Q: My home track is Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park). One of the more challenging turns for me is the very fast Turn 8. What I find is that the rear gets loose when I try to brake later. Any help would be appreciated.”

A: If the braking makes your car get loose, you have two options:

  1. Change the setup of either the suspension or brakes so that doesn’t happen.
  2. Brake earlier and lighter.

Since I don’t know the details of your car, I can’t make any recommendations about adjusting your car’s setup (but check out my latest free eBook, How to Tune Your Car’s Handling: A Driver’s Guide at SpeedSecrets.com/eBooks).

This second option – braking earlier and lighter — works way better than most drivers think. Most drivers believe the only way to go faster is to brake later and harder, but that’s not the case at all times – and especially not for very fast corners like Turn 8 at Mosport (I love that corner – and the entire track!). In fact, a corner like Turn 8 – or just about any other fast corner – taunts us into braking later. But that upsets the balance of the car – the weight is loaded up on the front tires, and you have less overall grip when it’s like that.

I would start by braking a car length or two earlier, but lighter. By keeping the car balanced (the chassis/platform flatter – less weight transfer), it will have more grip, and therefore you’ll be able to carry more speed into the 8. And that’s the goal for 8 – carrying speed into it, since there is no straightaway after it. You may be surprised at how much more grip your car has if you brake lighter and keep the car better balanced.

Start by asking yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being maximum braking (threshold, on the verge of ABS), how hard am I braking?” Then lighten that number up by one or two, over the next couple of practice sessions. Then, you may be able to lighten it up even a bit more. But use the numbers, because our brains like a target. For example, if you’re now braking at a “5” going into Turn 8, tell yourself to brake at a “4.” Then a “3.” And never forget that the flatter, more balanced you keep your car’s chassis, the more grip it will have.

Of course, this approach doesn’t just apply to Turn 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport. It applies to almost all fast corners.