The most interesting autocross video I’ve ever seen is a split screen of Matthew Braun and Geoff Walker, both driving Geoff’s S2000CR in STR on day 2 of the 2014 Wilmington Championship Tour. You can find it here on youtube.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet both of these guys and I can tell you they are both great drivers and great persons. Many of you know, or know of, Matthew. He’s been a fixture on the national circuit for a long time with (I think) two jackets and many Nationals trophies. Geoff, from nearby Nashville, is a very solid up-and-comer that I’ve been chasing for years. He and Matthew drove Geoff’s car in STR last year at Nationals. Both trophied, with Matthew in 2nd and Geoff only 0.6s (over two days) back in 8th. On to the video.
I’ve seen some side-by-side comparisons, but I’ve never seen anything done quite as well as this. Matthew is on the top half of the screen, Geoff on bottom half. The action is shown at about half-speed, so you have time to take in what’s happening. (Still, I’ve watched it countless times.) At three points along the way the video stops, the car behind is allowed to catch up and the delta time and total elapsed time is displayed. Really cool.
But the driving, Holy Toledo Pro-Solo! There may have never been as good a comparison of two very different styles. Geoff is smooth as butter. The car is always in perfect position. And, believe me, he is fast! Matthew is a wild man by comparison, but utterly perfect. The first ten seconds is enough to tell the story. Go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait right here.
Each of the offset cones in the first 10 seconds of the run is the same story, and really is the story. Matthew is traveling faster, turning the wheel much faster, farther and earlier (has to be earlier because his velocity is greater) and the back end slides out approaching each cone. Then he counter-steers, catches the tail while hitting the throttle and zooms on to the next cone. Meanwhile Geoff is smooth and controlled with, near as I can tell, very little sliding going on. (I’ve seen Geoff slide that S2000CR, so I know he is sometimes more ragged, but not here. Maybe he was, for whatever reason, just being slightly safe on that run. I don’t know. I’ve been wanting to ask him but he hasn’t been racing much this year.) After 11.7 seconds on-course, Matthew is 0.265s ahead. Matthew’s total lead over Geoff on day 1 was less than 0.265 seconds.
The two drive almost exactly the same line, in the same car, on the same tires, yet by the end Matthew is over 0.8 seconds in front. The only “mistake” I see anywhere is that Geoff gets a little late in the slalom around 13 seconds into the run. Just a little bit. But, you can see it costs him some time as the slalom ends and Matthew gets on the throttle earlier.
Go watch it again!