May 14, 2007

Speaking of driver's schools...

Our track-tard UK friends over at have just released their latest masterpiece to wide critical acclaim and shock.
"A Distinct Lack of Talent" opens with a spectacular JustGoHome moment and just spirals from there. It's great fun, Axis Approved!


To get serious for a moment, two issues come up with regards to the recent BMW school we attended.
Rather than the traditional hand signals for passing, using turn signals was tried, most hated it. I didn't mind at all mostly because, if done right, one could indicate willingness to be passed (for example) before turns are over without taking a hand off the wheel and almost crashing (don't laugh, I have seen this a number of times!).
I wonder if a lot of the confusion and discomfort was because people were asked to signal the side they wanted to be passed on rather than the side of the track they would stay on during the pass. The natural instinct, I suppose it to signal left, stay left. I noticed that is what they must do over in the UK.

The second issue is spins... spins are good, ideally everyone would experience spins, in fact there SHOULD be spin out exercises at all driver's schools. Most people have never spun and are both terrified to do so and clueless as to what to do if it happens. Once you know what a spin feels like you are much more likely to recognize the impending problem early enough to do something about it.
Sadly most of the tracks we have, especially here in the North East, are super fast and with very little run off. Look at the aerodrome track on the video...huge space and moderate speed: a big autocross. A very good place to get it all wrong and to learn how to keep it shiny!


  1. The turn signals were fine - but the main problem with them is not in higher run groups where people are "mostly" comfortable with traffic and capable of reasonable decision making.

    I was instructing newbies - and when you want to control how many cars you let by it is difficult to say "EXACTLY TWO" with a blinker. Especially for Corvette guys who blink 3x for every single tap.

    So... for experienced folk who are solo, no biggie either way - for learning the finite control is more comforting in an already overwhelmed cockpit.

  2. Every new BMW is also equipped with the 3-flash feature. However, I don't think it presents a problem. I think that if you've been caught by 3 cars, you shouldn't let only 2 of them pass. You should just move over and let all 3 pass.

  3. I agree with badbadm...

    but my point is that the signalling was being used ass backwards. In the UK and at the Nurburgring they use the "i'm signalling right because I'm staying right" method. Although at the ring you are theoretically only supposed to pass on the left.

  4. Track days in the UK generally have a only pass on one side (normally the left), only pass on the straights rule, during the drivers briefing it'll be stated which side you will be expected to overtake on that day. The indicators are just a polite thing, otherwise us brits would just end up queueing behind each other ;)

  5. I agree that many folks are afraid of The Spin. Fortunately, I learned not to be too afraid at Shannonville, where there is very little to hit.

    Once I made the transition to gravel though, the spin brings up a whole new set of fears. There are no walls, only trees. My first rally spin was at 80 mph as a co-driver. Just a tiny bit on the scary side!

  6. I agree with the original post that signalling where you want to be passed on is bass-ackwards. On the road people signal where they're going not where they want someone to go, so makes sense to do the same on track.

  7. this video blows my mind. watching their lines is frightening. do they even have instructors?

  8. C'mon...those guys are highly trained professionals and I believe all graduates of the Knockhill Hot Hatch Night driving school! :o)


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