Conflicting Inputs

Any serious driver worth his / her salt must be able to cope with this. Unfortunately, this is something that requires talent, experience and intelligence. When the car is on the edge of its performance envelope, the racecar driver must be able to mentally separate these two conflicting inputs.

There are ways of mitigating this. The first is to add lots of caster, which gives you a lot of trail and masks the self-aligning torque. However, it also adds significant cross weight. For some cars, this is a good thing, and V8 Supercars are a classic example of this. However, in some cars this is undesirable.

There is a silver lining to all this. As the self-aligning torque starts to decrease, it is telling the driver directly that he is right in the pocket of developing grip for the tyre. He just needs to have the men:al ability to separate what is going on at the scat from what the steering wheel is telling him. The really good drivers are finely attuned to this and it is one of the telltale signs of which drivers you should be signing up.

The question that has to be asked is whether driving a racecar on the limit is more difficult than flying an aircraft on the limit. The answer is no, it's simply different for reasons I'm not going to go into here.

In closing, beirg able to drive a car on the limit is a difficult activity. The thing that makes it so tricky is that you have the effects of self-aligning torque counteracting what the driver feels in the seat. The difficulty comes from the fact that as the forces and moments applied to the car reach their maximum torque in, the steering wheel drops off due to the self-aligning torque. Unfortunately, there are no ways easily to mitigate this, so it is something racecar drivers simply have to make their peace with. The silver lining to all this is that the good drivers can use the drop off in self-aligning torque to sense what the car is truly capable of.



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