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Old 21 Feb 2012, 18:30 (Ref:3029076)   #16
olivk
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The 3rd dimension

Purist i find your corner and general track analyses very interesting, and i agree with most of it - eventhough i'm no specialist.

One thing has not yet been much discussed and is often left out - as far as i can see - from track design in this forum : the elevation changes. For me the 3rd dimension of a track is as important as the 2 "flat" dimensions. I have only a small and totally amateur track experience - and absolutely no racing experience except rental karting - but the 3 tracks i've driven on so far made me believe a track MUST be analysed in 3 dimensions. These tracks are folowing ones :

> Mas du Clos (France) : A lovely small track with an impressive climb at the end of the pit straight leading into a 180° right turn that goes back down at the exit. You just can't even guess the feeling driving this corner when you see the track from above.

> Charade (France) : Lots of elevation changes all the way arround the track.

> Nordschleife, everyone knows it. As it is a fast track, the elevation changes come even more into account. Many of its corners get all of their interest from the elevation changes. Some examples :
- The sharp left down in Fuchsröhre can be passed at very high speed thanks to the enormous downforce you get down there.
- The brake before Wehrseifen is quite frightening as you plunge down into the valley, and tests your braking skills and your guts. I think 99% of the people brake way too early there (me included).
- The Brünnchen exit right turn, going up again, looks easy and trustworthy, but it's a tricky corner as the topography tends to give you negative downforce. The fact most crashes on youtube are in this corner is not only because most cameraguys are posted there.
- The depression in the straight just before the Pflanzgarten right turn gives you a lot of downforce and makes a hot on the brakes at this exact point very effective. If you use this well you will always have to brake behing the Porsche that just passed you over and that braked too early - even if you have only half the horsepower.
- etc etc.

It's easier to design flat or almost flat tracks, and it's easier to make them safe. But tracks with dramatic elevation changes are just way hotter IMO

This could be a challenge idea : Take an existing track layout, add or change the 3rd dimension to make something totally new.

I find modern tracks - especially the Tilke's - often quite boring because they are just flat. Yaaay Buddh has a cool T3... but hey it's only so cool because that kind of turns have become the exception. Maybe for safety reasons it's not possible anymore but i really wish we could see new tracks that could rival with Spa. I'm sure it's not a matter of designer's talent.

To see more "3D-tracks" maybe we have to replace Hermann Tilke with John Cameron
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Old 24 Feb 2012, 05:07 (Ref:3030202)   #17
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Before I get into the rest of the post, I don't think elevation change is overlooked or left out in this section of the forum. Some of us give descriptions of elevation in our track designs to varying degrees. The main thing is, putting it visually into our designs is very difficult and time-consuming. Making those hills and such look more presnetable or realistic adds a further layer of complexity. We do it from time to time, but as far as doing it as a hobby goes, we can't be worrying about all those details all of the time, or it just becomes too much. It ceases to be so much fun, when you overdo it.

Alright, since you prompted it, here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

Elevation Changes
I don't disagree with your take on Tilke, but I'm not convinced that a number of his layouts would be anything spectacular, even with some more pronounced elevation changes. I still think you need a layout that just looks "right" in plan form in order to create a truly great circuit. Now, the right arrangement of hills and valleys is what can turn an alright or good layout into a masterpiece.

The other problem we see with Tilke's efforts is the simple fact that he has a given piece of ground to work with, which may be flat as a pancake, or near to it. With his track outside Istanbul, he had a very rolling terrain to work with, and came up with a rather nice result.

It would be exceedingly difficult to create a wonderful, artificail landscape from scratch, and anyway, the real money in today's F1 circuits goes into the buildings and amenities, not into the track itself. Abu Dhabi is the epitome of this.

I actually had heard of Mas du Clos a while back, when I stumbled onto some thread here, so I am somewhat familiar with that track and its wonderful undulations.

I very much like the old Clermont-Ferrand as well. It was not on the same massive scale as some other public road circuits, but it was still an excellent course. I'm not as much a fan of the truncated layout used there nowadays.

The Nurburgring Nordschleife, well, it needs no further explanation to those who know it. Those who don't just have to see it to believe it.

Getting your elevation change "right" is a very tricky thing. For instance, you may be looking at whether to run more or less straight down a hill, or at doing a series of diving sweepers instead. You might take a more diagonal route up a hill, or attack it head-on with how you position a particular stretch.

Of course, with fantasy tracks, you can make these decisions at will, and so long as your ups and owns can be made to add up, you're fine. I certainly didn't skimp on my written description of the very hilly path carved by my design for Montello Park. I also gave a rolling ground track to one of Yannick's designs a while back.

