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Sports Car Newbie

Old 12-12-2008, 07:22 PM
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Sports Car Newbie

Greetings all!

I've been lurking for months now since I bought my RX8. I love the car. That said, I bought a dirty automatic (boo!) since I don't know how to drive a manual transmission. I figure it would be a good transition car into the world of sport driving and it fit well into my budget at the time, since it has the sport shift thingy for manual mode after I learn. I have a couple of questions for Dallas natives in particular:

1) Can anyone recommend a good driving school here in Dallas that can a) teach me to drive manual, and b) teach me some high speed safety and handling courses? The ones I have found using a google search have not seemed very reputable based on their websites.

2) I've actually never autocrossed, or what have you, but I do enjoy driving fast and I love taking corners with my car. Consider me clueless here, but I don't know the first thing about where to go, what kind of prerequesites I need to have, or certifications (if any) I need to 'go to the track'. My weekends have been pretty bland, and I figure I could have tons of fun participating in these kinds of events. If someone could shed some light on what to do here, that would be great.

I figure once I get used to tracking this car, it will be more natual for the upgraded cars down the line (I plan on upgrading to a Lotus Exige after my RX8 is through - so hot).

Also, on an unrelated note, I'm left wondering why Mazda or Lotus isnt using the Rotary Engine in a small car like that. One of the major strengths of the engine type is how light it is in comparison, and for a weight saving company like lotus they could see some real benefit from the technology imo (but what do I know).
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:31 PM
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First off, it's not like you will be able to drive a manual with your auto. You can put it into a "semi-manual" type mode.
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:40 AM
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You are correct - an auto even with the paddle shifters will not replicate a manual transmission. From what I understand though, the difficulty of a manual transmission is not the physical operation of the pedal + shift, but more a question of when and what gear to select. If I am incorrect, please set me straight.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:15 AM
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There converse of what you said is true The hardest part is engaging first gear. After that, everything is easy. You can basically shift whenever you want to. It's all about the feel usually.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:33 PM
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Yeah, the hardest part about learning a stick is to actually get the car moving, after you get that down, the rest is just practice. Shifting the car is not hard, especially on ours, neither is learning when to shift. Thing is after you got the car moving down, alot of shifting/down shifting is personal prefrence for daily driving.
I like to shift around 4k rpm, on daily, but others shift at 5-6k. Personally, I dont think you will learn a thing about sticks through paddles because so much of learning a stick is is the clutch and the gas.(ie when its engaged, when its not, and how to use it to best affect) (not saying that I am a great driver by any means, this is just my opinion)

As far as your track question, dont know, havent been to any. There is a guy out here thats been some tho (goes by 987HYS on the forums). He's told me that you can request people to sit in on you when you go out on the track and they can give you tips etc. Id take a guess that most track people would be pretty nice. My motto is that it never hurts to ask

PS are you a gamer by any chance?

Last edited by Riley Craven; 12-14-2008 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:20 PM
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Indeed, I am.

I actually have *just* quit World of Warcraft, which is why I'm looking for something else to do with my free time.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Admiral_Sjet View Post
Indeed, I am.

I actually have *just* quit World of Warcraft, which is why I'm looking for something else to do with my free time.
WotLK didn't keep you entertained? hehe

My first manual I learned to drive was my pickup when I bought it. If you've ever played a racing game that has shifting involved, then you will have as much of an idea as I did. All in all, it's not hard to learn.

Don't let em give you crap though just because you have an auto. As long as you love your car and learn it, you can still have fun with it and show up some of those manuals. Just ask the folks that went on the Kerrville trip a couple months back.
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:01 AM
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look, u don't need driving school, just go to autocross, and be respectful, and know that u are going to suck. and slowly and surely u'll get better. sit in other ppl's car on their 1st run to learn tips and tricks and feels. driving fast in autocross is all about smoothness of the input


SLower is FASTER.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:07 AM
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Welcome to the 8 community! Here are a few quick links to some driving schools/events that can help you learn the performance side of your car. I started autocrossing my 8 about 2 years ago and can never seem to get enough of it. Autocross is a great place to start. It is relativity inexpensive, local, and events occur regularly. There area few local tracks where that host driving events that have 1-on-1 instruction that would be beneficial once you learned the basics.

Autocross:
http://www.autocross.com/texasregion
http://mav.pca.org/Events/AX.asp
http://www.dfwmiata.com/component/op...dar/Itemid,66/

Driving Schools:
http://www.thedriversedge.net/
http://www.apexdrivingacademy.com/

If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Admiral_Sjet View Post
Indeed, I am.

I actually have *just* quit World of Warcraft, which is why I'm looking for something else to do with my free time.
I am and always will be a fan of Homeworld... which is where I am assuming your forum name came from.

I played Eve-online for about 4 years, and then sold about half my accounts and stuff and built a new computer with the proceeds. Playing Lord of the rings online at the moment.

Personally I think finding a different game would be a cheaper solution for your problem

PS I also am involved with a small local halo group that has halo nights from 6-10 once a month
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:42 PM
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go check out skip barber racing school...
you can drive on a track, and do auto-X all you want, but with out real driving instruction your never going to learn how to drive properly. lets face it your not just going to magically know how to threshold brake heal-toe double clutch into a hair pin.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:05 PM
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i don't ever get it, why double clutch, just hold clutch down and rev the engine to match is good enough imo.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:50 AM
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double clutching saves your syncros, creates less friction. when your going from 5th to 2nd gear, your not just going to coast while slowing down...
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:25 AM
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Driving a manual is the same as riding a 6-speed bicycle, except the engine of the latter being your legs/lungs, etc. and the gearshift being... well, the gearshift. It's all about anticipating when to shift for the upcoming need, e.g. downshift prior to going up a steep hill or entering a highway from an onramp, coming down a steep hill, or when slowing at an offramp, etc. Upshift when accelerating and you've used all the current gear can give you.

