NA traction control on track driving?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Tantalum, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    1,936
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    Something I've often wondered when watching Gran Tour, Top Gear, and other car review shows..

    Many times, when a driver takes the car out on a lap for a timed race, he or she disables all the traction aides

    While I get that you want all available power to you, doesn't it also make sense to keep the wheels firmly planted?

    Do they turn the traction aides off just to get cool shots of the car drifting around corners, or is drifting around a corner actually faster, time wise, than driving through it without drifting?
     
  2. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    5,578
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    IMO traction control is a great tool for the less experienced driver. A good driver should be able to turn it off and compensate with skill. They will get the best of both words.
     
    deonb, G-Man, rtk11 and 1 other person like this.
  3. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    16,391
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Diffrent types of traction control too, my vette has three settings, on, competition mode, and off.
     
    Tantalum likes this.
  4. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,448
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skywag
    Traction control works great on the normal road. But on the track, where the driver purposely wants the car to drift......it is a hindrance.

    I turn it off on snow, because I like to drift a little.
     
  5. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,919
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast
    It's a matter of design objectives, how the control is biased, what filters are being used, what the control loop bandwidth is, etc.

    Traction control in a street car is designed to maximize safety. Traction control in a Formula 1 car (now banned, BTW) is designed to maximize performance.

    Two conflicting objectives. If you want to go very very fast in a street car, best results are usually obtained by disabling the traction control and accepting a bit less safety.
     
    G-Man and Tantalum like this.
  6. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    2,153
    Location:
    Tupelo, MS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ktup-flyer
    Traction control cuts power (pulls timing) and slows you down. A decent driver is a good bit faster without it.
     
  7. Lachlan

    Lachlan Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,914
    Location:
    North Creek, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lachlan
    Traction control is like birth control. It’s there for safety. Turn either one off and be prepared for all hell to break loose!
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  8. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    4,877
    Location:
    TX - the friendliest state
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lou
    ^^^^ That.

    TC is for dumbasses who are unable to drive. It is a safety crutch but often hindrance and occasionally also a death trap (partly due to its design flaws).
     
  9. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    1,936
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    Thanks guys, appreciate the responses

    Thanks, that's kind of what I thought... but the more advanced cars (I'm not talking Toyota Camry, but track ready cars like the McClaren 720s, etc.) all have their own versions of advanced dynamic driving systems and their own "track modes".. seems like those are specially designed for speed.. not nanny'ing. When I see pro drivers flick those off too it makes me wonder if they're cheating themselves on time.. I mean, those engineers (presumably) knew what they were doing when they designed the control logic in the super and hyper cars?

    Agree.. but I'm wondering if maybe computers can do it better? I still prefer true manual clutch stick shift... but I know that the top of the line automatics are faster than traditional manuals now..

    I think that perfectly embodies my question actually. Assume "competition mode" will be the fastest mode.. so why would you ever drive a track or drag race with the car in "off" vs "competition" mode?
     
  10. AKiss20

    AKiss20 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AKiss20
    The data does not seem to agree with the notion that ESC/VSC hinders safety. These studies do not break out TC specifically, but TC is often a component of the larger ESC/VSC system.

    http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=1740
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217442/
     
  11. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    1,936
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    By and large these have to help safety. The average person needs ABS, etc., to keep the car "straight and level" (so to speak). Studies have proven this. But if you're driving "on the edge" then TC can cause the car to do something you were not expecting, and catch you off guard, which I imagine can cause an accident.. but that's if you're driving on the edge. Like, if you're trying to drift around a corner, and TC cuts your power I could see that as having some unintended consequences
     
  12. AKiss20

    AKiss20 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AKiss20
    Sure, of course for racing TC is much more a hinderance than a help, I was just bringing data onto the idea that TC/VSC/ESC is not helpful for the average driver or only helpful for "dumbasses."
     
    Tantalum likes this.
  13. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    8,486
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    https://nerdist.com/what-we-learned-from-the-mythbusters-drifting-special/

    Watch a NASCAR race. When their rear tires lose traction, they fall far behind.
     
    Tantalum likes this.
  14. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,939
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FormerHangie
  15. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    1,939
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FormerHangie
    James331 likes this.
  16. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    8,486
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    But it does look cool..!!!!
     
    James331 and FormerHangie like this.
  17. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,826
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoCal RV Flyer
    With huge slip angles (drifting), it's certainly for show and will be slower around a track than a normal racing line. It takes a certain amount of slip angle for a tire to generate its maximum grip, but tail-out, billowing smoke is not that angle.

    Some performance traction control systems are better than others. Porsche does a superb job here, and the Corvette as well. They intervene only at the edge of the envelope, and when they do, it's smoothly so as not to upset weight transfer or throw the driver's rhythm.

    There's a reason that traction/stability/ABS systems are banned in F1, because at that level, with an engineering brain trust and multiple millions to throw at the problem, you could create a car that was vastly easier to drive, and quicker around the course to boot. No fun to take the driver out of the equation, at least partially.

