There’s a huge difference between driving normally on the street and competitively on the racetrack. On the street, you’re ensuring you get from point A to B in the safest, most legal way possible. That means following the speed limits and traffic signals to prevent accidents with other people and motorists.
In the latter scenario, you put the pedal to the metal, hoping to win first place. Thus, driving on a Road Course race track in Alberta requires knowledge of high-performance driving techniques, the driving line, corner planning, and great vision. Here’s how to learn the theories of each one.
High-Performance Driving Technique
Everyone that drives on a race track must learn the importance of High-Performance driving techniques. If they do not, they will bring their bad habits from driving on the road that can be difficult to change. Best to train the kids early. Racing schools work to improve upon the basic skills that drivers have already learned and to identify and break any bad habits that have already formed.
To go fast on a Road Course race track, it is important to never forget the basic skills you were taught. The skill like smooth driving inputs is essential to any fast lap. Instead of focusing on driving fast, it is important to focus on driving well, not fast. Your fastest time lap will not feel that fast. Because when it all comes together it will also be your smoothest lap.
Staying within the Driving Line
In a road race, the cars all drive on the same part of the track (following the racing line), usually in a single file. This is because there is typically only one racing line, which is the fastest way around the track. In wet conditions, the racing line can change and there could even be multiple racing lines through the same corner.
When you drive by yourself, it can be hard to find this invisible perfect line. Many people make mistakes when they first start driving alone. That's why it's helpful to have another driver drive in front of you to show you the racing line.
If you want to be fast, you must follow the racing line. Even if it means going slow to start, knowing the racing line in detail will help you improve your lap times.
Dealing with Corners
The best approach to corners is “slow in, fast out”. Your goal is to carry as much speed as you can when exiting the corner allowed by the level of grip you have. The saying “Slow in, fast out” is referring to as you enter a corner get on the brakes hard and ensure you are in control of the car. It's better to be a little slower in the entry of a corner than carrying to much speed into the corner, over-exerting your tires and not being able to hold the perfect racing line. Once you have started your turn in you wait just a split second before you touch the accelerator, let the car settle into the turn before starting with 5% power. Once you start to unwind the steering wheel as you exit the corner you can proportionately apply more power to the accelerator. The smoother you are, the earlier you will be able to start accelerating. If you exist the corner with a higher speed this will result in a higher speed at the end of the following straight too.
Maintaining Good Vision
Perhaps the most important driving lesson of all is to use your God-given eyes. More attention should be paid to vision placement because it is a key factor in driving ability. Focus ahead on the exact inch of asphalt you want to run over as the apex of each corner. As you approach your reference marks keep your vision jumping ahead. Your Vision should be well ahead of the car, not just the next 20 ft in front of the car. It is also important to use your vision to be aware of your surrounding like other cars behind you and in front of you. It takes a lot to focus on your racing line makes and all the cars around you. The best drivers can take in more information through their eyes than others, allowing them to make better decisions on the road.
Ready, Set, Go to GT Race Experience
Learn how to drive these finely-tuned vehicles at GT Race Experience, a sports car race track in Alberta. Book your next visit and feel the thrill and power only experienced by professional drivers. Afterwards, you will never look at a race car the same way again!