Q: Where should I be focusing when trail braking?

ask-ross-bentley-q&aQ: I really like the idea of focusing on the point where you are off the brakes as opposed to where you begin. But if it is a trail braking corner where are you focusing on exactly???

A: There is no exact specific End-of-Braking (EoB) point that works for every corner. Every turn is different (as is the car, etc.). The EoB point is that point where your brake lights would go out – the place where your foot finally comes right off the brake pedal. For some corners/cars, it’s right at the turn-in point, some just a little after, some further into the corner, and some almost all the way to the apex. By looking for it you look further into the corner, and you judge the point where you start braking by where you’ll end (you don’t always arrive at the beginning of braking point at the same speed, so it should change based on your speed). So, as you approach the corner, look for the point where your foot will come completely off the brake pedal – your EoB. That’s where you should be focusing while approaching a corner. Of course, you’re eyes should constantly be moving, scanning, up and back.

3 Comments

  1. The way I teach it… The point to end the trail-braking is the point where you are comfortable moving to the gas. As you trail into the corner… you will suddenly be overcome with a feeling of comfort because the car is communicating that it’s pointed and ready to go. Then you transition to the gas. If you’re not comfortable, it’s not time yet. If you are doing it right, it should feel easy and effortless. My 2 cents… Great topic!

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  2. To Peter Carroll’s point, shouldn’t we be searching for the corner exit point as soon as possible with our eyes. And if so, when we feel that comfortable feeling that we can get the car to that exit point at full throttle — it’s time to get back to the gas (feeding it). I’m even to the point of letting my sighting thru the exit determine where I start breaking, too. (This helped me to stop “staring at the apex” as one instructor told me I did.)

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    • If you can see the exit when beginning to brake, great, but in my experience that’s pretty rare – it’s just too far away and around the corner. I think that to manage your braking best, you need to have your vision focused (I hate to use “focused” too much, because it sounds like a stationary thing – it’s not) on where you’re going to finish your braking. That results in the best brake release, which manages the balance of the car and rotation. But every driver and corner is a little different…

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