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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question for the guys actively running solo events.

Have you ever done runs on the same course using Competition mode and then with TC completely off?

Curious as to how much it affects times. My inclination if I were racing a Solstice on a road course would be to remove all controls, and play toss and catch myself in the corners, but I wonder just how much having some stability control might affect times.
 

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The only times I have *not* turned everything off is during wet events. I find that having the TC/ESC on prevents some of the on-throttle oversteer that easily comes on a wet surface. Someday I'll be a better driver and can go without in the wet.

In the dry, I turn everything off. All the way. Hit the button twice and then hold down for about 5 seconds to completely disable ESC and TC. Even Competition Mode is too invasive in an auto-x situation when you want to be able to force the car to do certain things that the aids would not allow. On a road course I would probably start in Competition Mode and see where it starts to activate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, that's useful input.

Question is whether a driver or the ECM can better control cornering in a sliding mode without affecting times. Your answer for medium (solo) speeds is the driver.
 

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AutoCross and a road coarse are pretty different. AutoCross tends to have some crazy tight low speed turns which you won't see on a road coarse.

For me, in Auto Cross, I preferred having all nanny controls off, because in Auto Cross, if the computer takes over, it can induce under steer and that can seriously cost you time on some of the lower speed 180 turns. This is why a lot of people in Auto Cross run heavier rear sway bars and tune their coil overs to be stiffer in the rear. Getting through a turn faster without drifting really helps in the times. I tried both a couple of events and found my times, once I improved in skill, were better with everything off.

On the street, however, with my current HP, I prefer Competition mode. I have enough power to spin the rear wheels with all Nanny controls on. As such, I kind of like how the computer occasionally saves me from myself and helps when I enter a turn a little too aggressive. It sets me up to power out of the apex under control in a more neutral fashion and I can add over steer with the gas pedal.

So for me, I would start in competition mode on a road course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I watched a feature on the Mercedes SLS that highlighted the effectiveness of their stability control and indicated that the car was perhaps faster using it than not, which got me wondering about what we have. Of course the Mercedes unit probably cost more than a whole Kappa....
 

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I see this going much the way of ABS, where people originally claimed, and believed, that they could out-brake the computer. Now it is pretty much accepted that, except for some specific and limited conditions, the computers do a better job. Part of the change is due to improved technology, but I think most is due to acceptance of reality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You may be right. I think you are about ABS if it is properly implemented - I experimented with the first anti lock-up methods way back in the 1970s and later with proper ABS found that the cycling was slower than driver modulation could be, but aside from that, you may be right in principal.

I have concerns about how they might affect techniques like trailing braking coming up to the apex of a corner to settle the suspension.

In the end, with a good system, though, I do agree with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)

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Top Gear UK had Sabine Schmitz drive an Audi R8 with and without the nanny controls.

I can't remember which time was better.

I owned an SLK and I am not sure if this is the case with other Mercedes, but the SLK would not let you turn off the nanny controls.
 

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I think a lot of it would boil down to "can" vs "will". Under ideal conditions a totally focused (and extremely competent) driver probably can outdrive the computer. Since conditions are rarely ideal, and drivers are not consistently totally focused, the computer normally will outdrive the driver.

Also, just as with ABS, technique is everything. If you drive an ABS-equipped car as if it doesn't have it you will make things significantly worse. The same is likely true with stability control.
 

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I've skimmed a few of this guy's articles, and I'm not quite sold on his viewpoints. In one article he comes very close to defending distracted driving. Another uses some slightly questionable science and personal anecdotes rather than full on facts to convince readers that anything hanging from a rearview mirror is a major hazard. There's a valid point hidden in each of his articles, but it seems to be completely overridden by a biased preconception.

I like driving with no driver aids. The first cars I drove didn't have traction control, ABS, hell, I didn't experience power steering until I'd been driving for three years. I like that feeling, and I enjoy not having a computer question my actions. I learned to drive quickly by slowly, gingerly ramping up my speed, taking the corner a bit quicker, testing the limit a bit more. It took time to learn to be any good. I wouldn't call myself a great driver by any means, but if I'm taking my car out on a track day, the whole point of doing so is to learn how to control my car better. So when I know the only thing I can damage is myself and my own property, the nannies are coming off.

Having taught several people how to drive, I can still see his perspective even if I don't agree. Some people want to start testing limits right off. When I taught my roommate to drive, overconfidence on her part made for a nerve wracking experience. On a track, I can imagine that would be even worse. That said, as an instructor you accept the risks of driving with an inexperienced driver, be it on the track or on the street. I'd rather learn the student, and know whether they're going to take foolish risks, than place my faith in the computer to teach them what to do.

When I took my roommate out for the first time, she triggered my Grand Am's ETS almost right off by not being smooth on the pedal. The computer made it feel smooth, and immediately instilled the bad habit of jamming on the go pedal. I had to fix that. I took her out to a quiet stretch, switched off the ETC, and watched as she lit up the front tires from a stop. Suddenly, the REASON for being smooth on throttle application was crystal clear.
 

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On my Challenger, when I turn on Track Mode, I have the ability to decide how much or how little the TC and ESC work. I can set them each individually in 25% intervals (light, medium, moderate or full) and of course completely off. I of course have the TC set to off, but have left the ESC to 50% thinking that if I get too far out of shape, the ESC will work it's magic and bring my rear end back in-line. I really didn't realize how much power the car had till I was trying to brake torque it one day and it immediately smoked the tires.... And lets not even talk about setting the electronic torque converter rpm "line-lock". But....back to the topic. In the Cadillac CTS ('12) the car would actually hang it's rear end out when you were using comp mode. Even if you were only doing 40mph and got the rear loose, it would allow you smoke the wheels and keep the rear hung out till it sensed you going in a straight line. That feature was awesome! I actually remember watching a program on the ESC with Derek Daly in a Corvette and he was quicker then the car in comp mode.
 
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