Q: “I’ve heard the general wisdom that for high speed corners, you want to be on the gas – at least a little – to settle the car and have equal weight across all four tires. My question is how can a driver determine when a corner is fast enough to require that technique, versus trail-braking to the apex? Is it more about speed per se, or track surface, bumps and camber, or do you just try a conservative technique and see how the car behaves?”
A: It all depends on the amount you need the car to change direction.
If you need to change direction a lot, like in a slow, tight, hairpin corner, then you’d trail brake to help rotate the car because you need to change its direction a lot. If it’s a faster, sweeping corner that doesn’t require a dramatic change in direction, then be on the throttle closer to the turn-in point.
Of course, there are some corners that are kinda “in between,” right? The only way to really know with them is to experiment – try one way, then the other. Generally, I try to use the on-throttle-early approach as much as I can, unless I can’t get the car to change direction enough. Then, I treat it more as a trail brake-to-rotate kind of corner. Over time, you get so you can just look at a corner and make a pretty good judgement of what type of corner it is.
The key is to realize – as you have – that not all corners should be driven with the same technique, and be willing and able to change how you drive them. It’s all about learning!