That was of course simplistic, but valid none the less.

As others have said, starting off in 1st is the most difficult to learn, just as it was on the bicycle (but not that tough), piece o' cake otherwise.

I'm sure you can handle it if you keep the ol' bicycle analogy in mind.

Originally Posted by Admiral_Sjet View Post
You are correct - an auto even with the paddle shifters will not replicate a manual transmission. From what I understand though, the difficulty of a manual transmission is not the physical operation of the pedal + shift, but more a question of when and what gear to select. If I am incorrect, please set me straight.

Last edited by Huey52; 12-16-2008 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Admiral_Sjet View Post
Also, on an unrelated note, I'm left wondering why Mazda or Lotus isnt using the Rotary Engine in a small car like that. One of the major strengths of the engine type is how light it is in comparison, and for a weight saving company like lotus they could see some real benefit from the technology imo (but what do I know).
There was a time that Mazda equipped all it's cars with a rotary engine. Everything from a small coupe to a station wagon to a pickup (Piston motors go boing-boing-boing. Mazda motors go hummmmm.). That practice ended in the late 70's. Probably due to the less than optimum gas mileage of the rotary engine.

Many SCCA regions have autocross schools at the beginning of the racing season. Check your local region's website to see if they hold one. Or maybe a near by region.
I went to the Skip Barber Racing School before I started racing. It is expensive but worth it if you want to actually race. If you are just going to HPDE's and track days, get involved with NASA (the race guys, not the space guys). You will get free instruction on you first day there and instructor ride alongs.

Last edited by alnielsen; 12-16-2008 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:47 AM
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A Lotus Elise, given its ultra light weight, would really scream with a rotary.

Originally Posted by Admiral_Sjet View Post
Also, on an unrelated note, I'm left wondering why Mazda or Lotus isnt using the Rotary Engine in a small car like that. One of the major strengths of the engine type is how light it is in comparison, and for a weight saving company like lotus they could see some real benefit from the technology imo (but what do I know).
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:26 AM
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why drop a rotary in a lotus? just buy a formula mazda
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:07 PM
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I started off like you Admirel_Sjet. I bought an auto RX8 and then 3 months or so later bought a 6-speed. Funny thing is, I had never really driven a standard in my life! So the car salesman dropped the car off at my work and I did the paperwork there. Took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to reverse... hahaha. I drove around a parking lot for a while and then headed to the 8 meet in grapevine.. about 15 miles away or so. I was too worried about learning to drive a standard also when I bought the first one.
It's pretty difficult to learn for your first time but it's A LOT more fun once you get it down. I found that I would have done a lot better if I hadn't been so afraid to push down the accelerator more. Anyway, welcome to the club. What color did you get? Have you looked into Warhammer online? I'm currently playing that on the Dark Crag server.
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by arlingtonrx8 View Post
I started off like you Admirel_Sjet. I bought an auto RX8 and then 3 months or so later bought a 6-speed. Funny thing is, I had never really driven a standard in my life! So the car salesman dropped the car off at my work and I did the paperwork there. Took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to reverse... hahaha. I drove around a parking lot for a while and then headed to the 8 meet in grapevine.. about 15 miles away or so. I was too worried about learning to drive a standard also when I bought the first one.
It's pretty difficult to learn for your first time but it's A LOT more fun once you get it down. I found that I would have done a lot better if I hadn't been so afraid to push down the accelerator more. Anyway, welcome to the club. What color did you get? Have you looked into Warhammer online? I'm currently playing that on the Dark Crag server.
Had my first "set" of instruction today. I've got the general idea of how to drive it now, but I just need time to get the muscle memory right. A Civic has a featherlight throttle - barely pushing the accelerator gives me 2K rpms. Starting from a complete stop is a bit touch and go right now (more like peel out or stall), but once I'm actually driving, it's cake to shift gears.

I have a greater appreciation for automatic now than before though. Whoever created the technology was a genius.

1) Sunlight Silver
2) I'm taking a break from MMOs right now. I started WoW in 2004, and played for 4 years continuously. Quitting was literally one of the hardest things for me to do, since you will basically never talk to a lot of the people you played with online ever again. This week in particular has been... odd to say the least. I've been wondering what to do with my free time since I havent played this week - it feels a lot like Detox. I was very addicted (skipping college classes, taking off from work etc). Diablo 3 will probably be the next PC game I buy.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Admiral_Sjet View Post
I'm taking a break from MMOs right now. I started WoW in 2004, and played for 4 years continuously. Quitting was literally one of the hardest things for me to do, since you will basically never talk to a lot of the people you played with online ever again. This week in particular has been... odd to say the least. I've been wondering what to do with my free time since I havent played this week - it feels a lot like Detox. I was very addicted (skipping college classes, taking off from work etc). Diablo 3 will probably be the next PC game I buy.
Easy solution for that is to play with people you already know. There's a group of us at my work that all play together and everyone in the guild is known IRL by at least one other member. Makes it a pretty friendly group, whether you're raiding or getting together for a happy hour.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:57 PM
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nobody quits WoW... nobody.

I'll make it to a meet one day.... if nothings going on in WoW....
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