Senna’s unique throttle technique (Honda demo)

Senna’s unique throttle technique (Honda demo)

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Discussion

HardtopManual

1,129 posts

107 months

Tuesday 7th May
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Thanks. So MS uses the brake on corner exit, he doesn't brake twice before a corner. That makes more sense.

skwdenyer

6,892 posts

181 months

Tuesday 7th May
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ELUSIVEJIM said:
Supersam83 said:
Here's the Senna NSX Youtube video as referenced above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8By2AEsGAhU


That driving style and in his loafers as well! biggrin

He would have made a great rally driver I'm guessing.
wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHYt270aYE8
The professionally tall - and sadly late so very early - Russell Bulgin was there; then editor of Cars and Car Conversions, he had organised it. Somewhere I have one of his articles on the topic; for now, the thoughts of then CCC "office boy" Steve Bennett are available here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article.... Senna gesticulating about solo sexual gratification whilst sideways in a Mercedes SEL sounds like a colourful way to spend an afternoon...

coppice

5,190 posts

85 months

Wednesday 8th May
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It is in the wonderful anthology of articles published after Russell's death . Like every single piece in the book , it is superbly written , often funny and so acutely observed . My Bulgin book is not for sale but if you find one, snap it up . His descriptein of Senna;s first GP victory is also a treat BTW .

There is now simply nobody like either of them ...

Bright Halo

683 posts

176 months

Wednesday 8th May
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If any of us mere mortals had suggested jabbing the throttle midway through a bend we would have been laughed off the forum.
It just shows that Senna and other mega drivers work on a completely different level to everyone else.
Love the fact that Senna couldn’t explain why he did it. It must just be so natural to him that he is not even thinking about it. Amazing.

Steve Rance

4,928 posts

172 months

Wednesday 8th May
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I think that he probably knew exactly what he was doing and why he was he was doing it. He just prefered to keep it to himself. Racing drivers rarely give up anything that gives them a competitive edge. At that end of the motorsport spectrum there is no scope for any control imput that does not improve pace - and if it's not improving pace it will be slowing it. Watch any footage of Senna and it will be very rare that he leaves anything on the table. Incredible driver
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skwdenyer

6,892 posts

181 months

Wednesday 8th May
quotequote all
coppice said:
It is in the wonderful anthology of articles published after Russell's death . Like every single piece in the book , it is superbly written , often funny and so acutely observed . My Bulgin book is not for sale but if you find one, snap it up . His descriptein of Senna;s first GP victory is also a treat BTW .

There is now simply nobody like either of them ...
Agreed. I’m looking for a copy - I have all his Car contributions.

F1GTRUeno

4,062 posts

159 months

Wednesday 8th May
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Steve Rance said:
Watch any footage of Senna and it will be very rare that he leaves anything on the table. Incredible driver
Clarkson in TG's very well done piece on Senna said it best I think.

"You know, I'll be honest with you. I was never a Senna fan. I always thought Gilles Villeneuve was the greatest racing driver of all time but...to make this film, I've watched hours and hours and hours of footage and the thing is, Villeneuve was spectacular of a number of occasions...Senna, he was spectacular every single time he got in a car."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U_K76vPGYo

It's always worth a rewatch because it's one of the best segments TG ever did. The man was unbelievable. I was sadly too young to watch him in his prime at the time. I had just turned 4 month or so before he died. I've watched every race since and he just has that fascinating quality above all else.

Prost was a thinker, Schumacher was robotic in his perfection, Senna was all out, everything and bloody amazing at nearly all times.

leonintegra36

63 posts

45 months

Wednesday 8th May
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When younger I used to be more aggressive with steering braking and throttle inputs, and was a quicker driver as a result being more proactive with the stabbing throttle inputs. It was a more violent set of actions and much harder on the car and required the reflexes I don't possess today. I recall a friend once followed me in his similar RS500 and said he thought I was upsetting my car's balance, to such an extent he thought I was going to lose the car on most every corner. It felt natural to me being aggressive with inputs and I was startled to hear his viewpoint. I am invariably a much smoother driver with age and don't throw any car around as much as I used to do. I used to feel like time slowed down at speed and had a tunnel vision on the edge, whilst knowing my proactive aggression was somehow eeking every last ounce of momentum from the car. I felt in charge even if I didn't know the nth degree of physics as to why I was faster, I felt it from the seat of my pants. I knew being aggressive on a tight rope's edge, without being ragged, was the only way to be fundamentally quicker. Offering a multitude of inputs was always going to strike a sweet spot that the traditional slow in fast out wouldn't be able to match. I mainly tour around using the Jackie Stewart technique these days for self preservation, but the Senna technique will always be quicker. As a side note to earlier comments about Donnington 1993, Senna's team mate Andretti left the circuit on lap one trying to give chase in his sister McLaren.