Probably the biggest thing I can say to try and help others when they look at their designs is that variation is the key. Mix your combinations of up and down. If you can't do it visually, in the written record, differentiate between some steep and some gradual or moderate rises and falls. Having the terrain lend banking or a touch of adverse camber to your turns is always a nice touch.

It's not really about being complex either. Just try to make the elevation fit with the circuit. And you can turn a seemingly simple hillside into varied segments that provide plenty of challenge for an entire lap. Mosport Park basically goes down a hill in a couple stages, and then comes back up that hill.

If you have this gift, it can be an invaluable thing to be able to mentally construct your track in all its sinuous splendour. Being able to "see" the circuit in your mind's eye is the most powerful tool you can have at your disposal. Even if you're on the construction site of a design coming to fruition, you likely can't see the whole track if there are significant hills incorporated into the layout. So, visualizing the scene for yourself on the spot is still extremely useful.

I really can't provide any hard and fast guidelines in this area, because there are so many things that can work when done right. There are just as many ways to get a poor result also, but so much is conditional and contextual that you can't make effective, solid rules with regards to elevation change in your track designs. As long as you don't have the track going over a sheer cliff, or straight into one, your own imagination is the main limiting factor.
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Old 24 Feb 2012, 12:06 (Ref:3030365)   #18
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Just to pick up on and add to your comments Purist...

I'd love to add elevation to everyone fo my designs, but several factors preclude this

Firstly the software that I use - Google Sketchup, allows you to create curved surfaces ... trouble is it doesn't allow you to draw on them, so you can't have the track running over the surface.
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Old 24 Feb 2012, 15:53 (Ref:3030467)   #19
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On that front, SpeedingTortoise has provided some guidance on how to have your tracks take in hills. It's tricky to carry out, certainly moreso than if you could just draw the track in on the hillside, but the result is nice enough once you get the hang of it.
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Old 25 Feb 2012, 00:34 (Ref:3030706)   #20
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I have found one way of doing it, which I don't think has been covered here:

I do my design two-layered; on one layer I create the elevation, and on the other I design my track on a flat plate. After that, I extrude my flat track down towards my elevation layer, making sure that they intersect. After that, I use the "Intersect faces with model" option to actually "apply" the track to my elevation layer. Then it's just a lot of work left deleting surfaces and lines, and there's no way of correcting any mistakes (not that I have found, at least).

This method is complex, yes, and time consuming, yes, but if you Really want to make a track elevated sometimes, it does give you a nice result.

Speaking of track design, I should finish up and post some myself ...

And to stay somewhat on topic: great work Purist! I've read this with great interest, and will pick up on some ideas for my future designs.
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Old 25 Feb 2012, 01:09 (Ref:3030710)   #21
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If you could do a run through that process on a small scale, save a few screenshots at key steps, and post them with a description to the Sketch-Up Tutorial thread, I'm sure it would be very much appreciated by those who frequent this section.

I'll figure out here soon what the next installment will be on. I'm mulling over a few ideas in my head right now.
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Old 25 Feb 2012, 08:47 (Ref:3030799)   #22
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Originally Posted by Purist View Post
If you could do a run through that process on a small scale, save a few screenshots at key steps, and post them with a description to the Sketch-Up Tutorial thread, I'm sure it would be very much appreciated by those who frequent this section.

I'll figure out here soon what the next installment will be on. I'm mulling over a few ideas in my head right now.
I'll try to do that in the near future.

As a suggestion; could the topic of "sectioning" be something to write about? Are there any benefits in dividing the track into fast and slow sections, or should one try to keep the sector average speed close to the one of the whole lap?
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Old 25 Feb 2012, 10:44 (Ref:3030841)   #23
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Originally Posted by Himlar View Post
I have found one way of doing it, which I don't think has been covered here:

I do my design two-layered; on one layer I create the elevation, and on the other I design my track on a flat plate. After that, I extrude my flat track down towards my elevation layer, making sure that they intersect. After that, I use the "Intersect faces with model" option to actually "apply" the track to my elevation layer. Then it's just a lot of work left deleting surfaces and lines, and there's no way of correcting any mistakes (not that I have found, at least).

I'll have a go at that on one of my older simpler designs to see how it works

Sent from my HTC Wildfire S A510e using Tapatalk
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Old 2 Mar 2012, 22:03 (Ref:3034250)   #24
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Here goes with another segment.

