If you had the opportunity to analyze in great detail some very sophisticated computer data acquisition information from a variety of drivers of different levels and cars at numerous race tracks around North America, you would learn a lot about driving yourself. Fortunately, over the past few years, I’ve had that opportunity.
Here are some conclusions I’ve come to:
Time after time, the data acquisition shows the fastest straightaway speed comes on laps with the fastest mid-corner speeds (unless it delays when the driver gets to full throttle). To have a fast mid-corner speed, you need to enter the corner as fast as possible, balance the car so it takes a set early in the turn, and begin accelerating early, smoothly, and hard.
Now, before you get any ideas that all you need to do to become the next F1, Indy or Le Mans champion is just maximize your mid-corner speed, realize that every champion had to perfect the line, then the acceleration phase, and then corner entry speed first. And so will you.
But, this may be a pretty good clue as to how to approach learning a new track. It’s a good priority list.
Start with figuring out what the ideal line is for your car and your driving style. Then, concentrate on accelerating earlier in the corner and harder.
Next, corner entry speed. Using data acquisition and a lap time simulation program, I’ve calculated that if you can enter every turn on an average road racing circuit just one MPH faster, you will save about ½ a second per lap. That’s not a lot faster corner entry speed to improve a whole lot lap time. Of course, that means doing it without it negatively affecting the line you’ve determined to be the best, or when and how hard you begin accelerating.
This is one of those compromises you need to make in your driving – deciding whether you’re better off entering a corner slightly slower and getting on the throttle earlier, or carrying more speed into the corner. Usually, if your increase in corner entry speed delays where you’re able to get back to full throttle (and not just beginning to squeeze it on), you’re better off slowing down slightly to get back on the throttle early.
If you perfect the line, acceleration phase, and corner entry speed on a consistent basis, you will automatically be working on your mid-corner speed. But, if you get that far, I doubt whether you’ll need my advice anymore.
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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