Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Be aware of the speed at which you turn the steering wheel.

turn-steering-wheelThe tip I posted a few days ago triggered a thought: The speed at which you turn the steering wheel should be different, depending on the corner you’re navigating.

You can progressively, linearly, or digressively turn the wheel. In the case of progressively turning the wheel, you start slow but gradually increase the speed at which you turn it. Digressive is the opposite – you start quickly but gradually slow the rate at which you turn the wheel down. Linearly means you turn it at a constant speed.

Terms we use to describe the turning of the wheel are, “arcing it into a corner,” “bending it in,” “crisply turning the wheel,” and simply the “turn-in.”

Be aware of how you turn the steering wheel. I’d recommend you start being aware when driving on the street. Do you turn the wheel exactly the same for every corner? Or do you change it up based on the radius, elevation and camber change in the roadway, width of the laneway, and how your car handles? You should. It’s impossible to be really fast while always turning the wheel the same way. Some corners plead for a gentle bend in (a slow, and usually progressive turn in fast corners) turn-in, while others reward a quick, crisp turn-in (typically a tighter corner).

Then, be aware of how you turn the steering wheel the next time you’re on track. There’s no need to judge whether one way is good or bad, just pay attention to what you do. And then, experiment with it. Play with different speeds and whether you’re progressive or digressive. During this experimentation you’ll learn what the different speeds/rates do, and how they impact the way the car changes direction. Eventually, when you need the car to behave a certain way, you’ll know exactly how to make it do that because you had practiced using different ways of turning the wheel.

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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