"Mickey Mouse" Tracks and Elements
This was mentioned in this thread's first life, and I decided I would entertain the notion with some of my thoughts on the matter.

First off, my biggest focus is on circuit car racing, and I am particularly fond of road racing. This colors my perceptions, naturally, and while I try not to make too many broad, sweeping generalizations, go-kart tracks and tightly packed club circuit facilities often strike me as quite "mickey mouse". I have a similar feeling toward parking lot autocross activities as well, I will admit. Then again, based on the bulk of circuits posted here, I think a lot of us like the big tracks.

Of the various, major circuits in the real world, there are few that I would consider wholly defined by that "mickey mouse" tag. Two tracks that I would probably put in this category would be the 2002 Miami street circuit and the 1991 New Orleans street circuit. Most often, however, it is a particular place or section on a track that just seems pathetically tight or puny compared to the rest of the track that gets saddled with this label. The double-hairpin on the Indy road course is often cited for this criticism.

This brings me to the point that rovals in particular are regularly singled out for being "mickey mouse" in their character/layout. Of course, being stuck within the confines of a speedway is going to have its limitations, so this can be hard to avoid. It can help to have a larger oval within which to work. It is the rare roval that goes outside its speedway, and rarer still to find one of this type still in operation, such as Texas World Speedway.

Street circuits are also brought in for tongue-lashings involving that Walt Disney trademark, but in many cases, I have to disagree with its use on street circuits. For one, you can't reasonably use the same standards for street circuits as you use for permanent road courses, or everything becomes "mickey mouse". Even Monaco isn't really in that category for me. It's not unusually short for a street circuit. There were plenty of other tight, urban street circuits laid out at that time also; Pau is probably the best-known, and is still with us. And, perhaps, apart from the tightened chicane after the tunnel, none of the added corners really seem odd or out-of-place, though I personally wish Ste. Devote, for one, wasn't made so tight back in the '70s.

I think that there maybe is another undertone with the "mickey mouse" moniker, and that added tinge is a certain monotony. A number of street circuits, especially those with an abundance of 90-degree corners surrounded by uniform, grey concrete walls, have had this feature. Parking lot circuits suffer particularly from this image, and most infamous among them is probably Caesar's Palace, which hosted F1 in 1981-82 and CART in 1983-84.

Overall, I think the term is overused. There are times when I think it is warranted, but overall, I think people use it kind of as a fall-back when they don't have a clear idea of what they really mean.

If I was to give it a definition of my own, it would be something like this. "Mickey Mouse" refers to a circuit that in significant part, or in total, is unusually/unnecessarily tight, narrow, and slow. This is normally accompanied by the track being used by a series which emphasizes these qualities, because for that series, these qualities cause the racing to suffer substantially; a track can be "mickey mouse" for some categories, but not others. However, a circuit that would otherwise have this descriptor applied can have it mitigated, at least in part, by having extraordinary history and/or character.

Finally, as another example of a part of a circuit that is "mickey mouse", take a look at the 1992-95 New Orleans street circuit, and specifically, look at the smaller loop that goes around City Hall. It kind of blows the mind that they had 800hp GTPs going through those streets.
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Old 4 Mar 2012, 07:12 (Ref:3034832)   #25
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New proposal for Swindon Street Circuit (UK) is quite Mickey-Mouse http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5328052
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Old 5 Mar 2012, 09:39 (Ref:3035285)   #26
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Very funny, olivk!

And Purist, brilliant stuff again mate. Enjoyed that and agree with your sentiments.

Selby

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PS -I forgot to mention, that Texas track is incredible!! That's going to be downloaded on to my rFactor tonight, me thinks..
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Old 8 Apr 2016, 22:08 (Ref:3631315)   #27
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I don't have time to do it just right at the moment, but I'm going to do a new description here shortly.
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Old 10 Apr 2016, 23:56 (Ref:3631791)   #28
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Alright, here goes.

A Crucial Misconception
I want to go after a key argument that is often used to justify how few high-speed corners we may see on more "modern" road courses. What I mean is, car aerodynamics is frequently blamed for issues of not being able to follow closely or having a harder time making an overtaking maneuver. While I do not dismiss, out of hand, that this factor can play a part, the extent to which this is used is utterly overblown.

In super speedway racing, especially with NASCAR, where they're trying to make the cars edgier, while also messing about with the conventional draft, as well as the side draft, those big, heavy, draggy machines are quite vulnerable to the aero forces, but then, they're big, heavy, draggy objects putting off a HUGE wake, especially when they're doing 170-205-mph at the start of a run, and still doing 155-190-mph with worn tires.

