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Rally Driving Techniques

As rally racing evolved over the years, everything else evolved with it. Same as cars, roads, tracks, and drivers had to keep up with the pace of change, so did the driving method. In fact, there are several different driving methods used in rally racing today.

Double Clutch

Before the transmission synchronizers were introduced back in 1920’s, double clutching was necessary in order to prevent damage to the automobile’s gear system. Being a complicated way of changing gears that required a lot time to get a hang on, it was abandoned in general use.

The purpose in using this technique is to aid to match the speeds of the rotational speed of the input shaft and the rotation of the automobile’s gear system. When these two speeds are matched, the selected gear engages very smoothly, if not the dog teeth on the collar will clash together and grate, as they are trying to fit in to the holes on the selected gear.
Modern synchromesh gearboxes achieve this automatically and efficiently.

So, basically, this technique is necessary for vehicles with an unsynchronized manual transmission. It is executed by pushing the clutch once for shifting into the neutral transmission, before pushing it again in order to engage the selected speed.

Handbrake Turn

This is a very dangerous stunt, used to deliberately slide a car sideways. It is done in order to quickly negotiate a very tight bend, or to turn around well within the vehicle’s turning circle.

The physics around this stunt is relatively simple, if fact. When you do a normal turn with your car, your front wheels dictate the direction and the rear wheels follow, because resistance is in the forward direction. When you lock your rear wheels with a handbrake, both directions have the same resistance. This results in the rear end of your car moving in its original direction by inertia, and thus sliding out.

This technique is primarily used to negotiate turns in motorsports, but is also used in stunt driving (like in the movies) or by police during pursuit.

Heel-and-toe

Used by drivers in all types of driving, but mostly in performance driving, heel-and-toe’s purpose is to prepare the car’s transmission to be in the optimal rpm range in order for your car to accelerate out of a turn in the best, smoothest possible way.

Effectiveness is the focus of this technique, as it involves operating your throttle and brake pedals with only your right foot, while pushing the clutch with your left foot as per usual.
When you brake, prior to entering a turn, and you downshift simultaneously, this allows you  to blip the throttle and raise your speed, smoothly engaging the lower gear.

Hill Jumping

As the title explains it, this technique revolves around accelerating the vehicle just as it is about to approach a top of a hill, causing it to go airborne.
This is obviously an extremely dangerous stunt, also called ‘hill topping’ or ‘yumping’.

These stunts do take place in rally races often, but not to the extent of being too dangerous. However, it is useful to note that even the smallest jumps can be dangerous, if not to your health than certainly to the longevity of your car.

Left-foot braking

This technique revolves around using your left foot to operate both the clutch and the brake pedals, leaving the right foot on the throttle pedal all the time.

While there is little point in doing this in everyday driving, rally drivers use this to minimize the time spent moving your foot from throttle to brake. This is believed to maximize the momentum of your car, decrease the mini-pause intervals that are inevitable if you move your right foot, and also to increase the focus and the habit of controlling your throttle better, because your right foot is on it all the time.

Scandinavian flick

This technique is also called the Finish flick, Manji drifting, and the pendulum turn, and it is used in ice racing and rallying.
This technique is quite delicate and requires high skill in its execution.

When a racer is approaching a turn, he is to drive along the inside of the turn, and then, just as the turn is coming along, he is to release the throttle and lightly press the brake, while steering sharply towards the outside of the turn. This manner will cause such a weight transfer that it will result in your car rotating into the corner of the turn, with your car’s front facing the exit of the turn.

If executed properly, your car will be in an ideal position to exit the turn and will lose little momentum.

Top 10 Rally Cars

Rally racing has evolved much over the years, and naturally rally cars have evolved with it. Although many rally racing cars are manually tweaked and modified, so they are practically unique, manufacturers have also found various ways to answer the ever growing needs of rally racing drivers. Here is my personal top 10 Rally Cars, feel free to share yours in the comments below.

Renault Alpine A110

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Also known as ‘Berlinette’, this model is a famous sports car produced by Alpine, a French manufacturer, between the years 1961-1977.  Over the years of its production, the car has gone through some changes, especially in the engine area. It was powered by various Renault engines.

Ford Escort RS1800

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Perhaps one of the most famous rally cars ever, and certainly one of the most famous Ford models, Ford Escort was designed as a small family car. It had a ridiculously long production span, from 1968 to 2004, and has gone through countless changes over the years. The model was revived in 2014, and it is now based on the second generation Ford Focus.

