- JCNA Slalom Forum -

Slaloming Tips

Gary Hagopian
Jaguar Association of New England *

forum user since 2002-11-05

 



In a recent e-mail from Steve Averill, I was asked if I thought if new or upgraded shocks might trim a half of a second off his time in an XJS. My answer was that I doubted it.

His question prompted me to thinking about those items about which I felt would be significant in trimming one's slalom time, so I came up with the following. Assuming a stock vehicle, here are the items I believe affect "run time" most significantly, and in their order of importance.

1. Practice
2. The "line" one drives
3. Avoiding "coasting"
4. Utilizing "left foot braking"
5. Tire pressures (higher than street pressure for tall, and lower than street pressure for low profile)
6. Accelerating through the last turn to within 10 feet of the finish line. (5 feet really)

These require that nothing be done to your car. Concentration on the above will result in the most gain. If still not satisfied:

1. Adjust wheel camber (negative is good, positive, bad)
2. Poly bushings
3. Heavy sway bar
4. Utilize widest rims and tires with lowest allowable treadwear rating, allowable in your class.

Unfortunately this group of suggestions won't produce results eequivalent to those of the first!!! In both cases, I'm expecting your'll lock the car on "low" or first gear, and move smartly away from the starting line.

You may agree, disagree, add, or delete items which do not pertain to you or your car, but this list is a good place to start and may provide
"grist" for slalom forum discussion. Comments?

Gary Hagopian, 1963 E-type FHC
Class H - 39.76 current 2003 best time.


Re.: Slaloming Tips

Paul Delatush
Jaguar Auto Group *

forum user since 2003-03-13

 



Gary,

Would you like to expound on left foot braking? Where do you do this in relationship to the corners? Is this done in conjunction with trail braking? I assume you use left foot braking to keep the revs up as you come off braking- this this correct?

Anything that will trim off some time is worth trying.

-Regards,
Paul


Re.: Slaloming Tips

Gary Hagopian
Jaguar Association of New England *

forum user since 2002-11-05

 


To Paul Delatush:

I probably spend too much time thinking about ways to reduce my slalom time, but it seems that it's paid off, since I ran in 38.92 in the JANE slalom last weekend.
I think that the most improvement can be gained from improving the launch, and the hourglass, since those are the slowest phases of the competition. I'm now launching at 2500 RPM to keep the engine in its power band till the tires hook up, at which time, I put the pedal DOWN. This engine speed will vary, depending on your tires.
Then, I try to turn in close to the cone beginning the hourglas, and skim the center cone, making my track as straight as possible. At the far end, I turn in wide, after braking slightly with my left foot, just enough to transfer the weight to the outside front wheel to improve traction. I come out of the turn at the far end, close to the cone, and repeat what I did on the first half. Yes, you brake to slow down some, but more important is the weight transfer to the outside wheel. The amount of available turning force is proportional to the weight on the front outside wheel. By braking a little early, you get the weight transferred and can actually accelerate around the turn. This applies to the following laps, but is most important on the first.
I find that Imy worst turn is the left hander of the figure eight. I usually have to slow too much to avoid hitting the end cone. To improve, I've now taken a line across the fig 8 that allows me to get parallel to the center line, before starting into the left hander. Now, the left hander requires fewer degrees of steering wheel rotation to accomplish the turn, and I can carry more speed around the turn. On the oval, brake as I explained before, to carry more speed, and DON'T turn the straightaway into another mini-hourglas, like so many do!
The left foot braking technique simplyavoids the time delay in moving your foot. Taken to the max, you lift the right foot only enough toallow the brake to slow and transfer the weight.
These techniques, plus tires and lotsa HP, have helped me chip away at my time.
I would highly recommend your finding a larger lot with a better surface than that of the Jag Headquarters. I doubt that I could ever break 40 sec on that surface
C'mon up to a JANE slalom, where we have found a couple of very good sites, and would love to entertain your group.
Regards,
Gary

Re.: Slaloming Tips

Steve Weinstein
Jaguar Touring Club *

forum user since 2002-11-13

 

Gary,

Thanks for sharing these great tips on improving slalom performance with the entire JCNA community. This year has seen a tremendous upswing in slalom participation around the country. You, Art and the other speedsters out there keep this exciting for all of us. Hopefully, times in all the classes will keep getting faster and the competition keener.

I'm going to keep a sharp eye on the calendar next year and really make an effort to get up to the JANE slaloms. The biggest single problem these days is finding a good lot to run on, as demonstrated by the Florida club's recent cancellation of their slalom because of no lot. If you have a good one, I'll be there! Hopefully, JTC and JAG can find a good location to run ours next year.

Steve Weinstein, JTC-NJ
JCNA Slalom Committee Chairman
JTC Slalom Chair
'72 E-type 2+2
'70 XKE FHC

p.s. The one tip I can share, especially with drivers with less experience, is to keep your eyes up and look ahead. We naturally tend to look down at the closest cone until we get there. You need to be looking ahead to the next turn or place you want to be, not where you are. You will go where you are looking, and if you look at the cone you are passing, you will most likely hit it. So keep your eyes moving ahead. That's a suggestion that was made early on to me, and it helped me improve my times dramatically.

Re.: Slaloming Tips

Paul Delatush
Jaguar Auto Group *

forum user since 2003-03-13

 


Now that the season is over, and especially for those of us in the northern country with the car is put away for the season, there is not much going on slalom-wise. Actually that is not true. In following up on Gary's recommandations, I've recently picked up "Secrets of Solo Racing" by Henry A.Watts.

The book covers Solo (Slalom) and Time Trialing (HPDE) at the beginners though advanced levels. This is not a book review. The point that I would like to make is that most of us spend many hours and $$ on the car, but little on the driver. Here's an inexpensive way to improve one's driving ability. Another book that I just pulled down from my library is Bob Bondurant's High Speed Driving. I'll give that a read this weekend.

For those of us going to the Empire Club event at Limerock Park, pick up a copy of Skip Barber's Video "Going Faster". It was shot at Limerock, with some great in-car track sessions discribing the track, the apexs, and passing zones. For those new to Limerock, this is a great leg up on learning the track, rather than going there blind and expecting to learn everything in a one morning session.

Invest in the driver. You'll get more "bang for the buck".

-Paul Delatush
Jaguar Auto Group









Re.: Slaloming Tips

Steve Weinstein
Jaguar Touring Club *

forum user since 2002-11-13

 

Paul,

You make an excellent point. There's an old saying: "It's not the arrow, it's the archer." All the fancy gear means nothing, if you don't know what you are doing behind the wheel. Obviously, there are certain things that do effect the performance of the car a lot in slalom, like tires. But you'll never be able to push the envelope and get the most out of your car if you don't understand the basics of high performance driving.

No one needs to go out and invest in racing school to be competitive in JCNA slalom. But the more you understand how cars handle, why they do what they do, and how best to control them and use their handling characteristics to perform better, the better your chances of going fast, whether in a slalom, autocross or on the track.

Steve Weinstein, JTC-NJ
JCNA Slalom Committee Chairman
'72 E-type 2+2
'70 XKE FHC

P.S. I have the "Secrets of Solo" book. Can I borrow your other books and video over the winter?