Date registered: Oct 2005
Vehicle: 107, 115, 116, 123, 124, 126
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Here's some interesting observations from Paul Tracy. Speaking exclusively to Autosport magazine, Paul Tracy - who has raced in the second-tier Busch Series this year – said the transition from a light, rear-engine open wheel car to a heavy front-engine NASCAR car will be a huge test of Montoya's driving skills.
"Montoya can't just go as fast as he can the whole time or he's gonna kill the tires," said Tracy. "It's tough to make the transition because coming up the single-seater ladder you reach corners faster, brake harder, turn in harder, get on the throttle earlier – the whole experience gets more intense the higher you go.
"You get into a NASCAR, and you suddenly have to go back to almost Formula Ford levels of corner speed and braking performance – the whole process slows down.
"Montoya's got to go with that way of driving, not fight against it. I've followed him and, even on ovals, you see how quick he is with the steering. He's got good reactions, quick hands and he drives on instinct, but a NASCAR doesn't respond to that. It responds to finesse, and he's not exactly known as a finesse driver, is he?"
"They have so much understeer built into them," added Tracy. "They call it 'tightness' – that's all you hear: 'my car's too tight, it won't turn in'. You take fuel out of a [open wheel] car for qualifying, right?
"Well in NASCARs, they have so much understeer dialed in that to get the optimum balance for qualifying they fill the fuel tanks up and stick a load of ballast in the trunk to get the tail to move out on the turns, just in order to get the front end to turn in. It's the absolute opposite of what a single-seater racer is used to.
"At the start of a race stint, you want the car as loose [oversteering] as possible because the balance changes so badly over the course of a stint, and you know you're gonna get more and more push – or tightness – as the fuel load comes down and the tires are getting near the end of their life.
"But the important thing is that when it's loose at the start, even if that suits Montoya's driving style, he can't overplay it otherwise he's gonna just burn those tires off, especially with that heavy fuel load. By the end of the stint he won't have grip front or rear, so he's just going to be floating out to the high line and the marbles mid-turn and into the wall on the exit."