Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Driving Fast Comes From a Light Touch on the Steering Wheel.

I was talking with a friend and he asked how tightly I recommend a driver hold the steering wheel. See, he plays golf, the guitar, and is in the process of learning to play the fiddle.

9&3-steering-wheelHis fiddle teacher told him to hold the bow with “3 pressure” – meaning that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being grasping the bow as tightly as possible. My friend said that he’s had golf instructors suggest about the same grip pressure, so he wondered whether this applied to driving as well.

I hadn’t ever thought of it that way before, but I am now! And I think that holding the wheel with about “3 pressure” is a good target. Sure, there are times where you might have to tighten your grip just a little more, depending on the type of car you’re driving (a high-downforce car through a fast, grippy corner, for example). But if you aim to hold the wheel with a light grip, you’ll have better sensitivity to the feedback you get through the wheel.

The next time you’re driving down the highway in your street car, grip
the steering wheel as tightly as possible. Notice how much vibration you feel through the wheel. Next, lighten your grip to around “3 pressure,” and notice how much more feel you have. With a lighter grip, your arms are more relaxed, and because of that, more feedback from the wheel is transferred to your brain where it can be translated into information about what the car is doing.

And the next time you’re on the track, try “3 pressure” to control the steering wheel. If it works with musical instruments and golf clubs, it must work for driving!

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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