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|31st May 2007, 11:51||#1|
A Day Out At The Kari Motor Speedway and A Couple of Bhpians !
It all began here. Thanks to RT.
With help from my buddies v1p3r, psycho, memo45_m, binz finally I made up my mind to attend the Shoot Out program. And they went beyond just helping me make up my mind. Thanks a ton fellas.
Was in for a shock when I figured there were no train or bus tickets available to coimby and I was financially incapable of driving down all by myself. Alas came to my rescue another Bhpian Harrie who had driven down in a getz to get it psyched. He had to return back to coimby with another friend of his Charen. So we decided to go by my car, besides at some point I had to drive her to coimby for some work. Surprise will be out shortly .
So, we left only to reach Empire Shivajinagar to feed an always hungry v1p3r and his partner. Yes, yours truely. Then off to memo's house to pick up some stuff and off to coimby we were at 6:45 amidst pouring rain. Bad wipers and no AC meant driving slow. Even more so frustrating when the Neova's are gripping like mad but you cant see the road. And then the road cleared up and we were doing some decent speeds ranging from 100-120.
We enter Tamil Nadu, only to be greeted by some really bad stretch for about 30kms. By now I am beginning to wonder that I should have listened to the v1p3r that I should have swapped to other tires and not risk damaging the AD07's. But alas, the roads bettered. And I could stretch my legs a little. The drive through Satyamangalam ghats was nice. And then there is one corner that catches you unaware. Really.
Reached Tirpur at about 2:30 dropped my baleno off with harrie and off the two of us (charen and myself) went in the Palio GTX to coimby. Got myself into Cosmopolitan Club and went to drop Charen home. Being brilliant with directions that I am got lost for almost an hour with cell phone battery dead. Finally found a guy who was kind enough to direct me to the right place. Took rest and off I was to the track the next day with Charen in his W123.
The road leading to the track is filled with sharp corners leading to another. Locals use this to prepare their mind and body before getting onto track I am told. Doing 170 on a W123 300d was just as scary for me, moresoever when you are sitting passenger with a guy whom you have never seen driving before . It handles beautifully that car. And makes its presence felt. Actually tadu or steer should be driving the car. Even the truck, bus and cab drivers will run for their lives.
Enter Kari Motor Speedway. Meet up with Narain's ex-manager who tells us what was the motive behind the selection committee etc. Then we entered the workshop area. This is what we saw:
A floor space huge enough to park atleast 100+ single seaters. LGB swift, hyundai, Rolon Chevy's the works.
Chevy Rolon's, a work of art minus the delicate gearboxes:
Track zen's with esteem engines:
Gaurav Gill's Car :
Vijay Mallya's Fiat Modded in UK catching dust:
Suspension being setup on the single seaters I guess:
And then I decided to walk on the track and off it when the testing was on. Here are a few pics, of the corners. Though not many, most of the corners are pretty tight and slow. Atleast two corners that take time getting used to. Anyways here are the pics:
The main straight:
C1. Sharp right hander. Full throttle till 100mtrs mark, brake hard, blip shift to 3rd, blip shift to 2nd. On the throttle, touch the apex and off you are. Well not quite actually, because C2 is really a tight corner.
Pic of C1:
C2. A continuation of C1. Slow right hander leads into an immediate fast "S". Its important to get the line right from the main straight. Small mistake could mean loss of speed on both corners.
Pic of C2:
C2 leading to the "S":
C3. Another fast "S". If you dont get this right you will surely end up in the wall. Just like 5 other did in those few hours.
C4. A medium left hander, leading to a longish mini straight.
Once out of C4 flat out for a couple of seconds, before you downshift to 2nd from 3rd for what could be one of the slowest corners. Yet another "S".
Once you get out of C5 its a long right hander flat out until you reach the most challenging curve C6. A right handed parabolica kind of a curve. Goes on and on and on and before you know you have missed the apex.
Back onto the main straight, flat out till C1 again.
Its 6pm now. We get back into the car and head back home. Then to a dinner with quicksilver and friends. Nice day out, with only more fun to come on sunday.
Will put up the details of the Shoot Out program shortly. Need a break.
|31st May 2007, 12:18||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked: 37 Times
Well done Rahul. I like your spirit. Good Luck!
Nice writeup and Pics. You took us around the Kari Speedway just like Steve Slater does on raceday or when Jeremy Clarkson is testing an exotic on a track.
Take your break and let us know how your Shoot Out Program went?
|31st May 2007, 12:40||#3|
Slept at 4:30 only praying that we wake up on time. I did, surprisingly paras did too. But only after I called him at 6:30am. Paras must have abused me after he hung up I am sure. Reporting time 8am. After a quick breakfast charen and myself head to pick up paras and off to the track. On the way cursing the railway gate where we got stuck for over 20mins. Time now is 8:30. Bad start, not a good way to go to selection camp certainly not 40mins late.
