney started moving his ass, i just thought i'd stick behind him, coz he knew more limits of the car than i did, so i would learn anything i was sure......1st couple laps i got annoyed. tried to get 2nd gear but failed i just used 3rd and 4th gear, coz i was definitely damaging that gearbox by trying.....some formula ford guy abandoned his car in the tight stuff, so they red-flagged the session (formula ford guys out with us coz its a 'single seater'session)....i followed courtney into the pit entry....which was highly fuckn confusing. he ended up taking the wrong entry, we ended on the other side of the pits hhahahaha....oh well, we found our way back sumhow.

dean nel (not noob karter dean) was helping me out prepping the car....and thats when i found out why i was grinding the damn gears....he told me i wasnt using heel and toe!!! SHIT....i dreaded that thing...heard abt it, and it sounds fucked. so i decided to stay in 3rd/4th gear while i learned the track. nxt session i pushed hard. i got the right shoes, so my foot wasnt catching on the steering column anymore. i came so close to putting it into the wall a couple times, car just got out of shape going into this one chicane....managed to collect it. tried it again nxt lap and almost threw it off again....3rd lap i managed to get it stable. going into the hairpins i tried some racing lines i'd learned in games....hey i think it worked. the sliding was almost the same to the FormulaBMW mod of rFactor (for any1 who's played that) and felt comfy. almost spun off in the hairpins couple times trying to get that sliding line down, but it felt like a computer game really lol....when i came in, dean said he followed me thru there and learned sum things. so i guess thats simracers 1point, karters 1point? hehe. a private joke for the simracers with momo wheel: i caught a huge slide, and the steering wheel was still pointing straight HAHAHA i had a good laugh abt that in the cockpit. no fps problems either :P

getting that heel-toe thing down was hard. i practised doing it going from 4th to 3rd gear first, coz those dont grind. once i got the feeling, then i tried going into 2nd gear....still not perfect, but i managed to hook it. im def losing seconds in the braking zones coz of this, i'll hafta get used to it laptimes, i had nobody to time me. championship winner alan holm rocked the track in 1m16.9......dean ended up on 18.5 and courtney 19.3 or something....i mustve been 21's, who knows. i'll see with official timing this weekend. but i was really pushing, and felt comfortable catching the car when shit got out of was fun to push, i had other drivers to gauge myself against, and that whole zwartkops thing was just pansy. im liking that oval bit, every1 seems scared of that thing, coz if u lose it there then theres no coming back....its just concrete wall.

in the 4th and final session, it started to rain. oohhh my eyes lit up :D i tell u, i've never had so much fun that day and looked like it was only getting better....raindrops streaming off ur visor, car was sliding everywhere. car has natural understeer already, and in the wet its just terrible....then u put the power and it tries to swap what a challenge, i loved it. every1 else was just cruising, i guess they didnt wanna crash....i felt comfy on that "limit" (im sure i wasnt going that fast)...things dried out quickly tho :( i found some guy my pace who i was trying to race. it was very cool, i gained on him in that infield bit, but every 2nd gear braking zone he gained a lot....i just suck at that heel-toe shit lol...down the straight i felt slipstream for the 1st time. not that satisfying, coz i think he had more power than me...i hadta stick in his slipstream just to keep up!! but after 3laps i got my 1st overtaking move ever ahahhahaha....into the 1st corner...after which i noticed his wheel was wobbly :/ i tried to wave him down, but he kept pushing....after 2laps the thing just shredded and his wheel was totalled....shame man.

the next day i could barely walk. i was so bruised and exhausted.....ah felt good.

ok so i gotta learn to stop talking so much. this is way too long geez....but i havnt really talked abt much :/ race coming sunday, i CANT WAIT. i wanna practise a few different lines, get heel-toe better, try some car setup, and just generally have FUN :D wont have new tyres like every1 else, but its ok. i am so amped to push my fucking arse off. really. the time has come...

