No Rain Please!

By Dave Karl

Can you have more fun driving in the rain than sitting in the pits? For some the answer is yes but it is just not worth the potential consequences if they lose control. My early DE career was full of unlimited enthusiasm. This, in addition to simply not knowing any better, meant that I went out even when the rain had some white fluffy edges. So far I've survived the learning curve, and I did have fun, but ultimately I decided that I was not very interested in attempting to master this medium. For me the main reason is that in the rain conditions are always changing. You do not have the opportunity to sample a consistent surface, lap after lap, throughout the day. This makes it difficult to quantitatively judge the results of the various inputs you make as you try to fine-tune your skills and line. The dry track reference is much more of a constant and it allows me to more precisely see the effect of any changes that I make, whether they be intentional or not. I can also drive closer to the car's limits without the fear of the next laps varying track conditions putting me over the edge.

Other than describing the theory of driving the rain line to students I have not spent much time discussing car set ups or articulating what I am trying to do when the windshield wipers are slapping as fast as my tires are turning. This March at the VIR Zone 2 event it was 30 degrees and raining very hard. I took some time to organize my thoughts on the subject in the hopes that the process would better prepare me for my students and my own wet weather driving. The techniques described here, while applicable to most 911s, are only suitable for those drivers in the intermediate and advanced run groups. Maybe now that I've gone to the trouble of writing a rain article I've assured us a completely dry DE season, if not it still may be of interest to some of you too.