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 Shuffle off to better driving
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dquarasr
provisional solo poster

28 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2012 :  23:21:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've had a small debate on another enthusiast forum. Thought I'd ask opinions here.

As an experienced track day participant who started autocrossing, I learned shuffle-steer and I'm having trouble un-learning it. I'm wondering if I even need to un-learn it, or if it's holding me back from faster times.

I tend to shuffle more when I need a larger steering angle in slower turns and shuffle very little or not at all in turns requiring less angle.

I've heard the arguments about recovery from being out of shape using a fixed 9-3 grip on the steering wheel, which makes some sense. But what I cannot wrap my head around is the argument that fixed grip offers better control to make small corrections when at the limit. (And I am talking about street-based cars with customary steering ratios, not 1:1 steering such as in an open wheeled car.)

Now, I have experimented and I find that when I shuffle steer I keep my hands at around 9-3 (in relation to the car, not the steering wheel) while at maximum g's, and I have much better leverage on the wheel and therefore control.

When I used a fixed grip at 9-3 on the steering wheel, when my hands cross 12 and 6 I find I have LESS, not more, control of the wheel.

So, soliciting a debate here on the pros, cons, tricks and tips, of shuffle vs. fixed grip. Hoping to extract some great info from all the experienced track junkies here. Thanks in advance.

Doug Sr.

davesnavy
intermediate solo poster

98 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2012 :  14:52:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For what it's worth, I shuffle steer, too. I was taught that method in Emergency Vehicle Operations Courses 20 years ago for fire department training. I'm so used to it that I am not even aware I'm doing it until someone points it out - and only a rare few instructors have (and none asked me to stop).

My suggestion is that if the technique is engrained in you (as it is in me) I see no reason to change what is reflexive by now.

I can't see concentrating on a different technique to participate in DE's. I have learned not to shuffle steer for small inputs, i.e., the climbing esses at VIR, but otherwise I drive as is now my habit.

Perhaps if I was racing and looking for every tenth of a second on every lap, then I might consider a change, but even then I'm not convinced I'd see much improvement. It's overall control and technique that help car control, not one single factor - see "heel and toe" next......

Dave Taylor



Mid-Ohio image by Sideline Sports Photography, LLC.

'88 325is S-50 conversion by Sports and Imports, Chesapeake, VA.

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MX5RACER
provisional solo poster

44 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2012 :  14:20:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I cannot see how using shuffle steer is going to be any slower correcting a slide than not using it. If using shuffle steering has never hurt me recovering slide after slide in an autocross setting, where the frequency of the turns is much greater than track driving, why would it hurt recovery speed on track?

Douglas Quara Jr "DJ"
Racing, the only sport that requires the use of two balls!
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adambrouillard
novice poster

14 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2012 :  21:33:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I love questions like this. I think for basically fast driving you can probably get away with shuffle steering, but for limit driving especially in a twitchier race prepped car, I'm going to have to say there is no way around standard 9-3 driving.

I don't really see any positives of shuffle steering that can't be overcome and a couple negatives. I would agree that being able to keep your hands at 9-3 all the time would give you better control over small corrections, but I think it more greatly hinders your ability to make big corrections. You can develop the ability to make small corrections with one hand while doing typical 9-3 steering. You use your top hand for control, even when it's your left on top.

If you have to do a big correction on a tight corner, you have to very quickly spin the wheel back the other way sometimes and if this was even possible if you had repositioned your hands, your arms would be completely crossed up when you needed the sensitivity the most. Then you have to spin it back to "home" very quickly, and you would basically have to look at the steering wheel to find out where "home" is.

For anything less than a tight corner I wouldn't see much reason to reposition your hands anyway, as that would just add an extra layer of confusion while you are basically trying to walk a tighrope.

Not to mention that you develop a certain amount of muscle memory with a car of where the steering wheel needs to be to correct a certain angle.

Here's a video of Colin Mcrae rally driving, a perfect example of lots of small and big corrections. If someone could effectively do this while constantly moving their hands on the wheel I would be very impressed. I've never seen a video of limit driving with shuffle steering, but if anyone finds any please post. When I say limit, I mean balanced handling, not just understeering around every corner.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTUviCzqovw&feature=related

http://adamstechshed.com/ -Setup and Driving Tips
www.hollingsworthrg.com -Atlanta Property Management

Edited by - adambrouillard on 04/23/2012 21:46:56
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dquarasr
provisional solo poster

28 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2012 :  22:17:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow. I'm speechless. Just, wow.

Colin crashed about 100 times in that run, but obviously didn't crash. I'm totally impressed. I need to grow some attachments.