Peugeot 205 T16

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Again, a very famous model in the rally racing industry, and also in car markets in general, Peugeot 205 T16 (turbo 16) was built as a group B rally car. Regulations of the group B demanded that the car was based on a current production road car, and so Peugeot went with this two door coupe, but they designed its engine as a diesel, 16 valve head turbo, which gave it a lot of power.

Lancia Stratos

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Perhaps less known to people not too much into rally racing, this model was beautifully designed, and looked really futuristically back in the day. It was produced between 1973 and 1978, in Italy.  It was heavily based on the Ferrari chassis and engine, of that time, and it looked like something that came right out of Space.

Toyota Celica GT4 185

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This is an incredibly beautiful car with a sleek design, but also with a lot of power. It was made in Japan from 1986 to 1999, and remains to this day a highly sought after rally model.

Citroen Xsara WRC

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This is a small family car, manufactured by Citroen from 1997 to 2006. It had various different styles, varying from a 5-door to a 3-door model coupe, but the rally version WRC was considered best in its class at that time.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution XL

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A beautiful and a very powerful model, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was produced from 1992 to 2016, and is still continuing production.

The rally version featured many innovations in the field of rally racing, and is an impressive rally car even today. It was introduced in the year 2007.

Subaru Impreza

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Produced since 1992, Subaru Impreza continues production today, as it is considered one of the best racing car in the World. It has gone through many changes over the years. It is in the class of compact cars, but is considered to possess a high level of versatility, as it comes in many layout variations.

Audi Quattro

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This is both a rally and road car, and perhaps one of the most famous cars in the World. It had a production span from 1980 to 1991, in Germany, and it remains one of the most impressive cars of its age. The car had a high-performance reputation as a four-wheel drive model, but there were also coupe versions, and many other modifications.

Lancia Delta

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Designed as a small family car, Lancia Delta is an Italian automobile, produced in several different spans. First generation of Lancia Delta was produced from 1979 to 1994, second from 1993 to 1999, and the third finally from 2008 to 2014. The car was designed to fulfill the requirements of Group A regulations, which meant it was supposed to be a road-going car, amongst other things. The car had countless changes in the engine area, as well as all other areas, and it remains a favourite to many even to this day.

Using a dash cam for racing

Car dash cams have been growing more and more popular in the past ten years or so, and since then their functionality has improved greatly.

Manufacturers have also found many new ways to expand the range their cam’s possibilities and capabilities to a whole new level.

Back at the beginning, cameras only did what they basically should do – record. Nowadays days they record and overwrite their own footage, they automatically select which part of the footage to keep, and they even have sensors to detect things such as: impacts, movement near your car, lane departure, frontal collision, etc…

Naturally, supporting racing sports and racing in general was something that needed to happen, and so many manufacturers started developing various perks and features racers would find helpful when using a car dash camera to record their driving. If you are finding it hard to pick a dash camera this website has a list where you’ll find the best dash cam for your particular needs.

First of all, dash cams are generally installed in the middle centre part of the wind shield, right behind the rear view mirror. This is done to focus your field of view forward and capture what the driver sees. Cameras usually have 140-170° field of view, which is sufficient for any average situation.

Now, depending on the type of a race car, some cameras have different methods of mounting. Most of them have a suction cup mounting bracket, but some have a sticking mount that can stick to a glass or any kind of surface in your car. This is of course handy depending on the type of your race car, for instance.

Also, some more advanced cameras have the ability to automatically rotate their field of view to match gravity, which is again something racers might need.

But, there is one obvious reason why a professional or amateur racer should use a dash cam is to practice his route.

If you think about it, racers usually drive a specific route used in a particular race numerous times before it, just to get the hang of things and stuff. Now, while this is necessary and cannot be replaced in any way, it is also a good thing to record your practice rounds and review them at home.

Think about it. After hours of practicing, you can come home and have numerous hours of racing footage, where you can review your decisions, mistakes, and plan strategies for an upcoming race.

Average cameras have around 8GB of memory space, which provides you with a couple of hours of footage, depending on the video quality settings, but many of them support micro SD cards that provide much more. With a 64GB memory card addition for instance, you can have probably more than 20 hours of footage.

Car dash cameras also have GPS capability and many of them provide their own software, with which you can review your footages and your positions vie the global positioning system (satellite view). This option would probably be welcomed by any country racer, because satellite information can give you a detailed view of the terrain, as well as your car’s speed at various points.

