One misconception that can happen at our level of motorsport is that a cars performance can be judged whilst using driving techniques that are not customised to a chassis needs first. Set up/alignment changes can be made and often played around with a lot, yet the car is not being driven in a way that makes the chassis perform to its optimum in the first place. This can lead to miss-diagnosed chassis deficiencies and often a lot of head scratching.
One of the best ways to optimise a chassis performance is to try different driving techniques, often ones never thought of. To drive a car the way it needs to be driven isn’t always an easy thing to work out, as sometimes a certain driving style will feel un natural. And don’t get me wrong chassis changes are a good thing to work over to optimise lap pace, but first thing is to drive the car how it needs to be driven, then work on the chassis changes from there.
Different cars respond differently to driving techniques, one of the easiest ways to find out how to drive your car is to do a test day and simply try a few things differently. Be conscious about your technique and try to drive around handling characteristics, see if you can get more speed out of the car without touching a spanner. There are many techniques to try if you want to get specific, but here is a good one to try first. Maybe we can discuss further if there is a show of hands for more articles like this?
How to position your car’s weight on corner entry
If you have had the car for a while you will most likely have your braking markers sorted by now, well at least I’d hope you do? However, let’s maybe move them a little?
The “entry faze” of a corner is crucial to how well you can hold speed mid corner and also the positioning of the car for exit. Your braking marker, how quickly or slowly you roll off the brake, and where you roll off the brake in the corner is all playing a vital role in how much of the cars weight is over the front axle.
The basic theory behind this is to help you get a feel of whether your car may need more weight over the axle to help front grip, or alternatively if you give it to much weight (carrying too much brake into the “entry faze”) the rear of the car may become unstable.
Once you are braking and then subsequently starting corner entry, how you bleed off the brake pedal is what transfers the cars weight off the front axle. The rate of the “bleed off” and the timing is something to try a few different ways. And as I said earlier, try to be really conscious about it and get a feel for if it, to see what differences it makes to the mid and exit of a corner.
Once you have played around with varying “entry faze” braking techniques you may get a better understanding of chassis changes that maybe required. And/or possible driving technique changes that may assist in this area.
This is, in no way me trying to tell you how to drive your car, simply something for you all to think about the next test day you do. You never know there could be many tenths of a second getting left behind.