Q: “This season I’m working on corner entry speed. Briefly, my general approach has been on tight, slow corners, go in deep, brake hard and rotate the car to get to gas before the apex. On high-speed corners, brake early but lightly to get the car balanced and myself comfortable so I can carry more speed through the corner and get on the throttle before the apex.
“I’m thinking of trying a subtle adjustment on the high-speed corners; i.e., maybe trail braking a little longer and carrying more speed to the apex so that I don’t get to the throttle until or very slightly after the apex. In other words, if I get to the throttle early, then I took off too much speed on entry. I realize a book could be written on this, but I would love your general thoughts for my guidance.”
A: If I had to come up with a generalization I’d say don’t move your braking further into the fast corners. But, there are always exceptions to the rules. The reason, as you know, for not trail braking into fast corners is you want the car as balanced as possible to maximize grip. So moving your braking further into the corner, as you’re thinking about, might make the car less stable. But, sometimes a driver needs to get used to carrying more entry speed, so as a process, this might be the perfect first step. Once you’ve gotten comfortable carrying more entry speed (with a bit of brakes on to make you feel comfortable), then the next step would be to start releasing the brakes sooner, knowing that you’re giving grip back to the car by balancing it better.
So yes, I think what you’re planning is a good idea – as the first step in the process to get comfortable carrying more entry speed. It may not lead to a big lap time improvement. It could even make them worse. But when you combine this with the next step – releasing the brakes sooner but with the increased entry speed – I bet you’ll see a good improvement in lap times.
Excellent! I’ve been doing exactly what you are proposing. I am finding that I want a balanced car in the high speed, top gear corners. Once I’m competent at this, these cornering speeds and lines become much more predictable and maybe even comfortable. From there I can start to modify weight balance, maybe even with a slight toss and catch on entry with an early throttle. The operative word is “slight”. That’s a lot to ask of the car and my skills, but it has happened.