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    Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I just rounded up to GT3 and Lotus.

    Anymore?

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I would say that that depends on your present driving skill. A GT3 would requiere a certain level to be able to extract its potential.

    But in general I would say a car with RDW, manual tranny, not very heavy, sporty suspension-chasis setup, T/C but no permanent ESP, rear weight bias, etc. Both GT3 and Lotus fill that criteria.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    If you want to be a sideways hero take M3
    If you want to be a better driver i suppose a GT3

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I would say an earlier 911 (pre-1989) is a great car to learn in. It took me years to really feel comfortable and I'm still learning to improve after many years. It never gets boring

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    For someone with none or very little track experience a 3 door BMW 130i. It's relatively small, is RWD and packs a good amount of power. After mastering one of those the one should move up to a more powerful car or a more demanding one like a 911.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I think the original Mazda MX5 is a great car for those early years. (I think you call it Miata in the US). One can then progress along the performance car foodchain using the other cars that other posters here have recommended.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    easy_rider911 said:
    I think the original Mazda MX5 is a great car for those early years. (I think you call it Miata in the US).



    Funny, that was the car that inmediately popped in my head when I read the title of the thread too. RWD, nimble and agile, loads of fun to drive, sporty handling, and cheap.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I gotta agree -- a Miata/MX-5 is an outstanding car in this regard.

    In aviation we have a term of "flying ahead of the airplane" which means simply that your focus and attention as the pilot are where the plane is about to be and not where the plane is or (even worse) where the plane just was. Learning to fly or learning to drive both similarly involve this same concept.

    A car like the Miata where all the fundamentals are spot on -- balance, drivetrain, handling, steering feel, and feedback -- is exactly what you need to develop driving skill. However, the limits are relatively low and a car like the Miata is a lot less likely to get ahead of you. This allows you to keep your focus on action and reaction, to stay in tune with what you're doing and what that delivers in the car's position and performance.

    Heck, you might find that you never outgrow the Miata. They're tremendous cars. You might not get as much use out of the back straight as you'd like, but a good driver in a Miata can hang with the best of them in the curves.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Turbo4ever said:
    I just rounded up to GT3 and Lotus.

    Anymore?


    The Elise with its small dimensions and middle engine layout can be tricky at the limit. Aquaplaning is also more pronounced due to the low weight of the car.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    The old 911 where difficult cars to drive with limits that could be easily reached and next thing you know you have crashed. I think if you master driving in an old 911 you can hold your own in most cars.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    ariel atom!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzhRaXKolkc

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    edz61 said:
    The old 911 where difficult cars to drive with limits that could be easily reached and next thing you know you have crashed.



    Sounds like pretty much the opposite of "best car to develop driving skill" to me.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    There are plenty of cars capable of teaching drivers. I personally like the late 2003 MR-2 and 1990s MX-S. But my heart really goes out to my old beloved former car: 1990 325i.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Nugget said:
    Quote:
    edz61 said:
    The old 911 where difficult cars to drive with limits that could be easily reached and next thing you know you have crashed.



    Sounds like pretty much the opposite of "best car to develop driving skill" to me.



    I see your point but I learn faster under difficult circumstances

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Nugget said:
    Quote:
    edz61 said:
    The old 911 where difficult cars to drive with limits that could be easily reached and next thing you know you have crashed.



    Sounds like pretty much the opposite of "best car to develop driving skill" to me.


    Should not be driven near the limit, unless on a safe racetrack. Then spinning "usually" doesn't mean injury to car or driver - just ego.

    You'll never learn the limit without crossing it. Early 911's have excellent communication and controls that will allow the patient student to really hear what the car is telling him and learn to adjust to that feedback - loads of fun and challenge

    It's takes lots of practice, but the goal is to re-train your panic instinct. Instead of jumping off the gas (or on the brake), you need to instinctually add more gas when the car gets loose. Once you learn to do this as a reaction (without thinking) it's easily controlled at any drift angle and nothing is as satisfying at the limit and beyond as an early 911

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Part of learning how to drive well is to find out what happens when you don't.

    A car that is unforgiving at the limits can be a substantial hinderance to this most important aspect of driver education. Similarly, a car that performs "too well" can similarly handicap the learning process.

    To be a good driver you need to know how to take a corner well. But that's less than half the battle -- you also need to know what happens when you don't take that corner well. You need to know what happens if you brake too late and come in too hot. You need to know how to react if the back end starts to come out on you in the middle of the turn. You need to know why it's important to take the right line.

