Q: “I wanted to tell you this. I went out after being off the track for 9 months, but while I was held up in the house I took your webinar on braking (Improve Your Braking & Corner Entry), and the one thing I remember you telling us is pay more attention to where you finish your braking than where you apply the brakes. OMG, this was much more important than I thought! I like comparing my lap and a pro driver’s time in my car. I am a visual person and I like to see at a glance where we are on the throttle and brakes. I did figure out that the reason I was losing time at Thunderhill was not braking too early. In fact, the pro and I were consistent on where we started braking, but I held the brakes on just a little longer. Obviously, this would consistently slow me down. So, without Data Acquisition is there another way to learn when it’s the perfect moment to get off the brakes?”
A: The simple answer is “no,” there is not a way to know when the perfect moment is. Is anything “perfect” in performance/race driving?! J
The longer answer is to pay attention to whether you feel as though you have the highest possible corner entry speed (that does not negatively impact your corner exit speed), use the brakes to fine tune that speed, while using them to help you get the car to turn in the way you want (rotate). Ask yourself if the car is rotating enough or not enough (either releasing the brakes too soon or too late), and if you feel you could carry even one MPH more into the corner. It’s a feel thing, but you have to pay attention and be aware of what the car is telling you.
I strongly recommend spending a few sessions on track simply focused on “playing” (experimenting) with different timings and rates of release of the brakes, making note of how you responded, as well as what your corner minimum speed is (easily done if you have a data system). You’ll learn pretty quickly if you’re able to carry more speed into corners without negatively impacting your exit speed, and you’ll learn how to use the last part of your braking to fine-tune your corner entry speed.