Track notes for Thunderhill

Raw notes on Thunderhill after NASA weekend 03-02-22-23 These should be compared and contrasted with my old track description of Thunderhill

everyplace: Am getting nervous and am anticipating my reference marks. Braking too early turning down to early. I spent a session working on braking in a straight line at the edge of the track and not "cheating" my turndown. This helped a lot. I then spent a session working on waiting unitl the turndown marker and doing a quick clean turndown. This also helped a lot. My consistency is lousy. A lot of that has to do with doing exercises like the above, a lot has to do with learning what it's like to drive a car with more power than I'm used to, and a lot of it is because I'm driving like I haven't been on a racetrack for a year and a half.

Getting into dices with other drivers really helped me push myself. My fastest lap was when I was trying to catch a Z car that had just passed me, and he was only gaining a second or two a lap on me, and I'd gain on him through some of the turns.

I need to mount a camera in the car with a mike that attaches to my helmet so that I can "take notes" while driving. My memory sucks trying to remember details on a three mile track after the session.

There are lots of helpful squares painted on pavement and reflective tabs on the edge of the track.

My braking points kept changing over the weekend. As I gained confidence they'd move up, as I carried more speed down the straight, they'd move back.

note: various organizations have different rules about crossing the white line at the pit exit. Thiss will affect the line into the turn.

I have problems here as the speed scares me. I'm now hitting 6000 rpm in fourth before braking. If my tach isn't lying this is about 105mph. This fear causes me to do something very bad, not brake in a straight line parallel to the edge of the track. I'm worried about the turn and start cheating my turn in early.

I've been using the second line across the pit exit (perpendicular to direction of travel) as my braking marker.

There are a set of turndown markers on the right edge of the pavement. They are very easy to miss at anything over a 2:40 lap. I didn't even see the first three until late in the weekend. The last one seems to be a good turndown marker.

I think I still slow down more than I need for entrance to 1.

Getting on the power does help stabilize the car.

Stiffer shocks would also be nice.


I spent most of the weekend braking harder than I need to for the entrance to 2.

Brake at pavement change (stains?) Turn down at reflector.

More banking on inside, work my way down.

With an open rear end I can't get much of my power to the ground. Applying too much often caused the tail to start to come out.

Exit all the way to the berm.


I tried entering turn three on the inside. I didn't like it, too much off camber on the inside at the entrance.

There's a yellow square about 1/3 of the way in from the left edge of the track. Sometimes I hit it with my left wheels, sometimes my right, sometimes I went over it with the middle of the car.

I usually hit the second yellow square with my left wheels.

The trick still seems to be to exit the turn on the right side of the track, lined up with the edge on the straight and wait until the car settles before turning down.

When carrying good speed off of three, and settled well on the right side of the track, I can pitch the car nicely around 4, with the slide stopping right about the time the car is aimed straight down the track. Don't know if it's fast, but it's fun.

I'm no longer taking this flat out. I need to work up to my newfound power.


Really ought to pay more attention to the flagger way up in the crowsnest.

Go up the hill on the left side.

Get the car straight and settled.

About a car length from the blind crest, turn down and aim for the apex that you can't see over the hill. The hill is banked to the left at the top, and if I go over it straight, at speed, my left tire launches, and the car gets upset when it lands about halfway down the back. Going over the top while turning helps keep the left rear wheel on the ground.

I don't think I'm quite going over this flat out. There were several times I was chasing someone and told my right foot to stay on the floor, but it wouldn't listen to me, the coward.


This is fun with the extra power. A little too much and the rear end can get loose. My speed can really carry me out to the outside of the track.


My old nemesis. I don't even contemplate taking it flat any more. It used to be a goal, but I have more power than traction now. I did get back to only lifting for it. Here's another one that if I can pitch the car a bit it feels like I can get the car rotated faster, aimed down the straight and on the gas sooner, which helps settle the car.

I can't consciously say what I'm using for a turndown marker. I think it's a change in pavement color.

Apex at "the point" of the berm.

I never actually came close to putting two wheels off at the exit, so I'm probably entering this turn too slow.

Don't forget to apex the kink so as not to scrub off speed.

I need to work on being consistent here. Conscious reference markers would help.


Flat out. It's scary but doable. Haven't yet had to slow down to keep all four wheels on the track at the exit. At end of the day was carrying 5500 rpm in fourth up the hill.

No conscious turndown marker, turning down when it looks right, which is about when my fright notches from 8 to 9.


There's a pavement change that arcs across the track at the entrance from the right to the left. Earlier in the weekend I was braking when my right wheels crossed the pavement change, but as I started carrying more speed, I braked a little early.

This is a place I need to work on braking in a straight line and not cheating my turndown.

Turn down at about the point my left front wheel crosses the pavement change, aim for hitting the end of the berm with my left tires.

Cross the top of the hill with the right tires in the middle of the track, aimed to put the right tires on the right edge of the track at the "apex" over the blind hill.

TURN 10:
My new nemesis.

The little blind crest before the turndown weirds me out. I had lots of problems cheating my turndown here.

I still don't know what a good braking marker is for this turn. I think that it is a bit before the crest of the rise, possibly after the dark spots on the pavement.

Again, I don't have a good turndown marker either. I look through the apex at the exit and when it looks right, I go for it.

This turn was a place I much needed to practice both not cheating my turndown and getting a good fast clean turndown.

Once I'm going to make the apex, I should be back on the power.

Take this in fourth.

TURN 11:
I'm certain I'd be able to do this turn faster if I pitched the car sideways better, but I'm going too slow.

I brake at the pavement change and turn down at the reflector.

Downshift to third.

Got to work at getting the car rotated, turning down while still braking helps. Hitting the berm with the rear wheel can get the rear end thrown around too.

TURN 12:
Use all of the berm, straighten the line out.

TURN 13:
(onto back straight) Use all of the berm, straighten the line out. Use all of track at exit so as not to scrub off speed by turning.

TURN 14:
There is one reflector, a big gap, then the rest of them:

          ^            brake at the second reflector.
                   ^   off the brakes and turn down at the last one.

I was blowing my timing on my double clutch downshift to third. I don't know why, I was just spastic and dumping the clutch between blips on the throttle.

Aim for the tire marks on the inside of the berm at the apex.

My speed kept taking me to the outside berm and into the dirt at the end of the berm. Oops.

TURN 15:
It's easy to miss the flagger on the right before the apex.

Hitting the apex hard is good for two wheels in the air.

I'm hitting 5500-6000 by the end of the berm at the exit.

Larry Colen

Copyright (C) 2003 Larry Colen
Most recently modified by lrc at Mon Jul 14 00:38:30 PDT 2003