    If you're in a car that's unforgiving at the limit you're not going to learn what happens at (or beyond the limit) and you'll be a worse driver for lacking that experience.

    If you're in a car with boundless torque and power you're never going to really appreciate how important it is to take the right line so that you can carry the most speed possible into the following straight. An Ariel Atom will let you screw up the corner badly and not really notice because the acceleration is so ridiculous. A 1.6L Miata will instill in you a tremendous respect for the proper line, a precision apex, and knowing precisely when you can start to power out of the corner safely. You'll learn a hell of a lot more in the Miata. You can be sloppy and never notice in that Atom.

    A car that's predictable when you screw up is a much better learning tool than a car that's hard-edged and scary at the limit. A Miata that gets "playful" when you cook a corner is a much better learning tool than a '73 RS that's going to punish you like a bitter ex-wife if you come in too hot. How are you ever going to learn the ways a car tells you you're at the limit if you're in a car that won't let you cross that line safely?

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Nugget said:A car that's predictable when you screw up is a much better learning tool than a car that's hard-edged and scary at the limit. A Miata that gets "playful" when you cook a corner is a much better learning tool than a '73 RS that's going to punish you like a bitter ex-wife if you come in too hot. How are you ever going to learn the ways a car tells you you're at the limit if you're in a car that won't let you cross that line safely?


    I beg to differ. A 73RS is VERY predictable at the limit and VERY controllable, once you learn proper rear-engined driving techniques. Of course, it's not recommended to be tried on anything but a wide track on a slow corner to begin.

    I also think that a driver who can master an early 911 will have no problem driving a Miata fast in short order, but a Miata racer may be totally out of his depth when trying a 911 for the first time

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Nugget said:A car that's predictable when you screw up is a much better learning tool than a car that's hard-edged and scary at the limit. A Miata that gets "playful" when you cook a corner is a much better learning tool than a '73 RS that's going to punish you like a bitter ex-wife if you come in too hot. How are you ever going to learn the ways a car tells you you're at the limit if you're in a car that won't let you cross that line safely?


    A Miata will allow a driver to screw up badly and do the vehicular equivalent of saying, "That wasn't quite right, let's go try it again." A 73RS will throw you into the wall and scream at you (quite possibly literally). We all have different learning styles, and while some may benefit from one style and others from another, which style do the best teachers take with a new student? Which style is recommended as a first approach when training your dog or your horse?

    I'd rather get the gentle, "No, that wasn't it, try again," than being slammed into a wall. That's why I autocross and track an MX-5.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Equiraptor said:A 73RS will throw you into the wall and scream at you (quite possibly literally).


    That is very different from my experience learning to drive on a track in both a real 73S and 73RS clone. I've seen more Miatas hit the wall than 911's, as a matter of fact. A 911 does not throw you into a wall or anywhere else, unless it's due to the driver making it do that. It is very responsive to driver input and will clearly demonstrate what inputs are good and which are bad - one reason it's an excellent instruction tool.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Grant said:I beg to differ. A 73RS is VERY predictable at the limit and VERY controllable, once you learn proper rear-engined driving techniques. Of course, it's not recommended to be tried on anything but a wide track on a slow corner to begin.


    Once you've learned proper rear endgined driving techniques, you're beyond the entry level. The original question was to "develop" skill, which could mean "starting from knowing nothing," or could mean, "improving skills one already has." I dare say a car that's very controllable once you learn the proper technique is not a good starter car, though it can be a good progression car.

    Quote:
    Grant said:I also think that a driver who can master an early 911 will have no problem driving a Miata fast in short order, but a Miata racer may be totally out of his depth when trying a 911 for the first time


    Do you have any experience with this? I learned by autocrossing Miatas initially mostly stock, and then a supercharged Miata. Though I haven't had Nugget's 911 on a track, I have autocrossed it. I did have to learn the car, but I certainly wasn't "totally out of my depth," as I placed better than Nugget in that autocross.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Grant said:
    ...once you learn proper rear-engined driving techniques.

    Of course, it's not recommended to be tried on anything but a wide track on a slow corner to begin.

    ...but a Miata racer may be totally out of his depth when trying a 911 for the first time



    I think these three quotes sort of make my argument for me.

