Q: “My question is about the best line and speed through banked corners. The two I have been on are Turns One and Tunnel at Pocono, and as well as the Carousel on the Summit Shenandoah circuit. I’m not sure if I should be taking a traditional line and hitting the apex, or just travel parallel to the corner and hold a steady speed? Also, do I just keep adding speed to find my limit like a traditional corner? Especially at Pocono, the speeds are high and a mistake ends with a trip to the wall, so any input would be helpful.”
On this week’s episode of Speed Secrets Podcast, Craig Watkins sits down to discuss how he became a race car engineer, how the Flying Lizards race team came about, the process of engineering and tuning a car’s handling, and the right questions to ask to figure out what your car needs. He also dishes about what it’s like to work with drivers such as Johannes van Overbeek, Patrick Long, Jörg Bermeister, Timo Bernhard, and other factory Porsche drivers.
Q: “I’ve heard the general wisdom that for high speed corners, you want to be on the gas – at least a little – to settle the car and have equal weight across all four tires. My question is how can a driver determine when a corner is fast enough to require that technique, versus trail-braking to the apex? Is it more about speed per se, or track surface, bumps and camber, or do you just try a conservative technique and see how the car behaves?”
In this week’s episode of Speed Secrets podcast, I am joined by Clay Millican, NHRA Top Fuel drag racer. We discuss the mental game of drag racing, driving 11,000 horsepower, how to steer a Top Fuel dragster, the importance of reaction times, and all that goes into driving a race in less than 4 seconds!
Q: “I was having a discussion with a buddy about fuel management while racing. I know that if things are getting dicey, drivers will start to coast at the very end of a straight, for example. But how common are other techniques, especially in long endurance races? Is short shifting common? Will people be running 90% throttle down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans if they’re not feeling threatened? FWIW, this conversation was born from laughing at the number of times in movies that two cars will he racing down a straight and the drivers will then do something (downshift, upshift, more throttle) to jockey for position instead of simply being wide open to redline in the first place.”