People often wonder what the key is to becoming a successful racing driver. While everyone has their own opinions on the matter, one cannot deny the importance of getting the basics right. Keep practicing the basic racing techniques and you will become a much better racing driver. Here are 4 simple yet high effective racing techniques you need to know.
Master the Heel-and-Toe technique:
Many people consider the heel and toe to be an advanced driving technique, but it is usually one of the first things you have to master to become a competent racing driver. Downshifting before entering a corner is crucial to ensure you are in the right gear and can accelerate out of the corner effectively. The heel and toe technique allows you to change down gears quickly and carry more momentum into the corners. It also helps reduce the stress on the drive-line and prevents wheels from locking up under braking.
Use trail braking to improve cornering speeds
The car and tires can offer a substantial amount of grip, but it doesn’t count for much if you can’t make the most of it. Trail braking allows you to use the entire grip to help you go faster through the corners. This technique involves braking later than you would normally do and then continue braking until just before the apex of the corner. The trail braking technique is very useful for countering under-steer and for launching overtaking moves at the end of straights.
The smoothest racing line in a corner isn’t always the fastest
If you drive by instinct, you will find that you follow a particular line in and out of a corner that allows you to take the corner in a smooth manner. For a long time, this racing line was considered to be the best and fastest way of cornering. However, as cars have evolved, race car drivers have found that a more aggressive approach yields much better results. Braking late and aiming for a late apex allows you to get on the power early and lets you use all the power at your disposal. When combined with trail braking, aiming for the late apex can substantially reduce your lap times.
Keep practicing your start off the line
There is no point in putting in a fantastic lap and getting on pole position if you get bogged down on the starting line-up and lose positions before you even reach the first corner. Practice starts as much as possible until you have perfected the launch off the starting line. Remember to release the clutch gradually and resist the temptation to dump the clutch. Letting go off the clutch too much will cause plenty of wheel spin; great to look at, but you won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Similarly, don’t floor the accelerator unless you want to waste a lot of time fish-tailing; being gentle with the throttle will result in a much better start, especially on a damp or wet track.
Master these 4 techniques and you will soon be able to give Sebastian Vettel a run for his money.
This post has been contributed by Jenny Wadlow; she is a freelance blogger by profession. She is a sports car enthusiast and has written quite a few articles for Sports Car Driving Experience, a well known racing school. You can follow her on Twitter @JennyWadlow.