    In retrospect perhaps my choice of the '73 RS was a poor example, since I'm not equipped to argue the point. I've never been in a real one, and certainly never tracked one. I'll defer to you on that issue.

    My underlying point, though, I think is still quite valid. Any car with characteristics described as "next thing you know, you've crashed" is a poor learning tool. There are better cars for learning, where the line between "in control" and "backwards" is broad, fuzzy, and easy to dance. That's inherently going to be a better learning tool where that line is sharp and delicate.

    If the '73 RS is closer to the left hand side of that spectrum then that's great -- sounds like a fun car. I think your admonishments quoted above, though, bely a slightly different story.

    I have no doubt that in the hands of an experienced driver -- one who has "learned the proper rear-engined driving techniques" perhaps -- the '73 RS is a great car. But we're not really talking about a teaching car at that point. At least not in the sense I got from the original poster's question.

    Learn in the Miata and graduate to a '73 RS once you're in the black group. Being "totally out of one's depth" doesn't sound like a very productive learning environment to me.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I'm feeling a little hyper - I've been on edge about something unrelated - so I'm commenting a lot and thinking a little. But I sat back and thought a bit, and based on some of what I see you saying, Grant, it sounds to me like you're thinking about a more advanced driver than I am. I'm thinking about what car I'd recommend to my friends who enjoy driving, but have never seen a track or autocross from the driver's seat, haven't heard the term "trail braking," and have no idea why one would ever use the heel of their foot on a pedal in a car. For them, the low powered, predictable Miata is a great start.

    For someone with some experience, who understands why giving it a bit more gas in a corner can straighten things out and settle the car, a rear engined car can have a lot to teach and be great fun. But I wouldn't hand it to my green friend and say, "Go play with it. You'll do fine."

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Equiraptor said:For someone with some experience, who understands why giving it a bit more gas in a corner can straighten things out and settle the car, a rear engined car can have a lot to teach and be great fun. But I wouldn't hand it to my green friend and say, "Go play with it. You'll do fine."


    Agree with you there. I think driving with an instructor or experienced friend at first is much more warranted in a 911 than a Miata.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    My vote goes to the original RUF Yellowbird, if you can drive that you can drive anything

    Seriously, my vote goes to the Mazda Miata (or MX-5 as we call it). I have driven a slightly modified one on a track and it was a lot of fun, and it is a good (cheap) place to start.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    MX5 is great. I have had 2 as second car. However a bit more poke is better for getting the tail out so any early 6 cylinder bmw with upgraded brakes and standard width rubber certainly sharpens the art of opposite lock! I suppose any front engine rear drive car is a good place to start thinking about it.

    The mid-engined lotus is fine up to a point but like any mid-engined car it can be tricky and certainly the early Elises at high speed can be very tricky if you back off in a bend

    911's I have found to be a constant challenge and I learn all the time. If you are prescriptive then you can be fast, safe and learn but what I really like is that just when you think there's not much more to learn-you find out there is.

    When I finally get my GT3 (997 mk2 now I suppose) I will have cut my teeth on all combo's but I suspect there will still be plenty to learn at a new level even if the basic characteristics are similar

    BTW a LSD really helps.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Quote:
    Grant said:
    Agree with you there. I think driving with an instructor or experienced friend at first is much more warranted in a 911 than a Miata.



    Interesting discussion If an absolute beginner wants to experience the special dynamics of a rear engine layout, an old VW Beetle is nice For an unexperienced kid it's a nice preparation prior to trying the Beetle on steroids (aka 911) As a teenager I had quite some fun with those (especially in the snow)

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    Funny no one has mentioned the Boxster. The balance is impeccable, it is much more forgiving than a 911 and the power of the S model is more than enough... and it is a cabrio

    Get a less powerful car and learn to drive it 100% to the limit rather than, for example, a GT3 which most of us will never be able to drive more then 70% to the limit even after many years of track experience. Not to mention the likelihood of ending up in a serious accident while trying to push the GT3 to the limit...

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    An old E36 M3 or 325i would be my pick. The even earlier models are hard to come by nowadays.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    nobody mentionned the go-kart
    while it is not technically a CAR, it's still a great school to learn how to drive imho.

    Re: Best car to develop driving skill ?

    I think the best car to really have fun with at a reasonable price is a pre-owned Boxster. The handling is unreal in a mid-engined car and you can pick up a used one quite cheap. And, you don't have to be seen in a Miata!

     
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