Joe asks Jody Victor®: 6 Racing Tips to Make You a Better Road Driver

 Racetracks have a way of removing all common sense and our understanding of physics. I asked Jody Victor  to tell us how to get it all back.

Jody Victor: Okay, here it comes, Joe, from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com  in two parts.

Pretending, as Eric Clapton once sang, means “you’re never who you used to think you are.” In college, I was quite good at it, whether I was “paying” for laundry with a quarter tied to a string of Scotch tape or talking to girls in a British accent. Behind the wheel, I’m about as fake as they come, with my out-of-state license plates and new test vehicles that match neither my age nor income.

Don’t clench the steering wheel

By keeping your thumbs upright on the wheel, you’ll be less likely to close them into a fist, where you’re then even more likely to become tense and make heavy-handed motions. Aside from staying calm, Pechnik says a lighter hand also lets you feel more of the road feedback in the steering, key to taking a tight turn with confidence.

Look far, far ahead

This one everyone tells you, but when you’re blitzing a straight at 120 mph and then have to brake hard to approach a corkscrew turn, your mind drifts to other things. Things such as holy-crap-I’m-going-so-fast-there’s-a-turn-oh-wow-I-almost-lost-it. Racing forces you to speed up your brain’s processing power. You can’t be looking a few dozen feet ahead or else you’ll be mesmerized by the blur. Look ahead where you want to go, and everything slows down so you can complete the turn and react without sweating bullets. On the road, with its billions of objects you could potentially hit, it’s critical.

Be patient in turns

Patience? In a car with 545 horsepower? It’s thin at best. That said, the key to driving fast is knowing where and how long to drive slow, Pechnik says. Go into a corner too fast or exit too early on the throttle and you’ll swing too wide or slide, which will detract from your rhythm and add time. That means not being a moron around entrance and exit ramps that are wide open.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: The 600-Horsepower Club II

It’s somewhat hard to imagine cars with over 500 horsepower let alone more than 600, just coasting down the road. I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us more from an article by James Tate of MSN Autos/msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Apparently, mega-horsepower is no longer to be restrained only to the racing circuit. Here’s the second half of the over 600-horsepower club.

 

5. Ford Shelby GT500, 650 horsepower – With the introduction of the 2013 Shelby GT500, the pony-car wars have officially gotten out of hand. Let it be clear we’re talking about a factory-produced Mustang with 650 horsepower. Likely created to one-up the fire-breathing ZL1 variant of its decades-old archrival, the Chevrolet Camaro, this Mustang and its supercharged 5.8-liter V8 engine is the most powerful Ford to ever roll off the assembly line, and by a large margin. Although it’s far from a barbaric muscle car, we can only hope the big coupe’s aging suspension design is up to the task of controlling this kind of power.

 

4. Ferrari FF, 651 horsepower – The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was a curvaceous, high-performance luxury sports car. But it never really enjoyed success in the highly competitive exotic market. Ferrari’s response to this comes in the form of the polarizing FF. In many ways, this uniquely styled vehicle is a drastic departure from the tried-and-true prancing-horse formula. It offers four doors and all-wheel drive, as well as a “love it or hate it” shooting-brake body style. Luckily, its screaming 651-horsepower V12 engine does a mighty job of allaying concerns that Ferrari is forsaking performance and exhilaration, as it enables the 4-seater to rocket to 208 mph.

 

3. Lamborghini Aventador, 691 horsepower – Lamborghini has never been one to be timid with its vehicles, and its latest flagship turns heads with its flashy stealth-fighter styling and explosively powerful V12 engine rattling the ground. With 691 horsepower and years of performance engineering under its belt, the Aventador is more than ready to carry the torch into the next generation. Its paddle-shifting, single-clutch transmission, however, has a strikingly rough touch in a sea of seamless, butter-smooth dual-clutch units. Even so, it gets the job done. This replacement for the Murcielago is exactly what we were hoping for from the house of the raging bull.

 

2. Aston Martin One-77, 750 horsepower – British sports-car manufacturer Aston Martin is famous for creating svelte and sexy grand touring cars, and its crowning achievement, the One-77, is no exception. Although unmistakably an Aston Martin in design, this halo car puts a greater emphasis on outrageous performance and sports wilder, jaw-dropping style elements than its lesser brethren. Limited to just 77and already sold out, the One-77 boasts the most powerful naturally aspirated production-car engine ever made — a 7-liter V12 good for a roaring 750 horsepower. Take a good look at this athletic beauty, as it’s unlikely you’ll ever encounter one on the road.

 

1. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, 1,183 horsepower – By now, the Bugatti Veyron is no stranger to automotive enthusiasts, as its superlative specs make it the uncontested king of sports cars. Its Super Sport variant cranks the wick even further, boosting output of its mammoth quad-turbo W16 engine from an already absurd 987 horsepower up to a “good God, that’s nuts” 1,183 horsepower. This insane power results in a possible top speed of 268 mph. Without question, the Veyron would satisfy even the biggest adrenaline junkie. With a price tag well into the seven digits, however, this uber-exclusive supercar is not for the financially faint of heart.

Thanks, Jody! We’d love to be able to test drive any of these vehicles!!

Joe Victor