[YesAuto Auto Race] An old man who led me into the industry told me a long time ago: You should never have the heart to be a racer, it is a bottomless pit of money and youth, there is no return… For most men, motorsport always has a dream-like charm that is irresistible, but the “man” who really intends to participate in it are often a minority.
Therefore, before participating in this training, you can actually think about this question: Why do you need this E-class racing license? Is it used as a “pretend artifact” or is it really ready to compete? For example, I am just preparing for the next competition. At this time, it is best to weigh the tuition fee of 12,000 yuan for 3 days, whether you can accept it (it is said that WeChat payment is 5% off).
Many domestic racetracks actually have E-class racing license training, such as the Tianmashan Circuit in Shanghai. But it is indeed the first time to be able to participate in the “official” racing license training led by the China Automobile Federation. It's just that, for a city like Beijing, which is almost the most expensive, even a track with a small area requires a long distance from the urban area. And what I want to say next is probably the most concerned issue for many racing enthusiasts…
● What does the E-level license mean?
Over the past three days, after communicating with all the trainees, I found that the most worthwhile question is: What does a racing license mean? Or to put it more bluntly, what is the cost of embarking on the road to racing?
In fact, the classification of racing licenses is very rich, from the lowest level of G-level license (can only participate in provincial and municipal competitions), to the C-level license that must be used to run CTCC, and the S-level license of F1 (the so-called “super driver's license.” ), taking into account the “basically useless” G-level license, the E-level is the real “entry license” for motorsports.
There are not many “single-brand races” in China. The most mature development is the POLO Cup. The racing cars in this training are basically improved based on the POLO Cup racing rules a few years ago. These events have become the most suitable professional events for beginners in motorsports due to their low cost and high training value. However, the so-called “lower” cost here can hardly be less than 200,000 yuan in a year, and if you always crash, the cost is basically multiplied by multiples. So you can think about how much it took the CTCC drivers to “build” themselves into this race…
You should know that the above cost is only the “cheapest” single-brand event among all professional events. If you plan to play a formula event, please be prepared to spend more than one million yuan a year. Only the drivers at the top of the pyramid can get high sponsorships. In China, where the influence of racing cars is weak and the sponsorship system is still incomplete, most of the cost comes from four words: out-of-pocket!
In fact, the instructor of our training, Liu Yang, a well-known domestic driver, believes that his experience is definitely a vivid and valuable lesson for all friends who aspire to participate in motorsports.
● The training instructor himself is a “moving struggle history” of a racing car
The first time I met Liu Yang happened to be when he won the CTCC championship for the first time, and that time was very “coincidentally” being “caught” by a girl to accompany him to watch the game. After 5 years, he is still in CTCC, still driving the 1.6L naturally aspirated car, but he changed from the Beijing Hyundai team to the GRT team now using the Fit car.
Explain the so-called “Orthodox Keban”, which is the road of racing development that started from karting, experienced formulas, and finally aimed at F1 events. This is the road of development for almost all F1 drivers abroad. Because of the “highest” and relatively most well-known, it is called the “orthodox road of science and technology” for racing. For example, Liu Yang started to participate in motorsports at the age of 9, and was the first domestic driver to win the 125 category of competitive kart racing. Judging from the basic laws of field racing, this kind of drivers who started in kart racing at a young age is indeed far better than the drivers who are “half way home” in their basic skills.
Although Liu Yang is only 31 years old this year, he already belongs to the rank of “old driver”. When Schumacher was still fighting with Häkkinen, he had already participated in the Formula Compass and F2000 races in Zhuhai. At that time, in the very basic racing environment in China, he could only compete with his own. Two cousins Wang Chao went to Zhuhai to prepare for the formula race. What, “team combat” and “systematized training from an early age”? That is a good thing that foreign big teams can have. In China until now, racers have basically relied on the “guerrilla” strategy of where to fight at the beginning stage. How can they be systematic?
