Saturday, December 10, 2011

Regarding corners

My discovery of high-end online auto racing came at a very opportune time as I find myself inexorably drifting towards the hostile shores of Boredom Island as I impatiently await the arrival of the RV-12 engine kit. It helps too that I've had some measure of success at it, with the most recent victory surpassing the first in terms of both excitement and satisfaction. The satisfaction comes not only from winning the race but also in no small measure from the fact that this is the first race I've won that didn't require cars in front of me on the track to wreck or spin out. In other words, this was the first race that I won completely on my own merits.

I am the 1%.

The excitement came in the last six laps of the twenty-five lap race. I qualified second, but the pole winner was positioned on the outside of turn one. All I needed was a good enough start to get up next to him and I'd beat him into the first turn and grab the lead. And that is exactly what happened. The next nineteen laps were simply a matter of keeping him a second or so behind me, and as pulse-pounding as those laps were, they were nothing as compared to the finish of the race.

On the nineteenth lap, the guy that had been pushing me from the start must have had a momentary bobble because he was suddenly more than four seconds behind me. Having held him off for more than a dozen laps with him as close as a tenth of a second behind me, I figured it should be a simple matter to cruise through the final six laps to an easy win. I figured that the only things that could derail my victory would be a horrible choke on my part, or an unfortunate encounter with a back marker.

And, as we've all come to expect, merely thinking it was enough to instantiate it. I believe it was only one lap later when a back marker spun right at the apex of a hairpin turn. I can around the turn and plowed right into him. With my nearest competitor only four seconds behind me, there was no time for niceties - I just kept banging on his car until I moved it out of my way. That took just long enough for a car to get caught up with me and pass me as I pushed too hard into the next turn. I resigned myself to a second place finish, but within a lap I had found a weakness in his lap; he was slow into the last turn before the long straight. I leveraged that weakness on the very next lap, but he aggressively moved to block me. Rather than simply fall in line behind him, I braked late and remained on the outside line into the turn at the end of the straight, which allowed me to get up next to him on the inside of the next turn.

All went well for one lap, but on the next lap he got his nose inside of my left rear quarter panel. I couldn't see him there, and by rights he should have dropped back as we entered the turn, but he didn't do so. As I entered the turn, he clipped me and spun me at the apex of the same turn the back marker had balked me in. Luckily, as I spun right in front of him, he tagged me on my left front and turned my car back to the direction I needed to go. Perhaps self-servingly, I took his aggression as a tacit permission to race him a little more roughly than I might normally have done. This amounted to nothing more than a couple bumps against him as I passed him two laps later. After that, it was just a matter of surviving the last two laps.

There. Now that I've provided the narrative, you can see it for yourself in the recording that I made of the race. Note that eighteen of the first nineteen laps have been excised - they'd be pretty boring to watch.

I haven't been completely remiss in my RV-12 work. Here too I concentrated on curves: I sanded down the curved areas on the canopy fairing.

No comments:

Post a Comment