In-Car Race Communications

DustEater

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I have sat co-driver in a Rally UTV car for a couple of races now. We're looking to become a more effective team and want to know what is working for others.

Current Operations:
  • Race Prep: We don't have the time to pre-run (if available) so we are going in relatively blind to the races. All we know of the course is the approximate design from the previous year(s) and and current year course files.
  • GPS: Lowrance Elite 7ti.
    • Basic Setup: Load of course and dangers list. On-screen display includes 1/4 mile range rings.
    • Zoom level: During the race I'm not adjusting zoom levels. I tried this the first time around and found it difficult to effectively "read" the course if I changed the zoom level.
    • Waypoints: I'm marking all the listed dangers with Red waypoints. So if it's too bumpy and I can't read the text I can still call out a danger ahead.
    • Tracking: We turn on a track of our car to show where we've been. I think this only helps for multi-lap races and lake beds.
  • In-Car Communication:
    • First race (SS300) I tried to interpret the GPS and call out every corner on a 1-3 scale, 1 = tightest corner. This caused some confusion when there was a "corner" that was masked by the zoom level (e.g. too far out) and I called out something approaching that was drastically different than what the driver was currently seeing/driving.
    • Second race (Mint400) I tried to simplify the communication and not call out every corner. I tried to call out turns based on needed change to speed. Meaning, if we were going from a high speed section into a section with sharper turns then I made sure we were slowing down before entering that section. Once in that slower section I left the driver to do his thing. Lastly, I noticed that there were some blind corners that we didn't need to slow down for, so I would just tell the driver to stay on it if I sensed hesitation.
    • General Comments: I need to work on timing of the calls based on the terrain. If we're in a technical section, avoiding rocks, etc. then I need to make calls when the driver isn't focused on those things.
  • Driving in the Dust:
    • What are teams doing here? If you're attempting to pass and it's almost zero vis are you staying in it and relying on the navigation to keep you on course? What about on the open lake beds at night in the dust? Rely on the GPS and maintain speed versus visuals?
  • Other:
    • We had trouble hearing the siren on cars behind us? We normally heard the engine long before the siren. Is this common? We didn't get nerfed so we probably weren't holding anyone up too long, thankfully!
What I've Seen
  • Bryce Menzies' co-driver said he had about 3k notes and attempts to call out every corner. This is obviously a well oiled machine and at one end of the spectrum.
  • Ken Block's co-driver was using a split screen on V2R that had two different zoom levels. I assume one was for high speed and the other for low?
  • Shock Therapy is putting out some good in-car content, but I can't figure out what their system is. I think they are using a direction (l/r) with approximate degrees for the turn, but not 100% on that. They don't appear to be calling out all turns either.
The Ask
What are some of the teams on here doing to optimize driver/co-driver communication? What's worked for you? What hasn't worked for you? Any general comments for a co-driver? Any general pointers to new teams?

Thanks all!
 

B.HAGLE

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Single seater...

In all seriousness I am only one year into racing and my needs have changed every race. As the driver I want as little outside distraction as possible and being able to interpret the course with my own instincts has proved to be more than enough when it comes to corners. Dangers, splits in the course that aren't marked, cut lines, info to make a pass or prevent a pass are all things you should be vocal about, hand gestures work well too in limited doses.

Sometimes my guy just tells me which direction the next corner is going to be and thats enough to jog my brain for setting up that corner. If its a long straight into a tight right I want to know because of speed and the need to slow down in time. It really is situational and per driving team.

Co dog also needs to do everything all at once. Interpret the course and offer insight to line choice, also watch the gps, also monitor systems, also give props and atta boys for all the small victories out on course, watch for locals, speak spanish, know how to use and where the tools are, fix the gps if it gets off screen, adjust gps according to situation on course. They have a tough job and don't get near enough credit.
 
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Baja Bryan

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Ken Blocks is my layout. Yes one zoom is to look ahead. Zoom levels are critical to have them always the same. I can have up the 12,000 notes in one race. I mark every corner and so much more. I highly recommend contacting Erica Sacks to learn very good the basics. She has online classes to learn the GPS good. Waypoint Nav . Know that GPS inside out. Ive been doing this years and I still find new tricks with it.

If you want to take this serious and start marking everything then need a 12" Lowrance live. Also a good time to switch over to the standard 1-6 rally turn angles. 6 is almost straight and 1 is a hairpin 180deg.

Dust sucks and its all about what your willing to risk. Go out and practice running in the dust for hours and hours. Read the bushes on the edges.

In TTs we cant hear trucks coming either. Always have your mind set for a hard nerf. Will feel like you have been in a car crash and will rattle you if you dont know its coming.

PM me if I can help with any questions. I like to see people with passion like you asking a lot of questions.
 

GageFamilyRacing

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I've sat in both seats and I'm particular with how I set everything up in the car and how I want my notes called. Being a navigator is a thankless job but a very important one to be successful. I use range rings at every 100yrds and I use the 1-6 rally style turns. For turns 1-3 I want to be called out every 100yrds until I acknowledge the turn and turns 4-6 just called out once. I want the vitals to be called out often so I know how the car is doing because I'm the one paying to fix everything. As much as I hate it I need to be told to slow down sometimes for the cars sake. I don't talk while driving other than a few (got It) to acknowledge a tight turn or a danger. As for the dust for the most part drive what you can see and feel. Once in awhile you just need to hang it out there to make a pass in the dust and hope for the best. If we are in a long silty area my navigator will let me know if I'm veering off course. I never hear a siren until they are on the side of me but everyone is different so you should always use it. Push to pass is great if its being used properly but using a rear view camera has been the best way to make sure you get out of the way before things get ugly.
 