Car cams also measure time, capture sound, have excellent options for capturing detailed recordings of your surroundings, and some of them even have features that stabilize your recording, if it’s shaky.

Now, normally car dash cams function by utilizing a thing called the G-sensor, or the gravity sensor. This feature detects impacts, sudden shifts in your car’s positioning, speed changes, or similar stuff. When this happens, it marks the current loop recording being made, and locks it from being overwritten by the system. If you are a country racer or any other kind really, it is a logical assumption that this sensor will be picking up those things all the time. What you can do is change its sensitivity level to best suit your needs, or you can disable it totally.

Also, car cameras often have excellent low light or night vision. This means they capture fairly decent recordings even at night. If you really want to find the best night or low light recording capability, you should try and find a cam that deals with the lighting successfully. The thing commonly considered to be a loss of night footage quality is the flashing of lights that interfere with your recording.

Cameras capture sound and also have speakers. Capturing sound could also be important to you if you want to make a verbal point during your driving, or if you also want to review the instructions your team mate was feeding you during racing.

Speakers are also necessary because cameras can give you various warnings during driving.

If your camera possesses the ADAS (advanced driving assistance system) it can, using GPS warn you of frontal collisions (FCWS – frontal collision warning system) or warn you of lane departures (LDWS – lane departure warning system). It will do so with a distinct beeping sound. If these features are important to you, you should look for them when purchasing your car cam. Cameras from most classes have the ADAS, but its best to go for mid-range or higher.

One thing we still have to mention is the car camera class rating system. Cameras are generally divided into: cheep (budget) cameras, mid-range, high end, and duo cameras. All features mentioned earlier can probably be found in all of these classes, but if you are looking for a camera that can give you high quality performance and have all the features your racing career might need, you will probably go for mid-ranged cameras or higher.

Also, duo cameras are very useful for their capability to record two different angles.
Duo cameras can come with separate camera bodies, or they can be attached to one camera body. Whatever the case if you utilize them properly, you can record your car’s frontal view, while also recording your rear view, or even your car’s insides.

So, just to recap, car dash cams are a great and possibly only way to have a video recording of your racing. You can use this recording to review your mistakes, plan your strategies, or you can even have an entire genuine race recording from your point of view, to show to your team mates or post online.

Such recordings can be useful in numerous ways and can even help you earn money or renown online.

All in all, it is an honest statement when it is said that every racing car should have its own dash camera, whatever the reason, because this gives you a whole new view or the sport and provides such an obvious advantage over the no-camera racing.

Also, there are even more features cameras bring to the table, every driver can utilize and personalize to best suit him, that we haven’t had the chance to mention, but hope this gives you a basic picture of the whole new dimension of possibilities.

 

 

Rally Racing 101

Rally racing, or rallying, is a specific type of racing, quite different from Formula One for instance. Rally racing is taking place on public (or private) roads that are modified and often not friendly for road-cars. Rally racing cars are often usual everyday cars or sports cars, but they are also often tweaked and custom-modified to better withstand the dangers and challenges of these unfriendly tracks.

By unfriendly we mean tracks that are often very curvy, often in the country side, and they very rarely have tarmac.

So, cars and drivers are not only expected to race at high speeds, but they also need to possess high skill and fast decision-making abilities to help them get through the race successfully.

Of course, the biggest difference between rallying and some other race categories is that rally racing is done in a point-to-point manner, meaning the participants drive between a given set of control points, or special stages, and they also leave at regular intervals from one or more starting points.

As such, rallying can be won in two ways: by pure speed or by having an ideal journey time within these mentioned stages.

The first time the term ‘rally’ was used is supposed to be back in 1911, when the first Monte Carlo Rally was held. The term was later used with more frequency, but there is other evidence it dates all the way back to 1894, to a Paris-Rouen Horseless Carriage Competition. In this race, the judges chose a winner based on the reports of their observers, that each rode in one of the participant’s cars.

Albert Lamaitre, a driver of a 3 horse power Peugeot, was deemed a winner.

More and more, similar events were organized, again in France, but later on all over the World. Finally, Tour de France was born in 1899, and it remains one of the earliest road races to ever. It was held 18 times, before it was put on hold between 1937 and 1951, when it was revived again by Automobile Club de Nice.

