Pointers for the Racetrack: Four Major Sections of a Racing Line
The path followed by a racing driver to turn track corners the fastest is called the racing line. By using the maximum space available on the track, a car can travel straighter and faster before reaching grip limits. Determining the racing line is a critical skill that must be mastered for both track days and racing events.
While there are many lines or arcs at a race circuit, there is none as fast as the racing line. Three things affect the trajectory of the racing line: the severity of the corner, the length of the following straight, and the kind of car driven. The trick is to always bring maximum speed in the braking zone and through the corner before heading for the next straight.
The four principal sections of a racing line are:
At this position, you start going on the brakes ahead of a corner. Everything is easy up to getting the latest braking point possible – the challenge lies in continuing deceleration at 100% of the grip available. If you’re new to everything, just take note that your braking should predominantly be in a straight line, with the final release of brake pressure demanding ultra smoothness.
The spot where you turn into the corner is known as the turn-in point. The key is that you’re already looking towards the apex, so you know exactly when and with how much force you should turn into the corner. A less than perfect turn-in point compromises your lap time. If you come too too late and you won’t build enough speed for turning through the corner; if you come too early, you’ll turtle down your exit speed.
APEX OF A CORNER
You may have heard drivers talking about hitting or missing the perfect apex. The apex, otherwise called the clipping point, is where you’re actually inside or within the corner. At the apex of circuits is usually a curb that helps keep drivers away from the the grass. This is typically an excellent visual cue as to where the apex is as you approach the corner. To maintain maximum speed on a corner, you have to choose the route that reduces the tightness of the corner arc.
Once you’re at the apex, you can begin on the throttle again. Note that faster corners may have early apexes, and slower corners and hairpins will likely have late ones.
The exit point is but simply where your car reaches the outside of the track. Passing the apex, you must start increasing throttle position and open up your steering angle as needed; if you this well, and you’ll no doubt achieve the optimum exit point.