Q: “I recently saw your Speed Secrets Quick Tip on a car’s weakness (https://youtu.be/4MSsc99y2VU), and I can relate to one of your specific examples of a car understeering. I’ve been having a terrible time getting my car to rotate into one corner in particular at my local track. Last time I was there, I determined that I was upsetting the car’s balance by either poor brake or steering management. It happens every time, though I’ve tried many different approaches to the corner. How do I determine whether it is my car, or my lack of skill? Is it me, or do I need a stiffer rear anti-roll bar? I felt like a chump for blaming it on the car this year, but now that I’ve started reading your autocross book, I’m starting to wonder if I’m justified in making a change to the car in my first year of driving.”
A: I respect your reluctance to simply blame everything on your car, but there does a come a time when tuning your car’s handling is important. But to get to your question about how to determine whether it’s you or your car’s “fault,” let me start by saying that I did answer a similar question in the past at https://speedsecrets.com/ask-ross/q-how-do-i-know-if-im-causing-under-oversteer-or-its-the-car-thats-doing-it/. This must be a popular question, since it’s one I’ve addressed many times.
In addition to what I’ve said in the past, I also suggest reading my answer at https://speedsecrets.com/ask-ross/q-how-do-i-know-if-its-me-or-the-car-thats-causing-a-handling-problem/. In that one, I lay out a step-by-step process for asking yourself questions that will help you better define what’s going on, and whether you should try to fix it with your driving, or with the car’s setup.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with trying something simply to see whether it helps or not. Try trail braking a lot more into a corner and see if that reduces or exaggerates the understeer. Then try releasing the brakes earlier and see what happens. If neither of these significantly changes the amount of understeer, it’s probably the car you’re going to need to address.