Hoonivercinema- Understanding traffic in LeMons


The opening hour or two of most 24 Hours of LeMons races are exercises in traffic management. Before attrition can set in and the jankiest heaps in the field succumb to their fates, packs of cars slow and fast litter the racing surface. For experienced LeMons drivers in quick cars, working through this kind of traffic develops into second nature.

Follow the jump for video of a veteran LeMoneer managing traffic in the opening five minutes of the 2013 Sears Pointless race at California’s Sonoma Raceway with 173 other crapcans. (And a bonus video. And a song.)


The driver is Cem Aykan and he’s been a regular driver for Team Farfrumwinnin’s Volkswagen Fox on the country’s other coast and a guest driver in a variety of other cars. What you’ll see in the video below above is Monsieur Aykan behind the wheel of Wankel Grumpy Nerds’ Mazda RX-7, exhibiting patience and perception skills finely honed from a few hundred race miles in thick wheel-to-wheel traffic. This shows the importance of being predictable and looking ahead.


As I’m writing this post, another great video of LeMons traffic management from last weekend’s race at New Jersey Motorsports Park is circulating on social media. This one features the eventual race-winning Silver Errors Mercedes 190E (black car) from the perspective of the also-really-quick Saab-powered Nissan 300ZX from Rust in the Wind. Both drivers seem to possess superhuman spatial awareness, which is a both nerve-wracking and awe-inspiring for the speed-challenged like myself. Both drivers are clearly having a great time, as evidenced by the Merc driver’s vigorous waves to the Rust in the Wind driver to follow along at 1:30 in the video.

Anytime I watch videos of quality traffic management in multiclass racing, my inner ear wanders off to this song by obscure indie rockers Trouble Hubble (10 bonus Internet points if you can identify the building on the album cover). This, of course has little to do with racing, but it makes an interesting soundtrack to both videos.

[Source: YouTube and YouTube]

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19 responses to “Hoonivercinema- Understanding traffic in LeMons”

  1. parkwood60 Avatar

    Ha, that's nothing. I drove the 1st hour at Sears point in the Billy Beer car with 1 hand. The other was needed to hold our busted transmission in 3rd gear.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Saw your car's for sale.
      Sad Trombone…
      …mostly b/c I want to buy it, but can't.

  2. oneday Avatar

    I'll add my video from the Real Hooptie event to the pile of "traffic management in fast cars" videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLdvTSpR9qU

  3. derek steinnkamp Avatar
    derek steinnkamp

    The building is Wilson Hall @ Fermilab! WINNING!!!!

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      Winner, winner, proton dinner! It is Wilson Hall. (Trouble Hubble were from Elburn/Batavia.)

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    I can't watch this video at work, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoy slicing and dicing through traffic during a race. Having an open track to haul ass is a lot of fun, but pulling an amazing pass or finally shaking someone who has been on my tail for a while makes me feel like a hero. Not to toot my own horn, but I possess great spatial awareness on the track too, and I have been pretty amazed at some of the ballsy passes I was able to successfully pull off.
    So now I've probably jinxed myself.

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      I hear that autocrossing a Ford LTD is a pretty good spatial awareness primer.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        Ha – I haven't autocrossed anything in well over 5 years. The LTD even longer than that. Interestingly, I found that I suck at it. I'm much better on an open track.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          Another questions for the masses: Autox. HPDE, amateur racing (LeMons/Chump)?

  5. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    Six minutes of footage from the RX-7 because they had to pit and add oil, right?
    It's nice to see good driving from this POV.
    The first part of the second vid looks much like my commute this morning.
    Don't know what it was, but it seemed top speed…for everyone was limited to about 47 MPH…on a 65 MPH freeway, which wasn't particularly crowded.
    I don't think I broke 62 MPH one time, it was just one of those days.

  6. mdharrell Avatar

    It always amazes me how different a LeMons race looks when seen at speed.

  7. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar
    Scandinavian Flick ★

    For someone with no track experience, like myself, I think the most impressive ability is being able to make mid-corner adjustments. It's one thing to be able to take the perfect line through a corner. It seems like another thing entirely to be able to modulate every aspect of your car's abilities to dive inward or juke outward through traffic while under load.

  8. Nuclearspork Avatar

    Especially the first video its a good demonstration on how you can be fast while keeping risk at a minimum. The passes are all done in open spots with it looking like the car in front is aware of what is going on, and still preserving the car for the next 15 hours of racing.

  9. sbarton Avatar

    Dicing Through Traffic video from LeMons NJMP. Great race! What an epic weekend.
    [youtube SWLiMWHTFbQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWLiMWHTFbQ youtube]

  10. monkey_tennis Avatar

    Pah! These demonstrations of driving skill are a charade to hide the true nature of Lemons. Where is Mr. Driver when a thread needs him?
    Or is he waiting for a thread entitled 'Understanding the traffic in the last 2 laps of Lemons"?…

  11. m610 Avatar

    Great article, however, you only covered half of the story. It takes a lot of skill to be passed 8000 times during a race, and that's where our team shines.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      I've found that, with proper car selection, this fortunately doesn't require much skill at all.

    2. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      There's always room for a follow-up post.

  12. HTWHLS Avatar

    In that first video..did one of the cars have a giant bottle of Jaeger on it?? Both awesome videos and someone nailed it: the race looks totally different from this vantage point.