    Some production cars' stability systems are rather clunky, but typically do more good than harm. Personally, I hate the feel of anything intervening, so I shut the system off.
     
    Tantalum and FormerHangie like this.
  18. Shopshirt

    Shopshirt Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Messages:
    239
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shopshirt
    Unless you are on dirt WRC style :cornut:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    22,486
    Location:
    Paola, KS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iBanYou
    As noted above, OEM traction control is very much centered around safety rather than performance. So if you drive with it on your lap times will be terrible (unless you're an abysmal driver). That said, I have driven a few cars where it wasn't too intrusive and did a decent job. I've also had times where NOT having traction control has allowed me to avoid accidents, because I was able to perform driving maneuvers that traction control wouldn't have allowed, but that prevented me from smashing into something.

    I didn't used to care for traction control (and still don't, really), but at this point all the cars in the household have it. I would actually prefer to have it on the motorcycles, but ours are too old for that. I leave it on on our cars unless I'm specifically planning on doing something where I'll need it turned off.
     
    Tantalum likes this.
  20. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    3,198
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    Yup, could be renamed "every day driving", "track performance", and "rear wheel smoke show/drifting"

    Traction control systems operate in all manners of ways. Some just cut throttle input, some cut fuel, some cut ignition/retard timing, some involve the braking system, etc. Each manufacturer designs their system differently according to what they are trying to accomplish and how much money they have available to accomplish that goal. Suffice it to say that the TC system on a McLaren 720S is worlds more advanced than that of a Toyota Camry.
     
    James331 and Tantalum like this.
  21. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    2,153
    Location:
    Tupelo, MS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ktup-flyer
    Well obviously, lol. I’m talking your everyday car. My Camaro is a lot faster with all the nannies off than it is in competition mode, and “lunch control” is a joke
     
  22. Rushie

    Rushie Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Messages:
    1,074
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Rushie
    My '86 Mercedes doesn't have it and I don't want it. You mean that is one more nanny system I'll have to endure if I'm ever forced to get a new car?
     
  23. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    5,578
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    Not really a nanny item, as you can easily turn it off. But, it’s there if you want it. It’s a non issue for 99.9% of normal driving.
     
  24. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    3,198
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    It depends on the car. Some TC can’t be fully defeated short of pulling a fuse. I don’t notice it unless I’m driving in a spirited manner or on snow/ice. My ‘08 F-150 doesn’t have TC, but the ‘07 GMC and Pontiac GXP do. I notice the GMC kicks in during normal driving the most, likely due to having no weight in the bed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,835
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Traction control is 100% forbidden in NASCAR, and yes it is very USEFUL and hence people cheat and cleverly hide the units. We've found them buried in electronic ignition modules and frame rails over the years. Can't tell you the number of times I've held the payout on a race because we were still pulling things apart.
     
  26. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    5,578
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    Okay... but I think it can be defeated on most high performance cars. I think that’s where most would want to delete it.
     
  27. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    1,826
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoCal RV Flyer
    Even in most top-rung performance/exotic cars, you can't turn it completely off. If you're braking hard enough to invoke the ABS, the stability control will still intervene, even though the system is configured in the "off" mode. At least a lot of those cars need quite a push of the brake pedal to invoke ABS.

    What bugs me is that the traction control/stability systems revert to Total Nanny State every time you turn the car off. Liability concerns, of course.
     
  28. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,636
    Location:
    KLAF
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    455 Bravo Uniform
    My only experience with traction control is when I'm trying to abuse rental cars when I'm out of town on business. Otherwise, none of my cars have it.

    Funny thing. I flew to Wichita to do my prebuy and they gave me a manual transmission car. I ran the crap out of it. I was 2 miles from the airport in El Dorado, KS and stopped in the middle of a clear road. Gave er a flogging. Missed 3rd gear. Car immediately sputtered. A message came across to service the engine immediately. Deflated my sails (was supposed to be a gun trip, now I have no transportation and may need to pay for damage.). I pulled over and shut it off. Looked around and under the car. No wierd smells. Got back in and started fine, ran fine. I was nice to it after that. I'm sure something in the computer threw it into limp-home mode after I probably redlined it. I'm sure it saved the motor, lol.

    So how can traction control be dangerous? I see a couple of you mention it above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  29. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    5,578
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kritchlow
    To be honest.... I don’t know. I own a Vette and there are two levels to defeat it. I’m truly not sure if there’s a third that can’t be overridden.
     
  30. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    3,198
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    You have to remember that TC is generally a reactive system, so it acts after it detects a loss of traction. Depending on the situation, it may begin reducing throttle input or activating braking when you don’t want it to.

    Example: you’re driving a FWD car which hit a patch of snow/ice as you’re coming up to a curve in the road. TC engages and you’re sliding towards the guardrail, no matter how much you step on the accelerator, the car won’t respond as you slide straight forward into the guardrail. If the TC was off, you could simply steer in the direction you want to go and “power out of it” with a FWD/AWD setup.

