Formula 1 in addition to also also DTM driving techniques with Gary Paffett
2004 McLaren-Mercedes MP4/19B
ART Grand Prix DTM driver Gary Paffett talks us through his experiences of driving a 500bhp DTM car in addition to also also various F1 machinery over the past 15 years
British racing driver Gary Paffett will be living the dream. The 34-year old has tasted success in multiple motorsport disciplines, in addition to also also has clocked up thousands of miles as a Formula 1 test driver with McLaren.
via 2000 to 2014, Gary thoroughly tested each iteration of F1 car to emerge via the Woking-based constructor during the McLaren-Mercedes partnership. via the piercing 900bhp-plus V10 monsters in addition to also also high-revving V8s, to last year’s complex cars running the completely new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 powertrains.
Therefore, Gary knows his onions on the topic of F1 in addition to also also DTM cars, in addition to also also will be the person to ask when deciphering the different driving techniques required for each discipline.
I’m an unashamed fan of the eye-wateringly expensive V10 era. For me, the idea remains the pinnacle of what F1 should be about. The cars looked angry however stunning, they sounded mega in addition to also also most of the lap records at the long-standing grand prix circuits still come via 2004 in addition to also also 2005. The sheer speed on display was mind-boggling.
Granted, there wasn’t much overtaking going on however, when the idea happened, you knew the idea was worked for. So what was the idea like via the cockpit? Gary explains:
“When I was testing at McLaren, the most advanced car I had was a fully automatic, centrifugal clutch, V10 F1 car, which was ridiculous. You sat from the garage, selected a gear, let go of the paddles in addition to also also the idea drove out of the pit garage like the idea was a go-kart.
“On track the idea could change up a gear on its own. They didn’t have automatic downshifts because the idea could upset the balance of the vehicle. You had a pre-selector, where you could downshift all 5 gears on the straight in addition to also also, when you applied the brake, the idea went down all 5 gears for the corner. the idea was a lot like a computer game, however the idea was an incredible car.
“the idea was pretty embarrassing at the time, as one day I turned up at the test, put the helmet on, fired the idea up in addition to also also there was no clutch paddle. So I got on the radio in addition to also also yelled, ‘There’s no clutch paddle!’ in addition to also also the team said, ‘Oh yeah, sorry. the idea’s today a button’.”
Gary will be in hysterics at This specific point, as are the rest of us hacks gathered around a table from the canteen of Mercedes-AMG’s Affalterbach headquarters. I’m still pinching myself which I’m having lunch next to a guy who’s tested every significant car via the pinnacle of motor racing over the past 15 years.
I’m even more impressed at his humility in addition to also also self-deprecating humour, as he comes across as just ‘one of the lads’ throughout the entire day. He continues…
“The V10s were pretty extreme cars. I remember my first F1 test in December 2000 at Jerez. I did about 14 laps, got out of the vehicle in addition to also also my neck was finished. the idea was hanging off. So they got the foam pads out, stuck them on the side of the cockpit in addition to also also sent me out again.
“however which’s how the idea was back then. The g-force in those days was incredible. Owing to the amount of power the V10s had, they needed massive wings in addition to also also massive amounts of downforce to go with the 950bhp engines. Then we changed to the V8 which, to start with, was a bit of a toned-down V10, in addition to also also a bit slower.
“To start with, we could blow up two or three engines every test, which was the kind of thing you got used to. You’d learn the sound of the engine about to expire in addition to also also you’d be on the straight close to the rev limiter in addition to also also pull the clutch paddles in before the idea went pop, so you didn’t get fired off into the barrier.
“A couple of times I had the idea happen at Jerez where the engine let go. You’d go to pull off to the side, the gearbox could lock in addition to also also you could be fired off into the barrier, so you learnt the sound before the idea could let go.”
At This specific point I just sit back in addition to also also let Gary continue. His enthusiasm will be unrelenting.
“In 2009 we began with KERS in addition to also also which headache. I remember the first test with which car in addition to also also the team were like, ‘Right, KERS will be on This specific button, in addition to also also then there’s This specific button to do This specific…’. I just thought, ‘I can’t drive This specific; there are too many things to do!’.