First post, first experience

elo der.

okee so the blog diary thingy has begun. my name's zaahir, and thought i'd wanna start thinking aloud hehe. yay :/

aweh so i'm 22, a mechanical engineering student at university of kzn, and i enjoy listening to and playing music (guitar), drawing, art, and MOTORSPORT. i luuuv racing, is the only thing worth loving without ending up getting hurt :P emotionally, anyway. starting this blog mainly for racing...for now.

i have been quenching that thirst by playing computer games: sim-racing. this year i have finally scraped JUST enuff cash 2 get my real racing going. starting formula vee, openwheeler/single seater formula existing to be affordable compared to other formulae, and i've been very lucky to meet and mix with the right people in fvee, as i wouldnt have been able to afford certain things and entire races of the season...but that now looks possible. thanks anthony ;) i'm definitely not starting to make a career out of this, logistics and my age make that impossible; im saying this coz i keep getting asked when im getting to formula1 HAHAHHAA....idiots.

the only experience i do have is computer games. that is some computer programmer who fudged some code to make u THINK it handles like real life. is it like real life at all? of course not. i have not done competitive karting (rentals dont count!!) or any competition race car driving, so am i at a disadvantage.....? geez i hate it when i get asked how many races i've won. WTF i havnt even started yet LOL and it will take a LOT of money, experience, a better car, and most probably a lot more skill than i have right now to pull off anything CLOSE to a win :/

okay. so 1st time in a race car. december 2006. fuck i was nervous. i was just scared of crashing the thing, anything i'd learned in games was probably fake, how could i trust any feelings i've developed with that. sure it may be similar, but its gotta be exact if you want to make it out the 1st corner of zwartkops alive while pushing hard. the 1st feeling was just incredible happiness. God knows how long i've been waiting for this moment, the acceleration is incredible, the beating ur body takes is just cool. when u're done battered and bruised, u get a sense of accomplishment. ehhhh after the raw feelings of driving this single seater around, i started to think abt sliding the car, getting my clutch/gear shifting smooth, just generally getting to know my new pablo honey. i definitely wasnt pushing hard at all, i cannot afford ANY repairs at the moment. so i looked like a total NOOB just crawling around the track. meh, who cares. i didnt crash hehehe.....struggled to get 2nd gear, in fact didnt get it at all. its a 4-speed beetle gearbox, i'm way too tall for the car (took the seat out, sat on the floor and fuel tank so i could drive the thing) so i thought my leg was getting in the way while trying to select 2nd gear. the 2nd corner of zwartkops is a hairpin, so u need 2nd gear for that corner....the fucking thing was just grinding, ended up going thru there in neutral everytime :P i was the only fvee driver there at this track day, so i didnt have anybody to consult about the probem....but watever, i had other things to learn abt the car still. i wasnt confident at driving at high speeds and on the limit. i certainly dont do this sort of thing on public roads. so, 1point to karters, 0points to simracers.

i only managed to get out for 2x15min sessions, so there was not much i could learn. especially with the mentality that i needed to NOT CRASH. in every braking zone i couldnt be on the limit, coz my shoes were too big, my foot kept catching on the steering column when moving from acc pedal to brake pedal....not cool. eehhh but zwartkops is a nice track!!! 1st corner is scary. 2nd corner is a bitch (coz that DAMN 2nd gear), the sweep is just a thing to get you to 200kph (apparently), 3rd corner takes a bit of bravery coz not much of a braking zone. the rest of the track was tight stuff, is the only place i felt confident to throw the car around to see what would happen.....i ended up on 1m16.0 i think it was, which is pretty disgusting. the lap record is 1m10.1.....but considering i was taking the 2nd corner in neutral, chilling out in all the braking zones and fast didnt seem SO bad. my aim should be to get 2-3sec from the leaders i PRAY. oldish car, old tyres, and im a total noob. so the day was just a basic "get to know the car" and "seal the deal" as i was testing it to see if i wanted to buy it. it is a good solid car, it is not a race winner right now for sure, but will get me going.