Transient Response 6.3- Final Answer

How much does transient response really contribute to Saving Time on the autocross course? Time to answer that question.

Turns out we already have what we need to get a first-cut approximation. Back in Transient Response 5, if you’ll recall, I found out three things.

Thing 1: All typical slaloms, no matter the length between cones, take almost exactly the same time in the gaps between cones for a given car

…therefore it doesn’t matter what size slalom we get data from, as long as the spacing is consistent, or we average over enough different designs

Thing 2: I showed data for my BS Corvette that indicated 1.05s between cones

Thing 3: I showed data for a Street Prepared car that indicated 0.98s between cones.

I think we can safely conclude that any properly prepared Street Touring car will be similar, on average, because of the similar amount of suspension preparation allowed (springs and bushings) which I think are the key factors. Car to car variations can be big, of course.

So, we now have all we need except one thing: how many gaps between slalom cones are there on a typical autocross course? If we count them up we can calculate a first-cut approximation.

Here’s the map for the 2019 Nats East course with the slalom gaps counted.

East count

Figure 1- 2019 East Course Slalom Gap Count

I get 15 slalom cone gaps. Multiply this number by the difference between the Street time number and the ST/SP time number gives 15 x (1.05s – 0.98s) = 1.05s

Here’s the 2019 Nats West Course counted:

West count

Figure 2- 2019 West Course Slalom Gap Count

I count 14 slalom cone gaps. So, 14 x (1.05s – 0.98s) = 0.98s.

Both results are right at 1 second.

Assuming these courses are typical I conclude that the increased transient response of ST and SP classes over Street classes is worth about 1 second on a Solo Nationals course. I think this result is exclusive of weight differences, power differences or grip differences to any great extent. Just transient response. It’s also conservative in that it doesn’t take into account the gain into each standard corner where a high TR car can turn in later, thus extending the previous straight.

I really don’t know what to make of this. I don’t know if it’s more or less than I expected or more or less than generally understood. Let me know what you think.

Also, I’d love for people to post their data for average time between slalom cones along with the car and prep level. If we could create such a database we might have something very useful.

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