But we are in India. Here nothing starts on time . Thank heavens for that. Well Akbar and co got to businees at around 10am. And the theory session began. We were given some insight into how Gemini TV had come into racing, the motive of the program, the criteria for selection etc. And soon after we were introduced to the judges, the hosts, the mechs and the track officials.
And then all relatives and parents of drivers were asked to leave the pit premises. And Akbar Ebrahim (AE from now on) began the session explaining the vital points. Let me see if I can reproduce what he thought us.
1. Mindset - One has to be strong. Focus is the key. Also one had to be sure that they knew what they had come for. For a professional training camp and selection. Not to fool around just because one could throw away money.
2. The warning - We were asked to respect the cars and treat them well. They were someone else's property. Kind enough to rent it out to novices like us. You damage you pay. If not we were asked to walk out right now. None of us did.
3. Lines - Explained to us the track layout with gearing. The lines, how the general agenda is outside to inside to outside. How not to overcook the corner, but a slow entry and a faster exit is the way to do it.
4. Acceleration - Important point is to be gentle and smooth on the throttle. Entry to a corner needs gradual acceleration with max throttle midway or exiting a corner rather than go off and on and off and on the throttle through the turn. Quite simply put, once you get on the throttle you are never to go off it.
5. Shifting- We were asked to learn to blip before shifting. So when you are coming close to a corner, brake, heel n toe blip throttle, clutch and shift. If not just shifting without blipping would mean loss of revvs under shifting, excessive load to diff and hence sudden lock up upsetting the balance and weight transfer. Eventually meaning a spin out. So close to the ground, specially off the track and onto the chicanes means quite a few injuries that could have lot many more repercussions on your non-sporty life too .
6. Braking - Quite contrary to the technique we were thought on our road cars. Engine braking is not everything. These cars have brakes and they are meant to be used for that. Brake. We were asked to go as hard on the brakes as possible. Shifting is only to keep on the right gear to accelerate out of the corner. Also there is a technique to braking. Often what most people tend to do is brake little in the beginning and as they approach the corner brake harder. Isnt it the right way? NO! You ought to brake as hard as possible initially gently going off the brakes as you approach the corner. And start accelerating. Bingo, exactly the mistake I had made in Chennai, was relying on engine braking too much. Thanks to JD got that niggle rectified and now AE reinstating the fact only made me more confident to get rid of my age old habit of using engine braking to slow the car down.
7. Consistency - One has to be consistent. A one off fast lap wont do much to achieve your goal. Its about consistency over a period of time that will get you to the light at the end of the tunnel.
8. Speed - Though we were told that the fastest lap wont matter much, I am tending to believe it will. They are out to pick the quickest, talented driver and nurse him into doing better. You cant begin with a tortoise and dream about making him a flying cheetah. I would rather begin with a kangaroo.
These were the parameters for judgement. The judges will remain in different parts of the track, noting down the boys on these parameters, accordingly rating them on a scale of 1-10 at different locations on track. Then total up all the rating and the final points will be taken into consideration for selection. Sounds fair enough? Did to most of us.
Then we were batched into 3 groups.
Group 1: Consisted of 8 drivers who had raced on the track earlier with two who came down from Ford Racing School UK. Stiff competition I hear.
Group 2: Consisted of a 8 drivers who had attended the training program and had put in a good 35+ laps a day prior to me landing at coimby. Paras was one among them.
Group 3: Consisted of 7 drivers who were new to the track or had never raced before. I belonged here. So already you tend to feel like you are a looser. Well not quite. I looked at it as a welcome move as they will have a keen eye on the beginners who do well.
AE took the groups one by one. All the LGB carburetted esteems engined single seaters behind the pace car. A white Hyundai Accent. Cones were placed for the first two practice sessions to help us get the lines. With strict warning that only ONE spin is allowed. A second and you will be out of the premises. And we set about our task. Getting to know the car, the track, more importantly our driving skills, our limits.
Last edited by mclaren1885 : 31st May 2007 at 12:55.
|31st May 2007, 16:24||#4|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: auckland, new zealand
Thanked: 2 Times
it surely looks like you had fun but how come you were put i the third group you have already done a lot of track drives.
|31st May 2007, 17:22||#5|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 368 Times
@ wow - u had fun nice report yaar.
too bad that the fiat is lying in such a way. :(
|31st May 2007, 19:06||#7|
Sorry boys, my net is acting up. Hence not able to surf. Well here goes the last part of the story.
Then we got into our suites, and into the car. Here are a couple of show off pics :
Mclaren1885 in racing suite with helmet number 18 and car number 9. Lucky 9. Some superstition that.
