Q: In a recent webinar you said you should be done with all your downshifting before you turn in, but how about when your car only uses 3rd and 4th gears and 3rd over-slows you, and 4th is too tall? Sometimes I feel I need to downshift as late as possible (sometimes in the trail braking zone with a big heel and toe) to gain some entry speed, what do you reckon?”

A: There are exceptions to every rule (that’s why they’re guidelines, not rules). I think making that downshift after turning in is dicey and I don’t recommend it. And I think there are ways to either drive it in 3rd without over-slowing, or 4th while carrying more momentum. But you have to do what feels right – just make sure that downshift is super-smooth if you make it after turning in.

I would really challenge you to make 4th gear work, or make the downshift to 3rd in a way that doesn’t over-slow the car. I’d start by really focusing on rolling momentum and making 4th gear work. It probably won’t feel as fast, but often using a taller gear is faster. If you work at minimizing the amount you slow and the amount you turn the steering wheel (using every inch of track), and focusing on getting back to throttle sooner, the taller gear often makes you faster.

Try it. In fact, I challenge you to making it work. Let me know when it does!