Paddle shifting / sport mode on the track (for dummies)

Discussion in 'Mustang S550 General Forums' started by klumpikat, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. klumpikat

    klumpikat Chick driver

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    I read through old threads on paddle shifting but didn't really get the answers I am looking for.

    I am going to a performance driving clinic at Buttonwillow Saturday (tomorrow) and want to take full advantage of what the car can do on the track to the best of my (very limited) abilities.

    I am studying the hell out of this on youtube as far as tracking on the Buttonwillow track itself so I kinda know a little what to expect but only know the very basics of real-world paddle shifting (and will be getting more practice on the 4hr drive on my way to the track :)). I understand going full auto on the track is a bad idea. It's all or nothing with me, anyway, in daily life, depending on my mood: "S" and go completely manual or just going full auto; never a "mix". I am confused about doing this with or without Sport mode. From what I read, both together are no bueno. But I dunno if there are different rules between daily driving habits as discussed elsewhere in this forum vs driving on the track. Also I know nothing about traction control, and on one video the instructor tells a student to turn it off.

    Please educate this track virgin so I am somewhat prepared. I intend to absorb as much as possible and get my speed on, but remain safe. I am not one to just start flying around like some know-it-all retard and spinning out, hurting my baby. :p It is a bit unnerving to hear that Mustangs are apparently notorious for not handling beautifully on Buttonwillow (unless that is just hate talk in general).

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. TypeTridoron

    TypeTridoron Active Member

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    Might also be people thinking of the older wave of S197s, to be fair.

    Wish I had much to offer as advice, all I can say right now is best of luck and godspeed out there. :cheers:
     
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  3. OP
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    klumpikat

    klumpikat Chick driver

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    This ia a very good point. I have not yet found a video of a student driving an S550, a completely different stang with a completely different suspension. Thank you for pointing that out. And thank you for the well-wishes! :)
     
  4. Todd15Fastback

    Todd15Fastback Well-Known Member

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    If this is your first track day event, I would not turn off all the nannies. Maybe take a lap or 2 with all of the nannies on so you get a feel for the car and how it behaves. Next session put it in sport+ and drive a bit more aggressive and go from there.
     
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  5. Rickycardo

    Rickycardo Well-Known Member

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    Over the last month or so I have been driving daily in Track mode with the shifter in 'S' and doing all my shifts, up and down, with the paddles. I will pass on a couple little bits that I have learned.
    Recognize what RPM you need to be at and anticipate the gear to be in before you get into the corner.
    Depending on the length and layout of the track most of your driving will use 2nd, 3rd, and maybe 4th gear. Don't be afraid to wind it out in a gear, You won't hurt it. It's sometimes better to hold a gears a second or two longer on a short straight than shift up and immediately shift down. This is a good tranny but it's still not a DCT.
    Upshifting while turning to the right is more difficult than upshifting and turning left. Your hand is at 6 o'clock right in your lap. Know if you need to be in that gear sooner or hold the lower gear longer.
    With downshifting you also get engine braking. That can mess up your timing when braking into a turn. Only practice will help.
    Start driving exclusively with the paddles now. It take a little time and practice to get comfortable with the process. Also the tranny 'learns' from your driving and you want a little time for the system to learn what you are doing.
    Overall it's not a bad thing, just a different thing to learn and get comfortable with. You won't hurt the engine, Ford put a lot of safeguards in place.
    And lastly, enjoy it!!!
     
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  6. OP
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    klumpikat

    klumpikat Chick driver

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    There is supposedly two parts to the day...of course Beginners in the morning...and if I am "good enough", I can take a "more advanced" class in the afternoon.
    Keeping the nannies on all morning sounds like a plan. ;)
     
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    klumpikat

    klumpikat Chick driver

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    So you drive in Sport mode and "S", and you go up to 4th gear. I read that with this combo you cannot go past 4th gear anyway, is that true? What is your top(ish) speed in 4th gear?

    I get most everything you are saying here...except...what is a DCT? :headbonk:

    Very helpful advice. I am going to practice paddle shifting on my way up. i am still getting a feel for the RPMs when changing gears but am probably on the conservative side, both up-and downshifting. More than likely I will be thinking of braking only vs downshifting into a turn anyway on the track, heh. Maybe I will give it a shot in the "afternoon session" if I "graduate" ;)
     
  8. Rickycardo

    Rickycardo Well-Known Member

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    I drive in Track mode with the shifter in 'S'. I turn off all the nannys but I'm old, fat and experienced and willing to accept the consequences of my errors. I shift all the way to 6th gear with no issues. I have almost true manual control over the trans.
    A DCT is a dual clutch transmission like found in more exotic cars like Ferraris Labos, Audis and strangely enough newer Acura sedans.
    It does take some practice and is a learned skill. You will find yourself glancing down at the dash a lot to confirm what gear you're in and you'll need to remember that deep into a turn when the wheel is rotated 180 degrees that your left hand now handles the upshift. That's why I advise to think ahead and try to anticipate what gear you'll need. That comes from practice and experience. Keep the nannys on, you'll want that extra help as your brain will be very busy. :thumbsup:
     
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  9. hawkbox

    hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Drive that sucker in paddle mode everywhere you go for a while, it will teach you tons about the shift points and where you need to look ahead for these shifts.

    The trans is good, but as said above - its not a DCT (it doesn't sound like you have had the pleasure of driving one or the pain of fixing one so no worries!)

    One of the first things I found is that the car thinks for a sec (me being "funny" in my descriptive nature) before it upshifts. You just need to know where that shift point is.

    I learned this very very early on, a few days after I got mine when a little AMG convert decided to give me a stop light challenge.... I waited too long on a shift and it redlined because I was still thinking in terms of manual shifting and where one of my previous Audis shifted.

    best advice, spend all your time behind the wheel in paddle mode now!
     
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  10. Todd15Fastback

    Todd15Fastback Well-Known Member

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    Have fun! Posted up some videos if you can:D
     
  11. Old 5 Oh

    Old 5 Oh Well-Known Member

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    No. S mode gives you 5th gear, but not 6th. If you are in S, you can paddle shift to 5, but you will never get 6, only a flashing 5.

    Personally, I think you should try Sport+ with the trans in S in the morning. It's pretty darn smart. See how it does holding gears and anticipating what you need coming out of corners. If you don't like it, paddle shift. But while you learn the track, it will be nice to be able to focus on steering, line through the corners, and braking points without worrying about shifting. You can get to that when you are more comfortable.
     
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  12. OP
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    klumpikat

    klumpikat Chick driver

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    Got the dash cam ready and we are looking into Harry's Lap Timer for iphone but it may be too late in the game to slap that together...hubster ('puter and electronicals extraordinaire) is looking into that now.

    If I don't make too much of an ass of myself I might post something. :lol:
     
  13. hawkbox

    hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    You can shift to 6th with paddles in sport mode, it just wont do it on its own.

    I drive pretty exclusively in S mode with the paddles for city slickin' and s+ or track for uhem, "spirited" driving...

    You control the shift points in paddle mode!
     
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  14. GTP

    GTP Deutsche Pony

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    ^This. :thumbsup:

    Make sure you don't touch a paddle or you will jump out of full auto mode. (I'm sure you know this.)
     
  15. GT Pony

    GT Pony Well-Known Member

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    Good use for the dash cam. :thumbsup:
     
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