Q: “In a recent webinar that you did (the Improve Your Braking & Corner Entry – I learned a ton from it!), you showed a diagram of a corner where there was a period of time where there was no braking or acceleration. It seemed like coasting, and I was always taught that I should always be on the brakes or the gas pedal, with no coasting in between. What am I missing? Or was your diagram wrong?”
A: First, the diagram I used was to illustrate the concept. The length of time off brake and throttle is different in just about every corner, with different cars, in different conditions. But just like the “never trail brake” advice (which is wrong), the “never coast” advice is overdone.
There are definitely times when you do need to coast. Sure, I don’t like the word “coast” any more than you do, which is why I choose to use the word “hesitate” before applying the throttle.
Why would there be any gap between EoB (End-of-Braking) and initial application of the throttle? To give the car time to change direction so that when you begin to apply throttle, you can go all the way to full throttle without having to ease up on it. In creating that illustration, I purposely made the pure cornering area that long to emphasize that we sometimes need to let the car use all of the tires’ traction for pure lateral grip – cornering. And that if we hesitate a little – sometimes, but not all of the time – the car will change direction (rotate) a little bit more, and that allows you to go to full throttle sooner.
If you find yourself coming off the brakes (EoB) and immediately being able to apply the throttle, that could mean a few different but related things: First, it might mean that you’ve over-slowed for the corner, and more corner entry speed is available. Second, it might mean that you got on power before the car has rotated enough, and now you’ll begin to feed in the throttle… then ease up or plateau… then finally get to full throttle; if you’d hesitated a fraction of a second longer, you may have begun to apply the throttle later, but you’d have gotten to full throttle sooner (and that’s what matters the most, most often). Finally, there are corners that are long enough that the car should be in maximum pure cornering for some amount of time.
Again, it’s different for every corner, in every car, in every condition. Hey, if this was easy, everyone would be doing it! 🙂