Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Use Super-Hero Vision!

Anyone who has driven on a track more than once has been told to look further ahead. And that advice will always be appropriate – there isn’t a driver in the world who doesn’t benefit from being reminded of this.

ross-bentley-formula-fordWe also know that the car follows our eyes. We steer in the direction we’re looking. That part of our human instincts can be used to our benefit, for when we look through a corner, we naturally steer through it. But there’s one minor glitch to this process.

Imagine approaching a right hand corner. As you get close to the turn-in point, you turn your head and look to the apex. What happens if you do this quickly, if you sharply turn your head and look directly at the apex? Right, the car will go directly there, because your hands follow your eyes. And that means you’ll apex early because you didn’t arc the car towards the apex.

Instead, what you want to do as you approach the turn-in point is look to, and through, the apex, but along a curve. It’s like you use some type of curved superhero vision – “Look! It’s Curved Vision Man! He can see around corners!”

To make matters even more challenging, as you approach the corner, you need to keep one eye on the turn-in point, while the other is on this curved path around, to, and through the apex, all the way out to the exit or track-out point. And with each fraction of a second that passes as you travel ahead, your visual picture has to move, adjust, adapt.

This is why looking up and ahead is so important – it results in a bigger picture, allowing you to use your peripheral vision more. It’s also why it’s critical that your eye movement is fluid and constant. Training and practicing this is a never-ending process. Fortunately, you can practice this while driving on the street or highway. In fact, that’s by far the best place to practice; if you wait until you get to the track to do it, it’ll make your performance driving clumsy and mechanical – not natural. It’ll feel as though your mind is trying to be in two places at once. Practice using your vision in your everyday driving and you’ll be that much faster when you’re on the track.

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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