I'm not going to get into that kettle of fish in this post. As I said, I want to look at this in road racing.

Too much of the time, we misinterpret a very basic phenomenon as something totally different than what it is. The occurrence in question is the accordion/concertina/rubber-band effect. Very simply, if the time gap between the vehicles in question remains roughly constant, the physical gap varies with the speed at which they are traveling. On the other hand, if you maintained a more or less constant physical gap throughout the speed range, it would mean that you have lost time in the slow areas, and narrowed the gap in the high-speed sections.

Now, here is where this can become a useful illustration in practice in a circuit's design/layout. Take Mexico City, and you're going to compare the impact of using the "stadium section" and the unmitigated Peralta(da) corner. What's going to happen?

So, for an Indy Car, it reaches 150-mph on the Recta del Ovalo. Making liberal use of track limits, it drops to 75-mph entering the stadium. The car pushes back up to about 100-mph, drops to 30-mph for Foro Sol, picks back up to 90-mph, and finally falls to 45-mph to make the hard right out onto the middle of the Peraltada. And for this exercise, maximum speed on the Recta Principale reaches 180-mph. So, we go from a spread of several car lengths to the trailing car having its nose just a fraction of a length off the tail of the leader in Foro Sol, and for the turn out onto Peraltada (45-mph) there is right on one length between the leader's backside and the pursuer's nose. Now, I should note here, with the transponders in the nose of each car, the time gap at that 45-mph is, in fact, representing a lead of TWO car lengths, not one; in this situation, we cannot treat the cars simply as point particles. This is where the distinction becomes quite critical, because with a set time gap, that physical gap grows from two lengths to EIGHT lengths at 180-mph heading for Turn 1 (seven lengths from tail to nose). That's what has to be made up.

Going back, using the full Peraltada, the IndyCar reaches 160-mph on the Recta del Ovalo, and drops to 120-mph at the apex, before it accelerates to that hp/drag-limited 180-mph at the end of the straight. The trailing car has a gap of three lengths from its nose to the leader's rear wing, and this is reduced to two lengths, but in time terms, a gap of three lengths, around corner apex. At terminal velocity at the far end of the Recta Principale, that gap is back out to 4.5 lengths (3.5 lengths of the visible, physical gap).

It should be clear, then, that making up twice the gap to just nudge the leader's rear end, and almost twice the time gap, is going to be MUCH more difficult. Also, entering the straight at a higher speed and in closer proximity allows the slipstream to take affect sooner, and therefore magnifies its impact several times over the case in which you've just come out of the stadium.

Getting back to the slow stuff again, there is another issue to examine. If you go from 180-mph down to 45-mph for a corner, and at terminal velocity, you had one length between you and the guy in front (two-length time gap), but were unable to make a pass, in order to NOT run over the guy, you are FORCED to give up time to maintain a physical gap between your cars. Thus, if you have repeated starts and stops, and then a long straight after yet another slow corner, it's no wonder you end up with a MASSIVE physical and time gap between cars out on that straight.

It's no surprise to me then that you NEED these 0.65-0.8-mile-long straights at F1 circuits when the setups for the straights are like that. You've set yourself up for it from the start. I might add, it REALLY does NOT help your land efficiency when you HAVE TO stretch out your circuits like that.

I had another look back at some old F1 turbo-era races at places like Zandvoort, Osterreichring, Kyalami, Silverstone, Brands Hatch, etc., and competitive cars certainly could stay close enough through the high-speed corners to keep things interesting. Keep in mind, too, those F1 cars were wider than the present ones, had some pretty honkin' substantial rear wings (i.e. wake turbulence). and were running on narrower tracks than what we have today.

If you want a more precise comparison, watch the Mexico City races for the A1GP series from the 2006/07 series, and compare that with the 2007/08 races when the series used the ChampCar chicane before entering the Peraltada. The difference it makes in how the field spreads out, and the passing that can be done, is quite apparent.

Hope you guys find this informative and useful. Also, I won't blame you if you're tired after reading this; I'm tired after having written it.

Last edited by Purist; 11 Apr 2016 at 00:15.
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Old 11 Apr 2016, 22:09 (Ref:3631967)   #29
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That was quite the read! Unfortunately I missed this whole thread as it was happening so it might take some time to catch up!

The points you've raised here are really interesting, I've never quite thought of following and passing cars this way before. I shall think on this more...
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Old 12 Apr 2016, 12:04 (Ref:3632079)   #30
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If anything a wider car helped overtaking, as it meant a bigger hole in the air for the car behind
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