The driving culture is something that I have been involved in since I can remember, it is part of who I am. I spent much of my youth driving ATVs on frozen lakes, dirt tracks and road shotgun in race cars. That taught me a lot about slip angle, vehicle dynamics and control before I even had a license. These days I prefer a car or a kart but regardless I enjoy honing my craft. The best way I have found to do that outside of track time is in the ice and snow.
If you want to be thrown in the deep end of learning how to handle a car with no traction venture out into a remote location and get to it. Bring a friend to watch from a distance and turn the nannies off. I am never one to condone recklessness, speeding or driving outside of one’s ability level. To me driving slow in a parking lot that is vacant, a cul-de-sac (sorry to all of our French readers for using that term) or in my case a vacant circle around a fountain and some adjacent streets, can provide a safe means of getting acquainted with vehicle dynamics. It is amazing what one can learn to do when friction is limited on cold tires at 5-10 mph (safe speed that should cause no damage to bumpers minus paint).
Tonight was one of those nights that I just wanted to get at it. Germany has been brutally cold of late but we have not had snow (3″ all winter). Tonight it was in the single digits with a nice covering of packed snow on the cobble stones. That surface combination is better than any wet polished concrete slab a driving school can throw out there. It was a blast even though I was going slow. An hour or so later I am back in from the cold (of course the windows needed to be down to aid in vision) and I’m happy to say that unlike on the skid pad there is no tire wear in the winter (another plus). It took a few minutes to shake off the rust but the instincts are still there and hopefully nature will cooperate and I can get back out sooner than later.
I know this post is worthless without video but it is difficult to video in low light in snow with what I am working with.
I hopefully sparked some interest in keeping things safe and learning a bit more about car control…