Doing these 5 things will make you a better bandolero race car driver.
What 5 things will make me a better bandolero race car driver?
Buckle Up, We are about to explain to you a few of the basics that have brought us multiple championships and dozens and dozens of podium finishes with multiple drivers. Follow this advice and you will be a better Bandolero race car driver.
1. Know and communicate exactly what your car is doing during hot laps and testing:
Racing lingo and communication might sound easy, or anyone can do it – that is not always the case. Sometimes a new
person does not understand what their car is doing, and then what’s harder than that at times is explaining it to someone else. Racing has a specific vocabulary that helps people chat. You can find an explanation of terms by clicking HERE. If you and your crew chief used the same terms when communicating back and forth, things will be easier. Don’t be afraid to tell your crew chief everything you think as completely as you can. Sometimes its hard to explain things to adults – at times they finish your sentences for you. As a parent if you are reading this, and are the crew chief, make sure you ask open-ended questions and then listen – don’t answer. (An open-ended question is one that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no) For example “Tell me what it feels like in the seat of your pants when you enter the turn?” is an open-ended question. Your driver cannot answer that with a yeah, or no. Listen and be patient. Communication with an adult can be intimidating – especially with the emotional investment we have in these cars. It’s frustrating when the car doesn’t handle properly. People feel the need to assign a blame, sometimes to a person. That’s not what we are after. We are doing our little science experiment each hot lap session. All we are seeking is accurate data. The better you can get that info, without interruption, the quicker you will understand what is happening with your car. At times, a reason for non – communication is not understanding pushing vs loose. You can help your driver in 2 ways very quickly. They need to understand what they are, pushing – front is gonna hit the fence first, loose – tail is gonna hit the fence first. That’s a simple explanation, but an 8-year-old can understand it. Useful tools as a parent to help you understand are pretty simple in relative costs of a Bandolero or any race car. 1. Bright tape on the exact 12 o’clock position of the steering wheel. The bright colored tape will help you and your driver be able to understand what is happening in the seat. If the tape is bright enough, a knowledgeable observer can see it from the fence, while the car is on the track at speed. If the tape is from 11 to 12 o’clock the car is neutral. The more it tends to 10 or 9 o’clock, the car is pushing. The driver is having to apply more steering input to the left to compensate for the slip at the front tires. If the car is at 12 or past, the car is trending loose. The driver is having to provide additional steering input to the right, to
compensate for the additional slip at the rear tires. 2 is a go pro or similar camera mounted in the driver’s compartment where you can see the drivers hands on the camera and hear the application of throttle. This will verify what your lying eyes can be telling you from the outside of the car. It will also be a useful to for your driver to view what they were having to do inside the car to compensate for ill handling. Communication will make you a better bandolero race car driver.
2. Observe further on down the track surface and not over top of your front bumper:
If a driver is beginning new from day one, a habit we instill in them is observing whats going on multiple car lengths
ahead of them. We place a tape marker at the centerline of the windshield on the outside edge. When your driver is in the car, their eyes should always be on that tape line or higher. Their peripheral vision will take care of the nearby stuff.
It’s just how we are wired. If a car is spinning 6 car lengths ahead and you see it, you have a chance to avoid it. If you
are concentrating on the back bumper of the car ahead, you will not see it and can get collected in it. Personally, we have been on the sour end of this. We had a track record car get collected. We had a very free, or trending loose setup in our car. We had a substantial lead in an open track. 1/4 lap ahead of the field. Our driver should have backed off a little, but youthful enthusiasm had him wanting to put a spanking on the field. The car got away from him and he spun. A full 2 1/2 seconds later – in an open track, we got t-boned. It wrecked our car. We still were able to win the championship long term, but the set-ups needed in the car changed, and we never found out why. All of this was the result of a driver not being away what was happening 1/4 of the way down the track. This type of accident should be avoidable. Sadly it’s a regular occurrence. If you watch Bandolero movies on YouTube, at every track bandolero’s run, you’ll see these types of avoidable accidents. It hurts when you are on the receiving end, and it hurts when you unintentionally wreck someone, who you might have avoided if you’d been looking ahead. The big dividends that looking down the track provide is the ability to set up the competition. Pick moves, and being in the right place to pass, because you can see what is going to happen ahead before everyone else, is a huge advantage. Make sure you use it and your chances to win will increase dramatically. Being observant will make you a better bandolero race car driver.