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DustEater

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...Dangers, splits in the course that aren't marked, cut lines, info to make a pass or prevent a pass are all things you should be vocal about, hand gestures work well too in limited doses.
How does one determine the list above when interpreting data on the GPS? The dangers and splits seem relatively straightforward. Cut lines are something I hadn't considered, but makes sense.
 

Viola1685

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I've was in 1600 for just over 8 years and class 10 6 years both as a driver and for me I only like direction and degrees being called when we are charging in blinding dust. For the most part when there is no dust I just drive and the navigator will call out the sharper stuff just as a precaution. Even then it usually is only for lap 1 or so as by lap 2 i have the course dialed in my mind. The biggest thing for 1600 was watching the mirror during lap races after we knew the TT and class 1's were coming. In the class 10 really its just hang on and call stuff when we cant see the bumper trying to make a pass.

I'm sure that wasn't the most detailed answer you were looking for but that's what works for me. I would say ask your driver what he has liked or hasn't. It takes years for you and you're driver to get to a point where you find out what works. The guy that rides with me now has been with me for 7 years and it took probably about 2 years to get to a point where we had our system down and he understood me and I understood him and it just works like clockwork.

I should also mention that the first 4 years of racing I was in an older 1600 car with no gps so we got real good and driving what we could see and learning how to read the terrain when in the dust too.
 

DustEater

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Ken Blocks is my layout. Yes one zoom is to look ahead. Zoom levels are critical to have them always the same. I can have up the 12,000 notes in one race. I mark every corner and so much more. I highly recommend contacting Erica Sacks to learn very good the basics. She has online classes to learn the GPS good. Waypoint Nav . Know that GPS inside out. Ive been doing this years and I still find new tricks with it.

If you want to take this serious and start marking everything then need a 12" Lowrance live. Also a good time to switch over to the standard 1-6 rally turn angles. 6 is almost straight and 1 is a hairpin 180deg.

Dust sucks and its all about what your willing to risk. Go out and practice running in the dust for hours and hours. Read the bushes on the edges.

In TTs we cant hear trucks coming either. Always have your mind set for a hard nerf. Will feel like you have been in a car crash and will rattle you if you dont know its coming.

PM me if I can help with any questions. I like to see people with passion like you asking a lot of questions.

After the Mint we discussed possibly going to a 1-6 numbering scheme. Maybe this should be a target for Parker, but I'm a little worried about doing this on the fly without any testing. Granted the driver will probably handle a 3/4 about the same until we're more effective with our communication.

I am going to try and make some changes to the GPS layout and see if I can make myself more effective at reading for both low and high speeds. At Silver State I zoomed in when we slowed down, but quickly found myself behind the curve when we sped up and I forgot to zoom out.

I may hit you up via PM, thanks!
 

Baja Bryan

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Get some stickers made and convert over asap. Not all but most run this as a standard. This way if you every race with somone else you can still call the standard. Look into rally notes. "Short" and "Long" can help describe the tightness of the turn also.
 

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MTPyle

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64EB9B02-E241-4F69-B31C-F8A6D670B692.jpeg



We have this sticker on our dash to help judge the numbers.

Can’t find the pic of the one we printed. We added Scan Gauges and check mirrors on the bottom to remind Co driver to check these things.

For sure take Erica’s course. Good stuff.

Mike

Edit. Just saw Bryan posted the same pic at the same time. Haha perfect
 

DustEater

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I have been watching some videos from Team O'neil's Rally School on the East coast. They have a very detailed course on explaining rally notes and how to read them. Granted their premise is that you've already got them in hand. I'll check out Erica's course as suggested, might give me more tips on converting GPS to notes.

I like both your ideas of printing this as a sticker for the dash. That would be a good quick gauge for comparing what's on screen to expected severity. I'm going to try and get some of these before Parker in 2 weeks.
Get some stickers made and convert over asap. Not all but most run this as a standard. This way if you every race with somone else you can still call the standard. Look into rally notes. "Short" and "Long" can help describe the tightness of the turn also.

View attachment 236551


We have this sticker on our dash to help judge the numbers.

Can’t find the pic of the one we printed. We added Scan Gauges and check mirrors on the bottom to remind Co driver to check these things.

For sure take Erica’s course. Good stuff.

Mike

Edit. Just saw Bryan posted the same pic at the same time. Haha perfect
 

DustEater

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Quick shout out/thank you to all the replies so far. I'm trying to get through all of them, but work is getting in the way! There's still a few I need to reach back on. Thanks!
 
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critter81

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You should look at this site here RallyNavigator.com You can make Road Books from GPS tracks. Road Books is how the guys in Dakar go so fast.. Try putting a cap header in your truck and running a cap header
 

Baja Bryan

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You should look at this site here RallyNavigator.com You can make Road Books from GPS tracks. Road Books is how the guys in Dakar go so fast.. Try putting a cap header in your truck and running a cap header
They only do that because they cant have a GPS like we race. Road books would be more difficult than just dropping notes on your gps line. Get good and making notes as you go and do it fast. Some guys use voice recorder and come back later and add notes. The easier it it the more notes you will make.
 

critter81

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They only do that because they cant have a GPS like we race. Road books would be more difficult than just dropping notes on your gps line. Get good and making notes as you go and do it fast. Some guys use voice recorder and come back later and add notes. The easier it it the more notes you will make.
I disagree a bunch with you on this.. Rally notes like they have in Dakar Coupled with a GPS will always be faster than just GPS. I never said get rid of the GPS I meant to suggest adding a road book. Have you ever used a Dakar Style Road book?
 

critter81

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So the link you sent sends it over to Erica's site. from the looks of things she has done some Rally's my guess is she knows how to make a International Rally Style Road book.. which is what I am suggesting for the OP. using both not one or the other
 
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