In fact, Liu Yang participated in the Formula Race earlier than Cheng Congfu, who we are very familiar with. At that time, he was directly exposed to the Formula Race second only to F1, the European F3000 (the highest group formula Cheng Congfu had participated in before was A1 GP). But in the end, due to financial and age issues, he missed the event.
I asked him: how much money the family spent on racing. He smiled and replied that after 2005, the family will no longer sponsor him, because there is really no money, how can the previous expenses add up to more than 12 million. You know, this is at least 12 million, but before 2005, think about the price standards of that year…
Moreover, the cruelty of the formula lies in the extremely strict requirements on the age and physical fitness of the drivers. If you have not made a big breakthrough in the past 25 years old, you must basically consider saying goodbye to the formula, otherwise you will not only fail to compete with young drivers but also spend money. “No profit” is also meaningless, and the touring car race has become their best way out. Like before, Ma Qinghua returned to the touring car race “honestly” after finishing his F1 test driver years.
Li Zhicong’s racing growth path seems to be more cautious and pragmatic in the “Guangfu culture”. He is less than 22 years old and now runs the F3 Championship in the UK. He has won the Asian GT Championship before and is regarded as a domestic “postborn”. One of the leading figures among the “generation” drivers. But even with the support of the “Seafood King” father behind him, he also realized that racing might not be his lifelong choice because: it burns too much money! And just running a car, after consuming the most precious youth, maybe nothing else, what can you do after you leave the car?
After 2005, Liu Yang also experienced a long period of struggle. He ran rally races and even cross-country races, and finally found his own world in CTCC. Of course, such twists and turns have made him one of the very few drivers in China who has participated in “full event” racing competitions such as karting, formula, touring car, and rally. It is a very “extra-specification” and honorable thing to have him as an instructor with an E-level license.
● Skoda Jingrui racing car for training
The racing cars for training are all modified cars based on the Skoda Jingrui 1.6L model. Because Jingrui and POLO are “twin brothers”, these Jingrui cars are basically modified in accordance with the previous racing specifications of the POLO Cup.
For racing cars, their modifications basically focus on two aspects: safety and performance.
In the interior, except for the center console, instrument panel, and handlebars that remain the original factory, the rest of the interior has been modified accordingly. In particular, the appearance of roll cages and racing seats makes getting on and off the car a tricky thing, and if you are a fat man, I’m afraid… it’s even more embarrassing. Compared with formula cars that have nothing to do with fat people, touring cars are already the most inclusive racing event for the body. As for the roll cage on the roof, it is a must for professional racing cars!
The modification of this pedal is actually not trivial. It directly determines the smoothness of the rider's “heel-toe motion”. Basically, there are not many pedal designs that can be used for the heel-toe motion of the manual transmission civilian car, and this pedal is used. The feeling is just a drop of leverage.
These Jingrui racing cars have basically not improved in terms of power, and the gearboxes directly use the original 5MT (it is said that there will be racing cars with sequential gearboxes starting next year, but the cost of that gearbox is really scary). On the contrary, I have done enough work on the performance of the corners, such as tires and shock absorbers have been comprehensively improved, and the lightweight of the body after removing a large number of interior parts obviously also has a positive effect on the performance. The performance of the corners is better than the original. Factory Jingrui is completely different.
Before 2013, the racing cars of the POLO Cup were the same 1.6L naturally aspirated engine as these Jingrui racing cars. After that, the POLO GTI with 1.4T engine was introduced. The POLO Cup's closeness to the people is reflected in the closeness of the original factory as much as possible in order to reduce costs. Let more people come into contact with this event. However, there are no electronic auxiliary equipment such as ABS and ESP, so the first lesson of “professional racing” we have to learn is: how to control the brakes without ABS!
● Enter the play: Practice basic skills of racing car driving
Like many trainings, racing license training also starts from theory. These contents are believed to have no difficulty for racing fans, and for ordinary car fans, they can fully understand after a little Baidu.