3. Do not be asleep on re-starts!
Passing cars in racing is a challenge, at any level. It is hard. It is really, really, really sad to see that hard work
obtained passing a car, that could have taken 4 or 5 laps get all washed away with a poor re-start. As a driver, you need
to be anticipating the start. Make yourself the restart king or queen. The quicker that you understand this philosophy,
the more positions you will gain or retain, because other people don’t pay attention. In bandolero’s they take a bit to
respond, especially if they are on restrictor plates. You need to plan ahead. You need to be in the throttle a few car
lengths before the planned start essentially. You need to view a flagman’s tendencies. If he displays the green at mid-turn or the apex, you need to be full throttle a couple car lengths ahead of that point. If you are on a restrictor plate,
you have very slow throttle response. It will take you a few car lengths to get rolling. Plan ahead. When you are on that
throttle, be ready to turn under or sail around the outside of the person ahead if they were asleep. It’s far better to
get an occasional start called back because of going early, than to consistently lose places on a start. It’s up to your
philosophy personally. If you want to be on the winning end of races, you always need to be sharp. As a parent, we need to plan ahead starting the day before. Make sure that your driver has properly eaten a balanced meal the night before, or even carb loaded a little. Make sure they drink enough water the day before, and on race day. It’s how they mentally stay in the game. Our trailer is the social hub of the track for the kids. We bring food and snacks. Before the races, we keep the snacks healthy when possible. Kid’s are going to gravitate towards sugar. We try and have lots of alternatives and monitor the treats. A driver crashing from a sugar high in the pits, is not going to be crisp in the car, and more likely to be asleep at the wheel. Racing days at times are long and hot. If we plan ahead, we can take advantages of these situations. I was always proud of my son Zach on restarts. A friend told him once to picture himself as Captain Jack Sparrow, fleeing the Islanders. Zach had a visual picture of this and enjoyed it a lot. He won a lot of features by his ability to flee his pursuers on a restart. Being alert will make you a better bandolero race car driver.
4. Never underestimate the benefit of being smooth as a driver.
Bandoleros are restricted horsepower race cars. If this is beginning to sound like a reoccurring theme, it’s because it
is. We are dealing with very low horsepower so we don’t want to give any away. Every single steering input we put in the car scrubs off speed. We need to work hard at getting a neutral setup. After that, we work on being super smooth. driving in arcs that do not take a lot of wheel input. You can feel it in the car. The shortest way around the track, that doesn’t bog the car down will be the fastest. If you stopwatch laps,(and you always should)you will notice, that when a bobble in the steering wheel occurs, it takes at least a 10th of a second off every lap. The more bubbles, or sawing at the wheel, the slower the lap will be. If you are bobbling or sawing at the wheel, and your competition is not, you will be going backward compared to them, instead of forwards. Smooth and consistent wins races. Jerking the wheel because you see an open spot, may look dramatic, but it’s not how the pro’s drive. If you would have smoothly made that move, you’d of made the pass quicker. Being smooth, makes everyone think you have a big motor. It’s because lap after lap, you are faster. It’s simple math. If you complete the race, with the fewest bobbles, and everything else is equal, you’re going to be tenths of a lap ahead at the end of a feature. Being smooth will make you a better bandolero race car driver.
5. Protect your car at all costs.
The quickest way to take a track record car from the front of the race to the back is to bend a component on the front or
rear end. A car with a bent front suspension is going to scrub off corner speed. It drags them down, you can hear the
difference in the rpms. Much of this is avoidable with driving style. Racing movies on tv, are not real life racing. cole
trickle bouncing off walls and other cars makes for dramatic viewing, but cole never raced a bandolero – which is designed to absorb energy to prevent injury. The spindles are designed to fold up. The heims are designed to bend up. The axles are designed to bend. (in relation to bumping and banging) This keeps all that force from an impact from injuring a driver. They are easily repairable after being bent, but while they are bent – they are not fast. If you want to win, and win by a big margin, keep your car and your style clean, and your lap times will be faster and more consistent. This is probably the most important point in this article. Bent wheels, bent tie rods, bent spindles, bent axles, bumpers dragging and getting black flagged, panels rubbing, chains being thrown, have resulted in more race losses than any other reason a driver can give. Banging your car on stuff can put binds in the suspension that you just can’t find right away. Binds make you push or loose. If you are a clean, side by side racer – you will have higher finishing averages. The driver that bulldozes, will never know really how good they could have actually been, with a faster, unbent car. If anyone in the pits is talking to you about Bandolero racing, and they say “rubbing is racing” as a joke – they probably don’t understand bandolero chassis and racing. Just smile – because you know better and you have an advantage over that guy. A rub that bends a spindle and gives you a 1/2 inch of toe – is a fast trip to the back of the pack or worse a dnf. Don’t be that driver. Your likelihood for a podium finish is car lengths ahead of the driver that is rough. Protecting your car will make you a better bandolero race car driver
In conclusion we hope that you have enjoyed these things we have learned. In the future, we are going to be releasing a
book with dozens of helpful tips and setup advice. If you have an interest in those types of things, make sure you get on
our email list so we can notify you of its release! See you at the races!