How To Drive Faster:
Trail Braking – What Is It?
A while back I posted a video talking about when to trail brake, but I didn’t spend a lot of time defining what trail braking is – and I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about this technique. So, let me explain…
Trail braking is when you gradually ease your foot off the brakes – trail your foot off the brakes – as you turn the steering into a corner. It’s the overlap of braking with cornering, gradually going from 100% braking and no cornering, to 75% braking and 25% cornering, to 50-50, 25-75, and eventually 0% braking and 100% cornering (obviously, this is done seamlessly, and not in steps like I’ve described it here).
There are two main benefits to trail braking. First, it keeps some weight transferred onto the front tires, which helps your car turn into the corner. And second, the overlap of braking and cornering helps you use all of the tires’ capabilities.
I should also mention what trail braking is not. It’s not necessarily left-foot-braking (yes, you can trail brake with your left foot, but just because you’re left-foot-braking, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re trail braking). It’s not “braking all the way to the apex.” You could brake all the way to the apex, and that would mean you’re trail braking, but you could release the brakes well before the apex – even just a few inches or so past your turn-in point, and that would be trail braking, too.
Some corners and cars reward trail braking, and some don’t. As a very general rule, the shorter and tighter the corner, the more you’ll want to trail brake to help “rotate” the car; the longer and faster the corner, the less you’ll want to trail brake.
You can click here to view the video about when you should trail brake, and when you shouldn’t.
Check back here 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.
Please share this now with others who you think would either learn something from it, or enjoy it, by clicking on any of the links below. Thank you!