Speed Secrets: The Handling Debrief Process

Features, Racing I By Ross Bentley I May 22, 2019

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:

  • What is the car doing? Understeer, oversteer or neutral?
  • Where is the car doing it? Which turn(s)?
  • Where in the turn(s)? Entry, mid or exit?
  • 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? 
  • 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

The Guide to Road Racing: Winding Road Magazine's ultimate guide to getting your start in racing.

Table of Contents

Related Articles

Anton Corbijn Shoots the Lamborghini Revuelto

Through Anton Corbijn’s lens, the Lamborghini Revuelto has been transformed into a rock star with a series of exclusive images.

September 20, 2023
Mini eMastered Combines British Craftsmanship and Electric Innovation

David Brown Automotive has unveiled an all-electric creation that signals a new era for the company – the Mini eMastered.

September 20, 2023
Speed Secrets: How to Come to Grips With a New Car or Track

Here’s a new Speed Secrets: how to come to grips with a new car or track? You drive the car, not the track.

September 19, 2023
Electric CLA Showcases Next-Gen Modular Architecture

The long-range entry-level electric CLA is set to take on the Tesla Model 3 and redefine what it means to be a compact electric car.

September 15, 2023
The Ferrari KC23 Gives Us a Glimpse into the Future

Ferrari has once again set hearts racing with the unveiling of a one-of-a-kind track car known as the Ferrari KC23.

September 13, 2023


Get the latest driving and racing news straight to your inbox.

no thanks

Begin typing your search above and press return to search.