Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Carry entry speed by looking into the turn and focusing on your release of the brakes. Focus on the End-of-Braking point.

One of the most important driving techniques that has led to the biggest gains from the most drivers I’ve worked with is covered in the above Speed Secret.

One day I was driving along a highway in my beater Honda (every penny I had at the time was “invested” in my racing career) and up ahead the traffic light turned to red. As I started braking a lightbulb lit up above my head.

For a few years I had wondered why, when other drivers asked me what brake marker I used to start braking for a particular corner, I couldn’t really tell them. I had a vague idea, but it wasn’t like I could be very exact. For a while I thought there must be something wrong with me for not knowing that, but when I realized that I most often out-braked other drivers I stopped worrying about it.

So, why the lightbulb lighting up?

When I braked for the red light I didn’t look around for a brake marker to tell me when to start braking. No, I looked ahead at where I wanted to be finished braking, and then started and adjusted the pressure on the pedal to suit that.

The next time I was on track I realized I did something very similar. Okay, I used the brake markers to give me a general feeling of where to start braking, but what I focused on the most was where I was going to finish my braking – what I began calling the End-of-Braking point. It was like I was focused on the stop line at the traffic light.

Over the next few years I asked other drivers where they started braking for certain corners, and I noticed a pattern to the answers. The best, the fastest drivers could not tell me exactly where they started baking; the slower drivers could.

Hmmm… Where were these drivers looking? What were they focusing on mostly when heading into the turn? The fast ones were focused on the End-of-Braking point, whereas the slow drivers were focused on the Begin-of-Braking point.

I’m not saying a driver should never look at brake markers, or know where they begin braking. What I’m saying is that most of your focus should be on the End-of-Braking point, and not the Begin-of-Braking point.

When you focus on the End-of- Braking point, what do you think it does to your vision? Forces you to look ahead, into the turn, right? And guess what happens when you do that? Typically, your entire brake zone becomes more consistent, and you carry more entry speed into the turn (without it negatively effecting exit speed).

Something to think about the next time you’re on the track… Looking for your End-of-Braking points.

Check out this video tip that I posted a while ago that is related to this.

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