Q: “An area I really want to work on is “trail braking” and “brake release.” Do you have some training techniques or drills to use, to focus on & practice on, so I can better feel & use the “end of braking” to best advantage?”
A: The main drill or exercise that I use when coaching drivers is getting them to spend an entire practice session just on experimenting with the timing and rate of release of the brakes. Entering a corner, you can begin releasing the brakes before you start turning the steering into the corner, at the exact same time, or after you begin turning in; then, you can release the brakes slowly, quickly, or somewhere in between.
There are a multitude of timings and rates of release of the brakes. Many drivers use the same timing and rate of release in all corners, but that can’t be right. Some corners reward an early and fast release, others a late and slow release, others an early and slow release, and so on.
The better you get at adapting the timing and rate of release of the brakes, the faster you’ll be in all corners, and not just the corners that suit your current brake release style. So, the drill is going on the track and experimenting with varying the timing and rate of release in a very deliberate way. Spend a lap or two with an early and slow release; a lap or two with an early and fast release; a lap or two with a late and slow release; a lap or two with a late and quick release. And mentally make note that when you do “this,” the car does “that”; and when you do “that,” the car does “this.” You’re building a mental matrix of “if then…” scenarios, so when you want the car to do “that,” you’ll know what to do.
This has been one of the most effective exercises ever for the drivers I’ve coached. They come away not just being a bit faster, but more consistently faster because they’re now better at adapting to what the corner and car needs.
Oh, and I said “an entire practice session.” That doesn’t mean that this is a one-and-done deal. No, you should do this every now and then, and continue to fine-tune your braking.
Here are a couple of videos where I talk about brake release:
- The Key to Being a Fast Track Driver: How You Release the Brakes
- Trail Braking: When & How to Drive Faster