Q: “Does ‘slow in – fast out’ always work? I hear the advice all the time, but I seem to do good going into corners really fast. My car control is really good, so that might be why. Is it because drivers with bad car control need to be slow in to be fast out of the corners?”
A: No. To both of your questions.
First, advice and tips and suggestions and instructions are guidelines, at best. There’s a reason that “slow in – fast out” has been given as advice to track drivers for decades. It works. No, not all the time, but more times than it doesn’t work.
Why is this advice given? Because by being slower on the entry to a corner you can get back on the throttle and begin accelerating earlier, and that – more often than not – leads to a faster straightaway speed, and ultimately a fast overall lap time. You can go too far with the “slow in – fast out” approach, though. One way of ensuring you get on the throttle early in a corner is to slow down to 5 MPH! If you were that slow, you could probably go back to full throttle the moment you turned into the corner!
It’s a trade-off, right? If you go into a corner too fast, you delay when you’re able to get back to full throttle. Go in too slow, and you can’t make up for the lack of speed, no matter how early you get on the throttle.
This has little to do with how good your car control skills are, and those of any other driver. Essentially, it’s a math and physics problem that you’re trying to figure out at speed, in the moment. Do I slow down a little more so I can get back to full throttle sooner, or do I carry more speed into the corner so I’m beginning to accelerate from a higher speed?
I see drivers all the time who either over-slow for corners, or carry too much speed in and are slow on the following straightway. It’s actually one of the most important trade-offs in performance driving, and it’s what makes the sport so challenging and fun.
If, currently, you’re good at carrying speed into corners, take a good look at your exit and straightaway speeds. Can you increase them by being just slightly slower on the entry to corners? That’s what you need to keep an open mind to, and constantly ask yourself. After all, it’s your overall lap time that’s more important than how much speed you carry into any individual corner.