Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: The less change in speed through a corner, the faster you will be. Minimize your Change-of-Speed.

If you enter a turn at, let’s say, 5 MPH less than the car is capable of handling, what does your instinct tell you do? Yup, get on the throttle. And if you really feel like you’ve got some grip left in the car/tires, you’re really going to stand on the throttle. After all, your goal is to go fast, so your inner speedometer and grip- sensing abilities tell you to “get on with it!”

Now think about the weight transfer that goes on when you stand on the throttle. You increase the weight transfer to the rear, and unload the front tires, right? And guess what happens, often, when that occurs? The car begins to understeer (or oversteer because all that throttle has caused power-on oversteer). Now your inner car-handling-senses tell you that the car is at the limit, and maybe even a little over.

And yet, you’re 5 MPH under what the car is capable of doing through this particular corner. That’s where what Peter Krause said comes in: The car can always be driven faster by someone else.

The real problem – the one that you caused by overslowing the car by 5 MPH – is what I call the Change- of-Speed problem (I referred to this in a previous tip – Drive The Car, Not The Track). It’s the delta, the difference from the minimum to the maximum, and that change in speed that causes excessive weight transfer, leading to the car having less overall grip and telling you that you’re driving the limit. But you’ve created this artificial lower limit by over-slowing the car.

That’s why I say to minimize the change in speed in a corner. When you do that, the car stays more balanced, giving you more overall grip, meaning you can drive faster .

One of the causes of this Change-in-Speed problem is the old saying, “Go into a corner slow and come out fast,” or “In slow – out fast.” While that’s great advice to begin with, too many drivers over-do this and spend too many years overslowing for corners.

Minimize your change of speed by making sure you enter the turns at the maximum speed your car can handle without negatively impacting your acceleration out of the corner.

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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