I would like to mention one point here in particular. We usually see so many fast-driving and drag racing people on the road, and the gambling-like night “04 drag racing” behavior is even popular in some circles, but we really come to participate in this E There are very few people in the class racing license training class! Among them, there are very few friends who are usually proficient in driving manual gears. Perhaps for those who love drag racing and car gambling, the small amount of cost and price spent is enough for them to comfortably run the POLO Cup for a year.
First explain the full Chinese name of this “HANS” is called “Head and Neck Protection System”. Since its mandatory use in F1 in 2003, it is now a mandatory equipment for all professional racing competitions. Of course, we can't see its sound and shadow in the training of the racing license. In general, the feeling of a five-point racing seat belt alone is already tight enough to “can be pressed into your ribs”, plus you have to wear a sultry racing suit and keep it in a car that cannot be air-conditioned. Controlling the car in a state of concentration, one can imagine the degree of physical exertion after a race.
For racing cars, braking is the core and foundation. The easiest way to get into ABS-free racing cars is to go karts. However, for karts with a very low center of gravity, it is sometimes more conducive to turning into a corner by moderately using the slip generated by brake and lock, but for heavier touring cars, how can they reach the limit without ABS? The dynamic effect, without causing the front wheel to lock up, is the top priority! Like Schumacher and Hamilton in F1, the braking control skills are even more exquisite. In the rainy day, you can recover more than ten meters of distance by stepping on the brake. Don't practice the brakes? There is no way to play the car.
● Liu Yang demonstrates the wrong operation of the brake lock:
● Liu Yang demonstrates the correct extreme braking operation of the racing car:
Fortunately, I have the “remaining” feeling of driving karts a lot before, so it is not too difficult for me to find a brake without ABS. But the Jingrui racing car we used for training still has brake boost after all, so the stroke of the brake pedal is long, and the foot movement must be delicate. Try to sense and predict the grip of the front wheel to the greatest extent to control the pedaling force. , Can’t be “boring to the end” in a situation like driving a civilian vehicle with ABS. Liu Yang said that a real top driver can control the brake pedal almost as accurately as his hair!
As for the “toe-toe action”, it is familiar to all car fans. For traditional manual racing cars, it can indeed protect the gearbox and improve the performance of the engine when it comes out of corners. However, for the current competitions of a little bit, there are basically no traditional manual transmission models. For example, the POLO Cup is already a sequential gearbox, and the CTCC has already realized the full popularization of sequential gearboxes. For GT racing cars like Audi R8 LMS or Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, sequential gearboxes and paddle shifts coexist.
During the practice of “heel-toe action” braking, a racing car damaged the axle shaft due to a wrong downshift. For this kind of racing training vehicles whose mileage is as short as tens of kilometers or hundreds of kilometers in length, the load they bear is a hundred times greater than that of ordinary civilian cars, which is probably not an exaggeration. And if in the future the China Automobile League really uses sequential gearbox cars, the high cost and relatively delicate features will surely be a headache.
In fact, from the perspective of “control efficiency”, the traditional manual transmission has indeed come to an end. Let’s take a look at those performance cars that use dual-clutch gearboxes. They almost accelerate much faster than their manual version. It has been clear that even the 911 GT3 series, which is positioned as a “track car”, has completely cancelled the manual transmission models.
As for racing cars with sequential gearboxes, the driver can free his left foot for braking. According to Liu Yang, a single lap can be 0.5 to 0.8 seconds faster than the traditional right foot braking. After 2010, Zhuhai veteran Guo Haisheng, who had a fairly good record, was defeated by Xie Xinzhe, who participated in the CTCC for the first time. I think the main reason is that he is not used to braking with his left foot. ).
The entire 3-day training can basically be divided into two parts, the first 50% of the time is used for theoretical training and practice braking. The last 50% of the time is cornering and full-court practice. After all, braking without ABS is the first contact for most students, and it takes more time to practice to get a firm grasp of the basics.
Since the biggest meaning of racing suits is fire prevention, it is inevitable that they are thick and airtight. In the scorching sun, all kinds of “hot out of the sky” are inevitable, but this is only the minimum price that a driver must bear. .