    Same goes for trying to get up a hill in snow, the last thing I want is the TC kicking in and slowing my momentum. TC has its benefits, but there are times when it’s inconvenient and you need to take evasive action that it can’t predict.

    Now ABS is a fantastic invention and I can’t think of hardly an instance where you wouldn’t want it active.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  31. injb

    injb Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Messages:
    141
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jb
    At Porsche club track events, most of the fast drivers leave it turned on. The consensus is that if traction control kicks in, it's because you overcooked it. If you drive optimally, you won't even know it's turned on. Of course, you won't be sliding sideways around corners like Top Gear, but as has been pointed out, that's not the fast way around a track anyway.

    It may be advantageous to turn it off in some cars though. Ferraris have 5 or 6 different levels you can set it to. That said, I'm not aware of any reason you would ever want to turn ABS off for track driving. Maybe you would if you wanted to create a challenge for yourself...but it won't make you faster.
     
  32. BiffJ

    BiffJ Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    402
    Location:
    indiana USA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    BiffJ
    Its always good to remember that the whole point in these TV shows is to make a show. The reality of the thing has little to do with the Show aspect so there is no reason to insure that it is emphasized. Sliding around, smoke and flame make good TV and that is much more important.
    As for whether the traction control is on or off we'll probably never know the truth. We ran some traction control in the Champ/Indycar series back in the late 90s and early 2000s but most of the drivers didn't like it much. Sure it helps keep wheels from locking up but it screws up the drivers feel. Formula 1 used a lot of computerized traction control and it made a huge difference for them. Auto shifting, braking, throttle etc kind of took the driver out of the loop and made them feel like they were just there for the pictures. What kind of narcissist gearhead wants to admit he's just a cog....


    Frank
     
  33. asicer

    asicer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,191
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    In a *real* 911 you never want to lift in a turn anyway :devil:
     
  34. deonb

    deonb Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,764
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    deonb
    I did a BMW M3 track course where they installed a button to remove ALL forms of traction control, not just the ones accessible by the user. The car was almost undriveable - first turn I took with what I thought would be slight oversteer I spun the car 360 degrees. And a few more times after.

    Lots of fun on a track - not so much fun if that would have been a highway on-ramp.
     
  35. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,527
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    My wife likes German AWD cars. They have traction control with a disable control. To drive an AWD car with traction control on icy roads is a joy. I can romp on it into a corner with no concern about losing the back end. In fact that was part of the demo ride for one car, to go to a big, open parking lot that was frozen ice and snow and try to make it break. In that situation traction control enhances high performance driving, without question. On a track? Unless the track has very poor traction it wouldn’t provide any advantage. F1 only used it to prevent spinning the tires at the start, and it was amazing for that. The traction control in my GMC pickup is not equal to that in a German sports car, by the way. Not even close.
     
  36. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,835
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    You still turn the wheel and power out of it. The sliding wheel doesn't get any benefit from having additional torque applied to it that just makes it slide more.
     
  37. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    3,198
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    When I need thrust, I don't want the throttle cut. You can't "power out" of something when the ECU cuts the power. The TC is trying to stop the wheel from any slip and will continue to kill power in order to achieve that result. I want the wheels spinning so that any momentary grab either tire gets will propel me in the direction I'm steering. Note that this method doesn't apply to RWD vehicles, as it would just send to ass-first into the scenery.
     
  38. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    4,527
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    Nope, as a guy who spends his life driving on icy roads? Your description is incorrect. German car or GMC.
     
  39. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    22,486
    Location:
    Paola, KS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iBanYou
    My 03 and 09 Mercedes both have it. So yes, you’ll have to endure it.
     
  40. cowman

    cowman En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,384
    Location:
    Danger Zone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cowman
    I won't buy a car with traction control unless it has a button to turn it off. Admittedly it works a lot better now than it did in the early systems but it still often does the wrong thing in certain situations or will fight the driver. Common example- sometimes in snow you need a little wheelspin to get yourself moving but many trac control systems won't allow that to happen. I've had to disable traction control to get myself out of snow before because it wouldn't allow the slight wheelspin required to get moving- and that's why there's a disable button somewhere in most cars.

    The other thing is it may fight you with your driving style- my instinct in skids is to apply gentle power and steer through it. Trac control usually wants to cut power and attempt to recover control. The computer may react instantly but, depending on the system, it may not make the correct choice for the actual situation you're in.

    You kind of have to learn the system in the vehicle that you're in because they are all different. I've gone as far as to permanently disable it on some cars because I felt it was creating more hazards than it was helping... but on others like my '12 F-150 I've actually been impressed with it. Seems like Ford did a good job with their more recent generation of systems, it actually works with you instead of fighting the driver inputs and pulls off things like icy hill climbs in 2wd that I genuinely couldn't do without it.