Use More Track to Drive Faster

Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Every inch of track you’re not using is costing you speed. You paid for it, so use it all.

driving on the edgeIf you decrease the radius of a turn by not using all the track, your maximum speed will be significantly reduced. For example, by entering a corner even one foot away from the edge of the track, the radius of the turn may be reduced by as much as one percent. What’s one percent worth? As much as half a second on some road racing circuits. And what’s that half second worth to you?

There is no reason not to use all the track surface on the entry to a turn… or at the apex… or at the exit.

Okay, there are turns where using all the track actually costs you time
(by increasing the distance you have to drive) , or there’s a bump you want to avoid. But these are exceptions to the rule, and choosing not to use all the track should be a deliberate action – not one that happens because you’re unaware of the track’s edges.

You “paid” for it – use it.

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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2 Comments

  1. Ross,

    Can you think of a couple turns on well known courses where it’s not advantageous to use the whole track because it’s not faster?

    Reply
    • Mark – Depending on the car, some times it’s not an advantage to use all the track entering Turn 3 at Daytona – moving the car all the way over the far left edge requires too much work from the tires, and you’re at the wrong angle when approaching the turn-in point. It’s been that way since they added pavement to the left edge of the track – essentially another lane – on the ledge side of the track. Another place that some times – but not always – works to not use all the track would be the exit of Turn 1 at VIR. That’s kind of a expanding radius at that point, and sometimes the car has already rotated enough that letting the car out the last couple of feet to the edge of the track just means you’re covering extra track length without a benefit. These are “exceptions to the rule.”

      Reply

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