Def gonna try to learn fixed 9-3 grip. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for posting that link.
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DaveA
just got my forum ID

2 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2012 :  00:33:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Given that the original question was about street-based cars with customary steering ratios (and likely wheel-mounted airbags), I thought that shuffle-steering would be recommended for the following reasons:

1. Keeping a 9-3 fixed grip on the wheel results in severe arm crossover and even impossible arm arrangements on tighter/slower corners, given the street steering ratio.

2. Preventing arm crossover in case of an airbag deployment to avoid severe injury to arms, shoulders, and face.

Any comments on those two thoughts?

DaveA
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csr
novice poster

18 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2012 :  09:14:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is really no debate. Do whatever feels better for you.

You want to be in a balance position where you can act quickly. That involves not only your hand position but the grip, arms, and shoulder readiness.

You want to act without thinking. You want to concentrate on driving. Your hand position, how you are braking, how you are shifting all should be automatic and not divert your attention away from what is important.

In an emergency situations, do whatever is necessary to recover. Sometimes, it means letting go of the steering wheel for a quick return to center. Other times, it may be you might have to use your palm on the wheel one hand rotation. It's better than crashing.
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The management
admin/chief tire changer

1012 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2012 :  18:42:51  Show Profile  Visit The management's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Great conversation... I've seen very successful drivers that practice both... CSR is right about doing what's best for your style. Yet, at the highest levels of professional motorsports, 9-3/10-2 is universal. You won't find full-time sports car professionals using shuffle steering...

The concept of using shuffle steering to prevent arm injury in case of air bag deployment is really arcane and self-defeating. Driving technique should be chosen based on what yields best performance. The emphasis is on car control and crash avoidance, not on preventing injury in case of a crash....

LOVE that WRC vid, Adam... wow, a reminder that we're mere mortals...

Drive Well, The management
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dquarasr
provisional solo poster

28 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2012 :  21:14:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For the last week or so I've been driving on the street using fixed 9-3. While it is very early in this experiment, I am trying to make it as second nature as shuffle steer. So far, so good, however, it does feel strange. I am finding that I do not have the precision I have compared to shuffling, which I've used since I learned it at least 23-24 years ago when I first started autocrossing. I also find it's very distracting having to think about it rather than where I want the car to be.

I find that so far with the fixed 9-3 my hands are faster than with shuffle. Of course I'm working on that to slow them down but it's going to take some time.

What I have found is that indeed, fixed 9-3 does offer a bit more speed to make the fine corrections needed when on the limit. Now, if I can slow my hands down on corner entry using fixed 9-3, I think it will be OK.

DJ and I are signed up for Sebring in June, which, except for the hairpin, doesn't have any turns I can think of that would result in highly crossed arms, so, I hope to be comfortable by then to try fixed 9-3 for at least a few sessions that weekend. Maybe after doing both Saturday and Sunday at that event I can have a good feeling for whether I would want to continue to pursue adding this technique to the skills toolbox.

Thanks for all your replies. The Colin McRae video was pretty compelling.

Doug Sr.
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Car54
novice poster

10 Posts

Posted - 05/01/2012 :  16:07:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To help slowing your hands down at corner entry focus on using your hand that is going down to be the power hand and using your opposite hand to correct when necessary.

This allows you use the correction hand (connected to the shoulder muscles) to sense an over-steer.

Using the pull down method uses your back muscles which are larger and shouldn't fatigue.

I am also a locked on 9/3 proponent. I usually don't try to correct my students until I see them either touch hands or consistently load up one hemisphere of the wheel.
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Resaca rattlesnake
novice poster

18 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2012 :  17:21:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If i would have been the passenger with colin mcrae i would have crapped and peed all over myself then passed out, but it makes me want to find a dirt road!

Blue boss 302
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dquarasr
provisional solo poster

28 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2012 :  21:23:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Update:

Ok, so I have two events under my belt now switching from shuffle to fixed grip. It was less of a change than I expected. During the first couple of weeks on the street it was difficult to change; I kept nicking the curbs slightly since my hands were *just* a bit faster than with shuffle steer, but after I got over that fixed grip became natural.

I have two events now using fixed grip and I can say that it's as fast (if not faster) and I feel comfortable with it now. And importantly, I feel more comfortable going 9- or 10/10ths because I know it's more intuitive to make corrections. At Sebring this weekend I was able to record a personal best, not necessarily because of fixed grip by itself, but more because of the confidence that an out-of-shape condition would be easier to recover from.

So, this experiment is working out well.
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Car54
novice poster

10 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2012 :  11:30:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great update!

Last Saturday I corrected my student from 10:30/1:30 hand position to 9 and 3 and he was hooked and so much smoother instantly. He had similar comments to you...it's more confidence inspiring because you no longer have to deal with hand placement, just steering wheel angle and you know where your hands are at all times.

Kudos to you for trying new things and having success!
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