Performance & Race Driving Tip
Speed Secret: Make the car show its weakness.
Something I see way too often is a driver wanting to make set-up changes to his car before he’s driving anywhere near the limits of the car.
Okay… there is the rare instance where a car is handling in such an evil way that something needs to be done before the driver can get anywhere near the limit. But that’s the exception to the rule.
Drive the car with the mindset that you’re trying to find its weakness – understeer or oversteer on entry, mid-corner, or at exit; instability while braking; inability to put the power down; “lazy” turn-in; etc.
If you get out of your car after a session and you honestly don’t know what the car needs to make it faster, then you know that you need to focus on your driving, first. Keep pushing, keep working at driving faster (in a strategic way) until your car tells you it has a weakness somewhere in its handling. Then, and only then, you can start making adjustments to the car’s setup.
Check back here often for more tips and advice for performance drivers, race drivers, high performance driving instructors, and anyone else interested in learning to get around race tracks quickly.
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A similar sentiment might be “I would be quick if I just had a car with horsepower”. (This comment is from a Spec Miata driver.)
So what are you expecting from a car where everybody is driving with basically the same power output. There are still winners and losers. Some can use the limited power more effectively than others and there is a reason for that. Driving a course with somebody that wins in the same car can be a help as that person can demonstrate the specific quirks of the car and what to look, listen and sense when approaching the limit. Horsepower will never be a substitute for skill.