The Art of Road Racing
winning insights for club racers

Welcome to The Art of Road Racing blog! Here you will find winning knowledge and wisdom for the club racer. Find recent articles below and curated categories in the menu. Popular articles are: the Thunderhill Long Course Guide, Predictive Lap Timers, and The Dive Bomb.

We are just getting started, so check back regularly or subscribe to keep up with new content. Enjoy!

Thunderhill 5 mile course

In 2014 SCCA and NASA raced the Thunderhill 5 mile course that combines the east and west loops. As these were the first races ever on the west loop, everyone was puzzling out the line, which made it especially fun.

Start by studying this video of Mark Drennan’s smoking 3:39 qualifying lap. Note the RumbleStrip delta lap timer that shows you where Mark improves in his successive laps.


The dive bomb

The dive bomb is a dangerously optimistic pass attempt that often leads to bent metal and sharp words. Why does it happen? How can you avoid being that guy? How should you defend against it? That’s the topic here. Consider the following example from the SCCA licensing school involving novice racers.

Fortunately this one did not end in tears thanks to the victim’s heads up driving.

The anatomy of a dive bomb

A dive bomb is the result of optimism, often from an inexperienced driver. This is the usual sequence of events:


Thunderhill long course

This is a great video for learning the Thunderhill long course. Phillip Holifield, three time SFR Spec Miata champ, is driving. His car was a little under powered that weekend, and he finishes behind the yellow 52. But you can see that he’s using the full track and catching up on the twisties. This is a great example of working the line.


Video - a winning tool

A video camera is your most valuable tool for enhancing your enjoyment and progress in racing. It is the first racing tool that you should invest in.

There are more complex graphing type data acquisition systems, and those are helpful too. But they don’t show what’s happening in the car or in the race:

  • Is your great lap time due to catching a draft?
  • Were you slow in that turn because you were being passed?
  • Did you loop it because you hit the berm?

Predictive lap timers

Two tools are especially important in developing your driving skills. Most important is video, which is the subject of a separate article. The next most important tool is predictive lap timing.

Consider you are out there on track, driving like hell, and you are trying to improve your pace. The tires are screeching, you are working the wheel, and your right foot hurts from how hard you are pressing the gas pedal. Your lap times give you some feedback about how you are doing. But how do you know whether to use 2nd or 3rd in a turn? Or whether you are currently on a hot lap? The driver’s subjective impressions are notoriously unreliable. This is where predictive lap timing comes in.