Since several key points of this set of corners have been marked, the actual practice is not very difficult, but many people are too enthusiastic after practicing the “toe-toe movement”, and they often take care of them when entering the corner to slow down. The completion of the “heel to toe action” but ignoring the most important braking force led to accidental danger. Whether driving professional racing cars or ordinary civilian cars, or supercars on the track, there is only one way to brake: fast, accurate, and ruthless. If there is no difference from the gentle driving on the road, it is really not a racing car.
● Climax: full track practice
Before the official full-course rush, walking on the track is very important. For drivers, they can check the specific road conditions of the track, such as damage, bumps, and even the dirtiness of the track surface in different sections. It's just that many of the low-speed corners in this one are really…too close.
Frankly speaking, when the lead car and my own car are not fast, it really doesn't do much for me to learn the line, because the “deliberate line” without speed lacks the basic sense of rhythm that the track should have. But for everyone, it is still necessary to learn how the top drivers work.
In the free practice phase, each of us must complete at least two sets of 20 laps. This intensity can make some friends who may not usually exercise much feel exhausted, as for those 24 hours endurance races and formula cars. In terms of speaking, it is even more acceptable. Therefore, for motorsports, maintaining a good physical reserve is very important.
In the official test run, regardless of whether the track experience is rich or not, the most important link is “step by step.” Gradually get familiar with the track, and then test the limits of the car step by step under the premise of safety. Fortunately, after the first two days of practice, if the car with manual transmission is not “speed shift”, then it is a bit unaccustomed. And on the track, everyone naturally became engrossed, and everything was used to try to run faster.
This Jingrui racing car is simply: when you think this car is going to get out of control, in fact it has just begun to get excited! Don’t forget that this is a racing car. The extreme high, the extremely stable cornering posture and the strong gripping tires make you have to break the original “inertial thinking” of civilian cars. You can enter the corner much faster to gradually understand the temper of this car. The perception and control of extremes is a basic “somatosensory” skill for racers.
Since free practice is a time when everyone is trying the limit within a limited range, it is inevitable to see the loss of control that occurs from time to time in the car ahead. However, the out-of-control of the curve in the picture above has a lot to do with the cornering speed and braking control. The essential reason is that the curve limit of the racing car and the braking control without ABS are different from that of civilian cars. What's more, if this corner is to be passed well enough, basically the car will always be in a slipping state when entering the corner, and it does require a certain amount of control ability.
By the way, training for this kind of racing license is the same as participating in a racing competition. Once there is damage caused by an impact, it is usually compensated. But fortunately, the repair price list of each part of the car is still relatively real, basically the same as the price of the 4S shop, so you know why I dare not “challenge the limit” in low-speed corners…
Frankly speaking, Liu Yang's cornering method is indeed fierce! Of course, the “center of gravity shift” cornering method at Turn 1 obviously also depends on the characteristics of the car. It is usually difficult for ordinary civilian cars to use this method. In the continuous low-to-medium-speed corners, his steering wheel is even constantly under “microcontrol”. In short, the whole rhythm is extremely smooth. The feeling of sitting in the car is very smooth, but the car can use a better than one imagined. There is also a faster way to corner.
In the end, each of us also got a separate photo with instructor Liu Yang's signature. Frankly speaking, what impressed me the most during this training was Liu Yang. In addition to having “encountered” five years ago, what is more important is his patience and valuable guidance. Perhaps the “different aura” is his characteristic. Every outstanding driver is a book with a story. It's just that too few people have ever known about the persistence and blood and tears of the race as a racer. What is left to the general public is the excitement and glamour of racing. But those things are often just appearances.
When I asked Liu Yang how many students taking the E-level license would participate in the official competition, he gave me a surprising answer: maybe less than 1%! Let more people know about the racing license training, and understand the ways and means of participating in motorsports, I am afraid it is the fundamental way to solve this “proportion imbalance” problem. (Text/Car Home Wu Hao)