(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Plural Of Winner Is Winners Edition

Overheating. A radiator cap that committed suicide at 120MPH. Brake pads that went from 65 percent to 5 percent in the same time it took them to go from 100 to 90. Protests. Complaints. Custom T-shirts made at the track to gripe about our team and its ability to drive from 13th place to 3rd. This past weekend at Mid-Ohio had it all. But in the end, we were the overall weekend champions for AER Class 2.

So much of the credit has to go to the crew from Motorsports in Action. Fresh from a Continental Tire series win in their McLaren 570GT4, the team of Jesse Lazare, Carl Hermez, and Eric Kerub arrived to help us beat the odds and win the whole enchilada. Jesse proved that he could drive worn-out tires to the absolute limit, Eric displayed a cool hand under pressure, and Carl combined with my SCCA race wrench Jon Shevel to complete a front brake job in… wait for it… three minutes and forty-eight seconds. That’s how you win races.

The photo above is very special to me. It shows our final driver, Ms. Charley Baruth, taking the checkered flag on Sunday to clinch the win. After twelve surgeries and more effort than most people can even imagine, Danger Girl is winning races under her own steam. Now let’s see what I accomplished under my own steam. (Hint: not as much.)


For R&T, I discussed what it means to be “intuitive” and teased our readers with a 911 GT3 stick-shift preview.

Brother Bark showed TTAC what it was like to live on the (Ford) Edge.

I gave away the wrong car seat and shone a brighter light on some odd claims about electric-car sales.

This upcoming week we will have a few new pieces right here on this site from some guest writers and from yours truly. Come back later — maybe I’ll have caught up on my sleep!

13 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Plural Of Winner Is Winners Edition”

  1. Chris Tonn

    The sub-4 minute brake job on a HOT production-based car simply baffles me.

    Reminds me of a 67-minute transmission replacement during the ’07 Longest Day of Nelson Ledges – I was just the fuel man on that team, but it was remarkable how quickly things can be done by talented mechanics.

    Reply
  2. EJ

    I was so so very happy to read about this. This is just so awesome! I’m so glad she was able to take the checkered. I love how much she’s just kicking ass out there! Hopefully someday I’ll get there myself…

    Reply
  3. Patrick

    I enjoyed your article on intuitive. I was fortunate in that, for ten years from the mid seventies to mid eighties, I drove trucks for the post office in Toronto. My basic work was driving 5 ton trucks. But I was a relief driver, so I could be asked to drive anything from a K-car through step vans to the 5 tonners. And we had several different makes o 5 ton trucks. I also drove tractor trailer on the side. Some older ones had 5 sped with the high/low differential and some had roadranger transmissions. So I became very used to hoping into different vehicle and figuring out where everything was and what sort of transmission I was dealing with. This has proved useful over the years.

    Reply
  4. Daniel J

    Mazda’s Manual mode on their automatics is somewhat a “monostable” design. It returns to center after shifting up or down. Now, It doesn’t engage P, N, or R. Push the stick down to shift up and push the stick forward to shift down. Now THAT isn’t intuitive to me at all, but most older people find it better than the reverse order. For me the reverse order is more intuitive because A) my Grand Prix went D, 3, 2, 1 and B) and the cheap bicycle twist shifters on the right hand are twist forward to increase gear and twist back to decrease gear.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The reason you want the shifter to push forward is because you’re doing it under braking on a racetrack or fast road and it lets your hand move with the G-force of braking instead of backwards against it.

      Reply
  5. sightline

    Can I defend the monostable for a minute away from the intuitive / familiar axis? Instead let’s look at it through the lens of interface design, throwing away the mechanical link, history, etc.

    In most systems, you want to assign the most common tasks to the most common/easiest movements, to take advantage of muscle memory and ensure easy things are easy. In shifters, P is the most important function, followed by D, R, L, then N(1).

    In the typical PRNDL shifter, P is at the top, great, it’s very important and there’s little ambiguity. Push the shifter all the way forward and you’re in park. But it gets bad after that. Pull all the way back, you’re in L, one of the LEAST essential modes in a modern car. Generally if you need to be in low gear, you’re paying attention to the transmission so the extra mental work of finding a low gear is acceptable. But the second most important function, D, is in the middle, between N and L, and the third most(2) is between P and N. From a strict UX POV, this makes no sense, since the functions are almost random on the tree. How many times has someone been in reverse when they should have been in drive or park because the shifter might have 3″ separating them? Impossible to tell without looking.

    In the BMW monostable (which I’m using because I have the most familiarity with those), the system is designed to 1) make the important functions easy to do without looking and 2) ensure that it is hard to get them mixed up. So D, which is important, is “pull back all the way”. R, which is important, is “push forward all the way”. P, *which is the most important of them all* gets a completely different action, i.e. “push a button”. The three most important functions are all completely different actions. While you might not KNOW what mode you’re in without looking, you shouldn’t have to, because you can always find whatever common mode you need with a discrete action. The point is that the designers have replaced KNOWLEDGE (“I need to know what gear I’m in”) with ACTION (“I am not in park unless I have pushed a button.”). It’s a reduction in mental load once a user gets over his/her familiarity with lever-style gear changes.

    1. If you disagree with me, it doesn’t matter. Some combination of PRD are the most important and NL are less important.
    2. Or second! Who cares!

    Reply

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