In 1900, the Auto mobile Club of Great Britain organised a Thousand Mile Trial. It was a 15-day event that linked all Britain’s major cities, all with the mission of promoting this now new form of sport.

A year later, a similar, five-day event, was organized in Glasgow. The Scottish Auto mobile Club started their annual Glasgow-London non-stop trial, and after wards the Scottish Reliability Trial in 1905.

In Germany, the first racing trophy was given in 1905, in the Herkomer racing event.

And, finally, in 1911, the Monte Carlo Rally was organized, and the rest was history.

Rally racing had to endure many difficulties over the years, like the two wars. During WWI it was put on hold and only brought back in 1924, and during WWII it was also paused, but with a smaller gap.

Over the years, many new competitions were born all over the World. In country sides, mountain tracks, or even on regular city-to-city roads.

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The French drivers and associations were again amongst the top contributors to this sport, even after the Second World war, but rallying has, as mentioned before, spread to the farthest corners of the World. It quickly became a standard annual event in countries such as Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and more, even outside Europe, and in 1951, the RAC Rally has officially become an international event.

The laws of the Great Britain were preventing the closure of public roads in order for this manifestation to take place, at first, but Jack Kemsley persuaded the Forestry commission to open their infinite gravel roads, and the entire event was transformed into a highly skilful competition, with the most demanding manner. By the year 1963, the event had over 600 miles (970km) in its entirety, and, because of its location, it’s been called Rally GB ever since.

The history of car racing

Since the invention of an auto mobiles, drivers have come up with the idea to race with one another in these new transportation inventions. Cars evolved a lot over the years and racing has too, but the principles remain similar to those almost 200 years ago.

The first auto mobile, that was capable of human transportation, was a steam-powered car, built in 1769 by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot.

Later, in 1807, the first car with an internal combustion engine was designed by Francois Isaac de Rivaz, and it was fuelled by hydrogen.

Eventually, a gasoline powered combustion engine was built in 1864 by Siegfried Marcus, and it was placed on a pushcart. Four models of these early cars were built in the next 10 to 15 years, and they are considered to have had the most influence on cars today.

The earliest recorded car race is documented to have happened back in 1867, or three years after the first gasoline combustion powered engine was built.

At first, these races were nothing more than reliability trials that served as an assurance to the general public these new machines are important and useful, but by the year 1930, a special race car was developed, built specifically for racing.

Over the years, racing evolved and many different categories were born. Today you have: formula, touring car, sports car, production car racing, one-make, stock car, rallying, drag racing, off-road, kart, historical racing, and many more.

Like race categories, different races also have different objectives. Now, races mostly revolve around crossing a given length of road and doing it as fast as possible, but races today also use flags, car teams, etc…

Some race cars have a driver and his mate that helps him usually by giving him crucial information on the road ahead or similar stuff, but some racing cars are a single-seat.
For example, Formula racing is perhaps a best known category of racing, that is done via the one-seat racing car.

The Formula One cars are a single-seater, do not have covered wheels, and are designed in a specific way so that they produce as little wind resistance as possible. They also have aerofoil wings in front and rear ends to help produce downforce and help the car stick to the ground.

These types of race cars are not suited for everyday driving, naturally.

Other types of racing can have cars that are suitable for everyday driving, such as touring car racing, or even sports car racing. Although sports cars are generally very powerful and are not to be underestimated, they are allowed to be driven in public and are reachable to the general public. They can even cost much less than the Formula One race car, that is worth sky high.

There are even races with some custom made cars, or rally races where sports cars are being manually tweaked and upgraded to better suit the race track environment.

The off-road racing requires vehicles to be able to race across terrain that doesn’t even have roads, and could be even barely walkable, let alone drivable. This is why off-road racing usually utilizes big cars like vans and mini-trucks.

Kart racing is done by cars that operate on a small chainsaw engine that is mounted on a simple tube-framed chassis. The whole kart is usually very light and is again only suitable for racing in special Kart racing tracks.

Historical racing is done, as the title already suggests, with old models of cars. The advantage of these events is, besides the obvious enjoyment in old design and beauty of these cars, that these events are rarely burdened by marketing, the media, and other negative stuff publicity brings. It is usually done for the sole purpose of enjoyment.

There are many more racing methods and events all around the World. Some of them even require the racers to balance their car on only two wheels, while others are done by enormous custom build Monster Trucks, and the objects are usually collisions and destruction.

Whatever the method and category, it is certain that car racing has surely come a long way since its first race.