Kawasicki

6,044 posts

176 months

Wednesday 8th May
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Bright Halo said:
If any of us mere mortals had suggested jabbing the throttle midway through a bend we would have been laughed off the forum.
It just shows that Senna and other mega drivers work on a completely different level to everyone else.
Love the fact that Senna couldn’t explain why he did it. It must just be so natural to him that he is not even thinking about it. Amazing.
They're not on a completely different level to everyone else. Cornering is very complex. The traditional method is not necessarily the fastest for every driving style.

Kawasicki

6,044 posts

176 months

Wednesday 8th May
quotequote all
leonintegra36 said:
When younger I used to be more aggressive with steering braking and throttle inputs, and was a quicker driver as a result being more proactive with the stabbing throttle inputs. It was a more violent set of actions and much harder on the car and required the reflexes I don't possess today. I recall a friend once followed me in his similar RS500 and said he thought I was upsetting my car's balance, to such an extent he thought I was going to lose the car on most every corner. It felt natural to me being aggressive with inputs and I was startled to hear his viewpoint. I am invariably a much smoother driver with age and don't throw any car around as much as I used to do. I used to feel like time slowed down at speed and had a tunnel vision on the edge, whilst knowing my proactive aggression was somehow eeking every last ounce of momentum from the car. I felt in charge even if I didn't know the nth degree of physics as to why I was faster, I felt it from the seat of my pants. I knew being aggressive on a tight rope's edge, without being ragged, was the only way to be fundamentally quicker. Offering a multitude of inputs was always going to strike a sweet spot that the traditional slow in fast out wouldn't be able to match. I mainly tour around using the Jackie Stewart technique these days for self preservation, but the Senna technique will always be quicker. As a side note to earlier comments about Donnington 1993, Senna's team mate Andretti left the circuit on lap one trying to give chase in his sister McLaren.
good post!

I was once lap timed by my driving instructor...he asked me to drive one lap of a track as fast as I could...so I drove extremely aggressively for one lap. My instructor, sat in the passenger seat, couldn't hold his tongue for more than a few seconds...I remember him stating clearly that I was "driving way too hard"..."destroying the tyres"...etc. What he didn't know was that I had been timing myself on the same lap for a full six months before he sat beside me. What did I find...basically the more brutal the better...within reason. The only time it made (on this track/surface) sense to not be brutal was in the very tight corners and the last half of a long fast corner before a straight.

So, then the instructor drove...a smooth, slick lap..and was about 1.5 seconds slower. He told me that I had given him something to consider. He phoned me back about 6 weeks later and told me he had matched my lap time...by being pretty brutal.

Watch Senna's Mercedes 190 lap at the Nurburgring. He is also pretty damn brutal...and he drives away from the competition.

My last little story comes from a time I worked as an instructor on a track day. I had a driver sat beside me...his name was Blackadder...and he had won some Caterham series, iirc. He drove a number of different cars with me sat beside him. He was fast...way faster than all the other customers...and pretty damn brutal with it. What a joyful few laps that was...sat beside a fast driver. We didn't even die.



isaldiri

4,508 posts

109 months

Wednesday 8th May
quotequote all
Kawasicki said:
good post!

I was once lap timed by my driving instructor...he asked me to drive one lap of a track as fast as I could...so I drove extremely aggressively for one lap. My instructor, sat in the passenger seat, couldn't hold his tongue for more than a few seconds...I remember him stating clearly that I was "driving way too hard"..."destroying the tyres"...etc. What he didn't know was that I had been timing myself on the same lap for a full six months before he sat beside me. What did I find...basically the more brutal the better...within reason. The only time it made (on this track/surface) sense to not be brutal was in the very tight corners and the last half of a long fast corner before a straight.

So, then the instructor drove...a smooth, slick lap..and was about 1.5 seconds slower. He told me that I had given him something to consider. He phoned me back about 6 weeks later and told me he had matched my lap time...by being pretty brutal.

Watch Senna's Mercedes 190 lap at the Nurburgring. He is also pretty damn brutal...and he drives away from the competition.

