The path around the race track- braking points and the proper way to accelerate are all important for fast laps around the track. I will cover all three within the next three weeks and we will start out with proper Cornering Lines.
The driver's ability to use all of the available traction in every single are of the track is the key to finishing near the front and winning races. Keeping the tires on the exact point between under-using and over-using or spinning out is the goal of all drivers. Balancing the drivers steering inputs and control of the brake and throttle use, as well as using the right line around the track is critical.
The line the driver runs around the track, especially entering a turn, is much less important than the need to stay right on the edge of the traction circle. There are several entry lines that can be used going into a corner to obtain maximum traction but there are few less exit lines. There are five different types of cornering lines that a driver can use on the race track.
Moderate Cornering Line: The moderate cornering line has the driver brake right before entering the corner and touch the bottom of the track about mid-way through the turn. When he reaches the bottom of the track he will begin accelerating. This line has the turn-in being neither to early nor to late and allows for early acceleration off the corner.
Diamond Pattern Line:
The diamond pattern line allows the driver to make a straighter approach into the corner and accelerate longer. He will turn down into the corner and get on the brakes at about the same time. Because of the added speed he will then drift up the race track up close to the wall. Because of the extra acceleration into the corner the driver will have to rotate the car more on the exit thus slowing down the cars exit from the corner and its speed down the straightaway. This line can be used to the optimum on a very flat, tight track, and with cars that have lots of horsepower.
Moderate Turn-In Line:
The Moderate Turn-In Line is the most common of the five lines. The driver, as always, should be hugging the outside wall if at all possible about midway down the track. Once he reaches about ¾'s of the way down the track he should then begin hard braking in preparation for the corner. After hard braking for about a second ease off the brake pedal and begin to turn into the corner. At the exact point of where the corner begins the driver is almost completely off the brake pedal and begins to rotate the car down to the bottom of the track. Just before reaching the middle of the turn the driver is completely off the brakes and begins to rotate the car around the turn. When he reaches the bottom of the track and mid-way through the turn the driver picks up the throttle but doesn't accelerate in order to balance the weight on the chassis and prepare to accelerate out of the corner within the next second.
Early Turn-In Line: The early Turn-In Line is used to attempt a hard braking pass on a car and for defending your position. About ¾'s of the way down the track the driver will apply just a little brake pressure and will begin to turn down into the corner. Right before the driver enters the corner he increases the brake pressure to maximum braking and as he enters the corner he should release the brake. He should be at the bottom of the track about ¼ of the way through the turn. Though the driver gets into the corner faster because of holding a straighter line into the corner his exit speed will suffer since he must rotate the car much more about mid-way through the turn. At about ¾'s of the way through the corner he will be on the throttle and accelerating.
Late Turn-In Line:
The Late Turn-In Line is great for road-racing but not as good for oval racing. The only advantage to it is that braking can occur later, but the turn-in is much more abrupt. On an oval, this type of line will leave the driver vulnerable to attack from an opposing car. The driver is still going straight down the straightaway until just before he enters the corner where he begins to turn in. As he reaches the corner hard braking is applied. At that point in time the driver is about at the very high point of the race track just beside the wall. He begins to dive down to the bottom of the track and applying braking if needed. He accelerates about ¾ of the way down the track. This line is best used for a turn where the exit is less than 90 degrees as a tri-oval has.
In order for a driver to be successful he must master all of these lines. He will use them several times in different racing situations and he must also recognize when to use each one.
Tech Talk #1