Rally Tips: Pacenotes By Team O’Neil Rally School

pacenotesThe Team Oneil Rally School offers a ton of useful information on their Facebook page and it’s worth following. Their most recent post was about best practices for using pacenotes. Its pretty good so we reposted it here for future reference.

One of the more difficult aspects of rallying in the US is that you have to develop a note system that works for you, then edit the computer-generated notes you are provided to fit your system. Every team does this differently, but here’s a few options that you may find useful:

  1. Review the entire book before recce, ensure all pages are there and in order, and read through the notes quickly scanning for any notes that are overcomplicated, irrelevant, or otherwise confusing.
  2. Simplify the overly complex notes to only the few things that matter. “R5+>4/BigCr/Rox Spectators into L4” could be changed to “R4late/BigCr L4” for example.
  3. Change notes to tell you what to do instead of what not to do. “Stay in” is often more useful than “Tree Outside.”
  4. Many notes that require you to think and make a decision can just be replaced by that decision. “R6/LgSmCr 200” could be “Stay R/FlatCr 200.” 
  5. You can change numeric notes to descriptive if you like. “R5lg 70 L4” could be changed to “ERlg 70 ML” (Easy right long into medium left). This separation of words and numbers is easier for many people.
  6. You can choose to put the numbers before the letters, because the speed change is often important than the direction of the corner. “L5 50 R3 into L2” could be “5L 50 3R into 2L”
  7. You can change stage notes into “pace” notes various ways. “100 Cr 50 L2- into R5” could also be “100 BrCr 50 HPL into FR” (100 braking crest 50 hairpin left into flat right).
  8. You can assign numbers to crests the same way you do corners. “200 Cr 50 R2” could be “200 Cr3 50 R2” so you’d go over the crest at the same speed you’d enter a 3 corner
  9. Many teams delete almost all small crests that won’t effect the car at speed, but take care doing this if you’ll be racing the stage at night. Small crests will be blind and using them as a landmark, then a distance to corner can be very useful.
  10. Once you’re happy with your notes, now go do recce. You’ll have simple notes that are easy to understand, work for you, and can add in any other information you think you’ll need at speed.

Check out Team Oneil’s website for more detail about booking a class.

Bill Caswell is a self-taught racing driver, mechanic, and fabricator, and rose to internet fame taking a $500 Craigslist BMW to a World Rally Championship event in Mexico in March of 2010. His exploits have featured in places like ESPN Magazine, Grassroots Motorsports, NPR Radio, Wired.com and Jalopnik.com. A lifelong fan of rally and motorsport, Caswell famously believes nothing to be impossible.