Ask Ross

Q&A with Ross Bentley

 

Q: Can you clarify what you mean by “collect the car” in double apex or “diamond” corners?

Q: “I am an instructor and often suggest to students that they review your Virtual Track Walks in preparation for a DE day. They have asked me, “What does he mean by “collect up” the car in turn 2? As you will recall, there is a discussion of racing ovals and using a “diamond” line. We teach either the single apex or a double apex approach. I can’t explain to them what you mean by “collect up.” When we teach double apex, we are taking a relatively fast, straight entry, braking to apex 1, releasing/rotating and driving to apex 2 and tracking out to the right side of the track. Perhaps the double apex approach with braking to Apex 1 and then turning is the same thing as “collecting up”, but I’m not sure.”

read more

Q: As a newbie to racing, how do I respond to being brake checked?

Q: “I’m a relative newbie who made the jump from HPDE to racing and experienced something weird at my last race. The car in front of me brake checked me on the main straightaway. I was tucked in tight and drafting him. He did it again in a race the next day. We were both driving slow momentum cars. His car was slightly faster. Is this something I should expect to see from other racers in the future? It felt dirty and dangerous. Maybe I’m just a newbie and it’s standard stuff.”

read more
Q: How do I learn to left foot brake?

Q: How do I learn to left foot brake?

Q: “I have been tracking my car for three years now. It’s a 2017 MX5 with a clutch so I’ve always braked using my right foot. I do a lot of sim racing and do the same there. Recently my right knee has been getting sore from an old bike racing injury. I want to learn to left foot brake on the sim. Any tips to make the changeover easier? Or is it just something I just need to do a lot of to get as good as I am with my right foot?”

read more
Q: How can I get better at sensing my car’s limits?

Q: How can I get better at sensing my car’s limits?

Q: “What can I do to improve my kinesthetic sense so that I can better understand and manage what the car is doing? I have been trying to use visualization techniques and other things to get mentally prepared, I have been practicing “vision” both in terms of learning how to look down the track rather than always staring at braking points or apexes as well as “looking” around blind corners, but feel like (other than driving) I haven’t really been doing anything to improve my kinesthetic sense. What can and should I be doing?”

read more
Q: How do I adapt to driving a Porsche GT3 from a BMW M4?

Q: How do I adapt to driving a Porsche GT3 from a BMW M4?

Q: “I’ve recently switched from a BMW M4 to Porsche GT3, and I’m struggling to adapt. Any tips or recommendations? I’m 2-3 seconds slower in the GT3, which makes zero sense. I’m guessing the corner entry (off brake and turn in) phase is killing me, but I could also be slow to get to WOT (different on rear engine?).”

read more

Q: How do I improve my racecraft?

Q: “While I feel I have a good awareness of cars around me, I’m struggling with wheel-to-wheel racing. The problem is, I’m new to the type of car I’m racing – touring cars. I feel totally blind when I’m competing with other cars. I used to race open-wheel cars, and I could sense where other cars were around me, and then confirming it with very good convex mirrors. With the touring cars, every time someone dives inside me in the brake zone, I have no idea if I should turn in on the corner or not because I have no idea where the other car is. I don’t want to turn in if they’re already there, so I just get passed easily. I feel intimidated. I want to get better at racecraft. Any suggestions?”

read more

Q: How do I know when the perfect time is to release the brakes entering a corner?

Q: “I wanted to tell you this. I went out after being off the track for 9 months, but while I was held up in the house I took your webinar on braking (Improve Your Braking & Corner Entry), and the one thing I remember you telling us is pay more attention to where you finish your braking then where you apply the brakes. OMG, this was much more important than I thought! I like comparing my lap and a pro driver’s time in my car. I am a visual person and I like to see at a glance where we are on the throttle and brakes. I did figure out that the reason I was losing time at Thunderhill was not braking too early. In fact, the pro and I were consistent on where we started braking, but I held the brakes on just a little longer. Obviously, this would consistently slow me down. So, without Data Acquisition is there another way to learn when it’s the perfect moment to get off the brakes?”

read more

Q: How did you become a pro racer, and what can I learn from your experience?

Q: “I appreciate the racing/driving knowledge you generously provide and continue to provide. I have a question: how did you become a race car driver from being someone who wanted a seat in a race car, from inception to the point of transition? I, like most people, want to make my goal a reality (that’s where the realists will chuckle, but never mind them), but it’s quite difficult to see how I can make that come to fruition. Although not everyone’s path will be the same and our environments may have differed, I think having a guideline could be useful.”

read more

Q: Should I upshift at the end of a long straight, and should I downshift through all the gears?

Q: “I purchased and watched your “Virtual Track Walk” for Road Atlanta, which was awesome. It helped a lot to prepare me for that challenging track. I was there last weekend for a 3-day HPDE and there was PCA Club Racing too. The races in the rain Saturday afternoon were scary! I have also just finished reading “Ultimate Speed Secrets,” my 3rd book from you. I have a question that I can’t find an answer to specifically, and as it relates to a fast and long straightaway (such as the straight at Road Atlanta from turn 7 to 10A). I have a Porsche 981 GT4, I was going all the way to using 6th gear at about the “bend” at turn 9 to keep the RPM below 7k (peak HP is 6500), and then tried different downshifts for the braking and turn in at 10A. I first went through all the gears on the way down, doing the turn in 3rd. I then tried a down shift to 5th and then short-shifted from 5th to 3rd during the braking. I also tried going straight to 3rd from 6th during the braking, and last, I tried staying in 5th instead of shifting to 6th (had to lift a little to keep it off the redline) and then short shifted to 3rd. I found no “time” differences in any of the options. What technique would you suggest?”

read more