Performance & Race Driving Tip

Speed Secret: Achieving perfection may be impossible, but striving for it is not.

There is a very fine line between being a perfectionist, and constantly working towards improving.

Perfectionists are so focused on doing everything just right that they often lose sight of what can be learned from making small errors. In driving, they’re so caught up in driving the perfect line through a turn that they drive too slow.

So, when I say striving for perfection in the Speed Secret above, I don’t mean that you should overdo it.

When I attend a track day, an HPDE event or a club race, I often see drivers “driving by the book.” And yes, I see it at pro races, too. I see drivers so focused on driving the perfect line that they scrub off speed forcing the car to get there. They make a slight mistake, the car aiming to run a little wide of the apex, so the driver forces it down to the apex – doing so by either lifting out of the throttle, delaying the application of the throttle, or just cranking in more steering. All of these result in a slower run though that turn than if they’d just let the car run a little wide of the apex.

Watching the Canadian GP on TV each year is interesting, if only for how many times one can see a driver run wide of the apex at the hairpin of the Circuit du Gilles Villeneuve. It happens more than once for practically every driver. There are times when I’m sure the driver could have corrected to ensure he drove the “perfect line,” but he knew that in doing so he’d have been slower.

Constant improvement is the goal, not perfection.

Check back here often for more tips and advice for performance drivers, race drivers, high performance driving instructors, and anyone else interested in learning to get around race tracks quickly.

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