Speed Secrets: Handling Debrief Process

Features, Racing I By Ross Bentley I October 11, 2017

Whether you have a team of engineers working on your car, or you discuss its handling problems while looking in a mirror each and every time you come off the track, you should consider what setup changes you could make to your car.

Of course, your answer may be, "Nothing," since you may have decided (smartly) that you're not going to make changes to your car until you know for sure that you've gotten most everything out of your own driving. Even still, I think a good habit to get into at the end of each on-track session is to ask yourself, "If I could make the car do one thing better, what would it be?" In doing so, you may uncover a driving issue or technique you want to improve before making changes to your car, but you might also discover a critical handling issue.

Having asked yourself that one all-important question, I then recommend the following process for debriefing on your car's handling (again, you can use this to debrief with yourself if you're your own "engineer"). Ask yourself these questions, in this order:

  1. What is the car doing? Understeer, oversteer or neutral?
  2. Where is the car doing it? Which turn(s)?
  3. Where in the turn(s)? Entry, mid or exit?
  4. What am I doing when the car does this?
  • Braking?
  • Trail braking?
  • Releasing brakes?
  • Coasting?
  • Maintenance throttle?
  • On power?
  • Slowly turning steering wheel?
  • Crisply turning steering wheel?
  • Steady steering?
  • Unwinding the steering wheel?
  1. Is it the car or is it me? Am I inducing the handling problem, or is it the car?

If you follow the process of asking these questions, in this order, I'll guarantee you'll learn something that'll make you and your car faster. If you answer these questions honestly, digging deep for the answers, what to do setup-wise (or with your driving technique) will become obvious.

Ross Bentley

For more information about Ross’s tips, coaching, eCourses, newsletter, Virtual Track Walk videos, and other resources to help you drive at your best, go to www.SpeedSecrets.com

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