Ameya helping me out with the temperature needle.
Relaxing on the Newly launched Rolon Chevy from Gemini Racing.
And then the practice sessions began.
Was mightily impressed by two drivers in group 1. I was up at the tower clocking them manually. As transponders weren't given for the first two practice sessions. I clocked them at 1:21.xx. Another kid in the 2nd group clocked 1:21.xx too. Charen who has driven about 100+ laps on the track was clocking 1:24.xx shifting at 5,000rpm as AE had instructed us. But only a handful followed this. I certainly didn't. Then it was time I went in.
Group 3 went out, I was the first in the pack. I had 10 laps to get used to the car. I think it was Armaan Ebrahim who flagged me off. Trying to space the drivers so that there are no incidents. I floored the throttle going past the white accent. The sheer acceleration puts you back, but only for a while. Before you know you are lunging forward to overcome the brake force. It is only now that it hit me that it was time for action. Got around the track for a couple of laps getting to know the track and the lines. Then slowly started to experiment on the braking points, throttle points through entry, midway and exit to corners.
I hear paras was timing me manually. He clocked me at a best time of 1:21:28. Probably less than a second off the top time in group 1 I guess. Was consistently doing 1:22.xx. He timed me till the 5th lap I guess. I am sure I did a better time in the last 2 laps. Knowing this made me feel a lot more confident. And lapping all the other 6 drivers only added to it. Came into the pits and was happy with my first outing. Was getting the lines right, handling of the car was perfect to my driving style, the positioning of the pedals was perfect, so was the seating. It looked like the car was custom setup for me. And it was quick across the straights and stable under real hard braking.
Then went in the group 1 drivers for the 2nd of the practice sessions. Once again the two drivers clocked a 1:21:xx with one lap where they clocked into the 1:20:7x's. Then Charen clocked a 1:20:75. He was fast and probably pulled off the most overtaking manouvers into C1. I was really amazed at the guts this guy had while overtaking cars. Real real late braking. While most were braking at about 120mtrs for C1 only a handful were braking at 100. One was braking at 70mtrs trying to overtake all of them.
Then I decided to give it a try to brake at close to 70mtrs. It paid off. Then with every passing lap I tried to brake later, that much more harder. Charen tells me that he had his heart in his mouth when he didn't see me brake till 55mtrs. I never got a chance to try that again. Now, more confident than ever went about setting a lap as fast as I could. And to my surprise Charen said I clocked a 1:20:56 which was the fastest of the day from the timings we had clocked manually. Alas, since it was manual time I preferred telling myself that I must have been among the top 3 and there was a lot to play for. I had to go quicker. I was confident of taking atleast another 0.5 of a second of my timing. I knew I was testing the limits of the car and myself in the last 5 laps trying to brake insanely late, go hard into corners to see where I would loose it. Once I was sure I could settle down to a more smooth line.
Then we went off for lunch. On return I approached Armaan to figure out how I had done. His first words were "You were the fastest in your group by a mile lapping almost everyone". But, you ought to relax a bit. He too must have noticed that I was trying to push the car to its limits. Specially the really late braking instance. He asked me to "take it a step back". Brake early, turn in early. Not be so aggressive. I felt I could still pull out a bit on track. Or maybe he was just concerned that I might loose it being new to the track. And then we were informed that the judges were out on the track. The cones were removed and the time had come.
In went group 1 and group 2. And we had the most spins in the day. All trying to push too hard, were loosing it. Couple of them running into the wall, some spilling oil. And to my dismal belief I was told that I cant drive my car. They had chosen only 6 cars out of the 9 that had gone onto track earlier and mine was sidelined without the transponder. I was furious when I was told that I can't take my car to track. Specially when it was the crunch deciding time. I knew for a fact that all cars didnt handle the same. Track days at chennai had taught me that much. All the time I had spent in getting used to the track, the car, the braking points seemed to go in vain. I was to randomly pick a car from the 6 and get inside and drive.
Chose car number 4, a black gemini racing car. It was quick in straight line no doubt. But it didn't handle half as good as the one I had for practice. The A pedal was positioned lower and being the short bloke that I am found it difficult to heal n toe. Thus my shifts weren't bang on, I had to re-learn the handling of the car, the braking points all over again. That too when the judges were out marking points for all the criteria.
I know for a fact that the lowered A pedal meant I couldn't get the blipping right. So judges at C1 will be noticing it. The car was bottoming at least 4 times on the main straight, while the other car didn't. Which meant that I had to brake really early to prevent the bottoming from upsetting my entry into the corner. Minus more points. Braking wasn't as good as car 9, so ended up locking wheels in front of AE as I was still experimenting with my braking points. By now I know I had screwed it all up. So decided to just go out and have a ball for the next 2 laps. Considering that we were just given 5 laps to prove ourselves in front of the judges. Coming out of the penultimate corner I hit a stone sprewed onto the track by an earlier car that went off road and spun. Right in front of ameya. I had lost all hopes.
