Advanced Driving School Tips
If you want to maximize the potential of your car at the race track, you might benefit from following these basic guidelines.
Learn and Predict Weight Management
Expert level car control starts with a mastery of weight transfer. Cars are extremely sensitive to rotation on the limit. So anything you do to drop the nose (think lifting off the throttle in a constant radius corner) or upset the balance of the car can spell out big problems on corner entry and mid-corner. Transitions that challenge other drivers become a breeze when you master how to place a vehicle's weight. Be smooth and give inputs that are purposeful, but not overly aggressive.
Tires can quite literally make or break your entire driving experience. New rubber like the RE71R and Rival S 1.5 are the minimum when it comes to acceptable grip for any high-performance machine. Good tires help a driver get on the throttle earlier while planting the rear end. And when it comes to lap times, early application of the throttle is king. Getting used to high grip tires will help you understand what the vehicle is truly capable of, and establish a higher level baseline for track days.
Trail Brake At Your Own Risk
On autocross courses, where speeds are low and hairpins are tight, you can actually benefit from trail braking and getting the back end of the car to step out. But this technique should be kept to slow corners. When speeds start increasing, trail braking can become quite alarming in any car—especially if it’s not setup correctly. It’s a very fine line of human error, and more often than not, the risk is not worth the reward.
Work on Loading the Car
As you go through a constant radius corner and increase speed, you will hopefully be approaching the limit gradually. The advanced driving technique is to get up to this limit as quickly as possible without stepping over it. Easier said than done, especially on cold tires. Advanced drivers can ascertain where the limit is by using an innate feel of when the car is going to break loose. This sixth sense comes from hours of seat time without varying the grip level in the tires (i.e. you are not practicing one time on RE71R and the next on all season Michelins). This is more or less down to muscle memory.
Roll Into the Corners
Many intermediate drivers who can cut great lap times are still guilty of steering too abruptly. You will often see in videos of guys fighting the wheel back and forth. In the industry, we call this action “chopping wood” or “seesawing” the wheel. Turn in should be like rolling the wheel as little you need to to make the corner. Anything more and you will be upsetting the chassis and costing time.
Use The Whole Road
Lots of drivers know that they need to use the whole circuit but there are hidden parts of circuits you can use that people ignore. A great example of this is the inside curb on turn 10 at Laguna Seca. Using small parts of the track that others don’t can unlock a new level in your lap time by opening up the corners and making them less dramatic. Sometimes the advanced line is much more simple than you think.
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