Keep those questions coming and let me know what you'd like to learn about racing! This week, I'll be answering two more questions.
Question 1, from Clement Lee, “How do you contrast aero vs. mechanical grip? Can you "feel" when you are about to exceed aero grip or do you just "go off the cliff"?”
For me, this is all still a learning process but from what I have experienced, it seems as if the aero is not your limiting factor of grip in these cars in the high speed corners. They generate over 1000lbs of down force at 150mph. This means that if you are going through a high speed corner like turn 7 at Barber Motorsports Park (the reason I’m using this corner is because I went off here during testing) and you over step the limits of the aero, you are most likely going to “fall of the cliff.” Both figuratively and literally. It is incredibly hard to catch a big slide in these cars whereas say in the Mazda Miata, you can really get the car rotated, possibly overstep the limits of mechanical grip in the tires, and come back.
To recap, from what I’ve experienced in the USF2000 car is that you can anticipate a loss of grip and “falling off the cliff”, but there is not much you can do about it once it happens, whereas in a solely mechanical grip car, there is an opportunity to correct this.
This is how I made up 10 spots in 2 corners at St. Petersburg
Question 2, from Darwin Felix, regarding the incident in the final laps of race two at the GP of St. Petersburg. “For the Sunday race, what would you change inside the helmet if you had that race to do over again?”
First and foremost, thank you very much Darwin and to anyone else out there that was watching the races. It is truly awesome that the fans are able to tune into our races and watch live stream, with commentary. I hope you all enjoyed the races.
There were a lot of different aspects to race 2 compared to race 1 on Saturday, mainly due to the fact that we had over 3 times the amount of green flag running. There were multiple things that I could have done better in that race.
It was a lot about learning the different aspects of racing wheel to wheel in this series. We started 16th, on the outside row. We managed to move up to I believe it was 10th place by lap 2. There were 1 or 2 opportunities for me to gain a position, but at the same time I didn’t want my race to end prematurely. Going through the race, it was mainly defense for me. I had to do a lot of defending during the green flag periods and there wasn’t much I would change about that. The field is extremely competitive in this field, which makes it hard to overtake. We had a full course caution with about 15 minutes remaining.
Where I feel like I really could have improved, not only for the 2nd race but for the weekend in general, were the restarts. If I could have improved my position on the restart, the end of the race might have been an entire different story. With about 5 minutes remaining, I continued to defend from 2 cars behind me. We were going into turn 4, I was defending down the inside, the car behind me moved left to the driving line, and the car two behind me went to the right in an attempt to overtake the both of us. I gave the inside car room but it wasn’t enough as his front left tire and my right rear tire connected.
This, in turn, ended my race as the right rear corner of my car was facing the sky. If I had to change something about that incident I would have possibly given the inside driver more room, but at the same time in no way do I have the intention of just giving up a position.
There were multiple things that could have prevented that accident, but sometimes racing is just racing. It happens. All in all, I think I can reflect on St. Pete, especially race 2, and come out of it with a lot more knowledge, and head into Rounds 3 and 4 at Barber Motorsports Park even stronger.
Take a look at the incident from my point-of-view.
Stay tuned for more answers, and don't forget to send your questions!