Came back into the pits really disappointed. I knew I hadn't done well. And there was no one to blame but myself. I had taken it for granted that I would be driving the same car. For the first lap I tried to get acquainted with the different car. For the next two I tried to vary the lines to get accustomed to the new car. But alas, I soon realized that I had to do it all over again. And I was running out of laps, time and was not putting out positive vibes in front of the judges. Well it was game over.
We were then told that the results would be announced via e-mail ONLY. And those of us who got selected would be informed via telephone too. I haven't received any e-mail till date which is supposed to contain the marks sheet of all the drivers. I wanted to just compare how I had done. Though bad, it would tell me where I went wrong.
I was asked to stay back to take part in an endurance go-karting championship but had to leave as I had to return to college. Myself and paras left in the GTX at about 6am next morning. And to our horror the journey wasn't quite smooth. Brakes failed at mettur dam. Kit was damaged and we were told that they were available only in bangalore or chennai. And paras had to get to the airport at bangalore at 5pm. I tried looking for a cab so that I could send him, get the car repaired and head back home. But alas no one was able to source a kit, nor did we find a cab. In an all ditch effort we decided to head to bangalore with just the front right brake working. We left mettur dam at about 12:45am. Got to bangalore at 4pm covering a distance of 180kms during this period. Dropped off paras at airport by 4:30. Dropped off the car with v1p3r as it was impossible to stop it in bumper traffic. And headed back home in an auto.
Though it didn't quite go well for me I would say it was worth the 5k, the effort. If noting else I got to know the track well. Got to take the single seaters flat out, learnt to brake really late on them, got to change my habit of engine braking to brake amongst other things. But what I liked the most is not once did I feel uncomfortable on track, I felt as if I was made for the tracks. This stint has given me a lot of confidence which will do wonders to my future. And I know I wont give up at just this. Will keep trying. And I am sure I will learn a lot along the way.
However, there are plans about making our own team. Have to see how it materializes, as right now I am really low on finance. We have put in a request for quotes for two LGB Swifts, now to see what they will work out to. Also, we got an offer to make a dragstrip at coimby. That again is something we are looking forward to. All in all it was one worthy trip to the Kari and I would like to thank everyone here who helped me with it. Thanks a ton fellas.
However just to add a bit of spice to the story, even before we went to the track on sunday some sources told us that the 2 drivers had already been chosen. And that this was just a fun event. Aimed at press for publicity. Then we were promised to be given two takes after the practice sessions so that those who couldn't come to grips in the first evaluation session could try again in the 2nd. Soon after the first we were told that it was over for the day. We weren't given a second chance though there was plenty of time left. I have repeatedly sent e-mail to them asking them for the results. Till now haven't got a reply. Though I wouldn't let this affect my judgement still though of brining this up here.
|31st May 2007, 19:36||#8|
I would like to thank Harrie and Charen for being such wonderful hosts and take care of almost all my needs. And quicksilver for that wonderful dinner and drive. Thanks guys. See you guys soon at coimby. Memo and me are coming very soon.
And surprise surprise. There is a dyno at the track. Have a very short video of it. Shall upload it soon.
Last edited by mclaren1885 : 31st May 2007 at 19:39.
|31st May 2007, 20:32||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Aug 2005
Thanked: 412 Times
Hey,..honestly i think it was money well spent.People notice things,Akbar himself noted your driving as you say..
Remember that the judges werent the only ones watching you on track.Im pretty sure that every sponsor had come for this event.
This isn't the end,..cheer up.
Last edited by binz : 31st May 2007 at 20:34. Reason: got carried away...
|31st May 2007, 22:52||#11|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Bangalore / Atlanta
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also glad to know that you clocked fast times.. Nice write up.
|31st May 2007, 23:09||#12|
|1st June 2007, 09:38||#13|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2006
Thanked: 451 Times
Good show mcl.
|1st June 2007, 09:47||#14|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Hubli - Karnata
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No prob dude, there's always next time. The important thing is that you went there!!!
I lost all hopes when i learnt that i couldn't fit into the LGB. LOL
I feel it's time for us to go to Kari for our next track day meet. Plan something dude, my exams are getting over on the 16th. Can go anywhere, anytime after that.
|1st June 2007, 10:06||#15|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Thanked: 221 Times
For the record, the drivers chosen are:
1st: Amrut Kadam from Mumbai
2nd: Mazdayar Vachar from Hyderabad
1st stand by: Rapael Luther from Delhi
2nd stand by: Advumber from Goa
3rd stand by: Raunaq Patel from Kholapur.
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