My last little story comes from a time I worked as an instructor on a track day. I had a driver sat beside me...his name was Blackadder...and he had won some Caterham series, iirc. He drove a number of different cars with me sat beside him. He was fast...way faster than all the other customers...and pretty damn brutal with it. What a joyful few laps that was...sat beside a fast driver. We didn't even die.
Doesn't that slightly depend on the type of car and how it's setup though? Some cars (say a caterham for example) seem to favour being pretty aggressive while on others being smooth probably might work better. in my admittedly very limited understanding of driving, it seems a bit simplistic to say being aggressively is always going to be faster as different drivers (even at the level of high level motorsport) seem to drive differently and can make their different styles work for them too.

Kawasicki

6,044 posts

176 months

Wednesday 8th May
quotequote all
isaldiri said:
Doesn't that slightly depend on the type of car and how it's setup though? Some cars (say a caterham for example) seem to favour being pretty aggressive while on others being smooth probably might work better. in my admittedly very limited understanding of driving, it seems a bit simplistic to say being aggressively is always going to be faster as different drivers (even at the level of high level motorsport) seem to drive differently and can make their different styles work for them too.
yes..I agree, I was probably/definitely being overly simplistic...but I still think the importance of the smooth style is often overstated...until it comes to the point where the smooth style starts to pay off again...for instance keeping the tyres in usable temp band/condition.

I agree with you and think it is interesting that many different styles pay off.



Edited by Kawasicki on Wednesday 8th May 14:52

entropy

3,595 posts

144 months

Wednesday 8th May
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Small discussion on Senna's unique throttle blips at 20mins: https://marshallpruett.podbean.com/e/mp-532-rememb...

It's interesting watching various onboards those blaps occur on different cars (presumably different set ups) at various points of the cornering phase: some blips occur at the turn-in to apex transition and some occur mid-corner.

Whether it was to steer with throttle and/or jumping back on the throttle as soon as possible Senna loved playing the limits of the car. Such a fascinating character and one of the reasons why he's endured long since his death.

skwdenyer said:
The professionally tall - and sadly late so very early - Russell Bulgin was there; then editor of Cars and Car Conversions, he had organised it. Somewhere I have one of his articles on the topic; for now, the thoughts of then CCC "office boy" Steve Bennett are available here: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article.... Senna gesticulating about solo sexual gratification whilst sideways in a Mercedes SEL sounds like a colourful way to spend an afternoon...
https://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/features/ayrton-senna-a-really-good-rally-driver/

skwdenyer

6,892 posts

181 months

Wednesday 8th May
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markjmd

131 posts

9 months

Tuesday 14th May
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Lots of mentions here of Jackie Stewart's "smoothness is everything" philosophy on this thread, but wasn't he talking about the motion of the car, as opposed to the control inputs?

coppice

5,190 posts

85 months

Tuesday 14th May
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JYS talked about , and practised , smoothness in every aspect of driving

Kawasicki

6,044 posts

176 months

Tuesday 14th May
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coppice said:
JYS talked about , and practised , smoothness in every aspect of driving
I think I have seen videos of him sawing gently at the steering wheel through corners...but I might be wrong. I’ll have a look for a video.

TobyTR

420 posts

87 months

Wednesday 15th May
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markjmd said:
Lots of mentions here of Jackie Stewart's "smoothness is everything" philosophy on this thread, but wasn't he talking about the motion of the car, as opposed to the control inputs?
He was definitely silky smooth with control inputs and throttle too. Watch the Top Gear episode where he taught James May to drive faster, it's fascinating

markjmd

131 posts

9 months

Friday 17th May
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TobyTR said:
markjmd said:
Lots of mentions here of Jackie Stewart's "smoothness is everything" philosophy on this thread, but wasn't he talking about the motion of the car, as opposed to the control inputs?
He was definitely silky smooth with control inputs and throttle too. Watch the Top Gear episode where he taught James May to drive faster, it's fascinating
Got it on PVR, I will have to try and dig it up.

Kawasicki

6,044 posts

176 months

Friday 17th May
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Kawasicki said:
coppice said:
JYS talked about , and practised , smoothness in every aspect of driving
I think I have seen videos of him sawing gently at the steering wheel through corners...but I might be wrong. I’ll have a look for a video.
Spent a couple of hours researching...I conclude I was wrong...Jackie was very smooth. I think many of the cars he drove in his prime had quite a lot of steering kickback, so though they may look like a steering input, they aren't.