“The problem at the time was, as soon as you got on full throttle, you were trying to get KERS, in addition to also also you were looking at the dashboard because they wanted you to use 10% out of This specific corner in addition to also also 7% out of which corner, in addition to also also you were forgetting to change gear.
“However, once you got used to which in addition to also also all the procedures, then DRS came in as well. in addition to also also then you had the magnificent f-duct system, where you placed your elbow into the hole from the side of the cockpit in addition to also also changed the vehicle’s aero to reduce drag. the idea was a great innovation, however some of the things were genuinely quite challenging.
“Recently, the most incredible F1 car was the 2011-2012 style with the blown diffusers. The amount of downforce they had was phenomenal. In qualifying modes, the throttle bodies were open 0% through the whole corner.
“When we had the F1 cars with blown diffusers, they were completely different via before because the more throttle you had on, the more downforce you had. In various other F1 cars you’d get on the power in addition to also also you’d get a bit of wheelspin, so you’d wait. With these cars you’d get a bit of wheelspin so you could have to apply more throttle to get more downforce in addition to also also get rid of the wheelspin.
“the idea’s a case of trying to compute in addition to also also get your head around how to drive these different cars. High-speed corners were just for braver people. If you stayed flat, you could have more downforce in addition to also also you’d get through quicker.”
Gary admits he’s seen a lot of modifications in F1 over time however, in his view, the latest return to turbocharged engines has definitely been the most revolutionary, in addition to also also the most difficult to get used to.
“We used to have a ‘normal’ engine, in addition to also also then a KERS package which recovered into batteries. You’d press a button to use the idea. however, nowadays, the idea’s all integrated into the system, so basically your KERS today fills from the torque gaps from the engine, so you have a perfect torque curve as the electronics fill the idea in.
“The amount of recovery systems you have today, in addition to also also the amount of recovery going on, means you can have smaller rear brakes. You have very little rear braking. The engine, gearbox in addition to also also brakes are all integrated in addition to also also if one thing goes slightly wrong, then the idea’s a chain reaction.
“The cars This specific year aren’t anywhere near as physically hard to drive as the old V10s, with their massive amounts of downforce. They were genuinely, genuinely tough. They’re today easier to drive however with all the various other things you’ve got to do – DRS, in addition to also also understanding your fuel saving in addition to also also things like which – the idea’s a different challenge.
“One interesting thing will be, however much the FIA takes downforce in addition to also also grip away via you, the engineers just find the idea. Within six months you’ve gone via a car which will be horrible to one which will be amazing!”
So what are the key differences between driving a DTM car in addition to also also a modern F1 car?
“The weight will be one thing,” says Gary. “DTM cars are a lot heavier, in addition to also also you have to respect which weight. They [DTM cars] have slick tyres, so they’re not bad racing tyres. However, the idea’s so easy to push too hard, in addition to also also the weight of the vehicle goes on the tyre in addition to also also the idea’s very easy to overdrive the vehicle.”
“For the amount of downforce they’ve got, the DTM cars are a little bit underpowered. You don’t have to be quite so gentle on the power exiting bends in addition to also also stuff like you could in an F1 car.
“Your seating position will be different in addition to also also has quite a big effect. In an F1 car you’re sitting pretty much on the front wheels. So when you turn, the idea’s the effect of your legs being pulled left in addition to also also right, where as from the DTM car, you’re quite far back, so you’ve got more of a rotational effect in addition to also also your perception of what the vehicle will be doing will be quite different.
“You’re a little bit left of centre, so you struggle to know where the right-hand side of the vehicle will be. The amount of downforce DTM cars have will be quite not bad for what the idea will be, too. the idea’s not comparable, however in relation the idea’s similar.
“The DTM car will be essentially 1-seater which has a carbonfibre shell. the idea carries a complete carbonfibre monocoque which has a steel roll cage on top, however the idea’s a purpose-built race car which has a paddle shift in addition to also also sequential gearbox, so the idea’s also completely different via the Mercedes-Benz C63 road car.”
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