In Episode 13 of the Insider’s Guide, Yorkie065 explores the inside-outs of driving techniques.
Performance driving is about being fast, but more importantly being consistent. It isn’t just about raw speed―it’s about technique, about doing the basics correctly and consistently. Whether you’re an elite driver at the very top echelons of esports, or driving for fun online on Saturday night, Yorkie065’s guide this week will help you dial in the basics and teach you how to be a better driver.
And that begins at the very moment you roll out of the pits.
Warm your tyres
- Take the opening lap of practice and qualifying sessions (and warm-up laps if your race features one) to steadily warm the tyres
- Cold tyres are delicate things―don’t go mad! No lighting up the rear tyres, no scrubbing the fronts, or locking up the brakes. This may look great on the replay, but all it does is eat away at durability, and what you gain in heated tyres in the first few laps will come back to bite you as the stint wears on. Look after your tyres, and they’ll look after you.
Aim to brake steadily into each corner in order to generate some heat into your brakes, which also help to heat the tyres. Load the tyres progressively through the turns and by weaving back and forth across the track on the straights (and make sure you keep a keen eye on your mirrors as you do this! If you see a car coming in hot, stop weaving, give up the racing line and let the faster car through.)
Braking is about more than slowing down
- Brake to about 90% application, just under where the ABS system (if your car has it) kicks in. Braking efficiency is better here, as you’re extracting the power and performance out of the brakes, rather than the ABS system kicking in to cut braking power which extends your braking distance. ABS doesn’t decrease braking distances, it prevents the brakes from locking and allows you to maintain some steering control.
- Always seek to avoid locking up. Do this by applying your brakes hard initially, and then ease off the pedal as the car slows down and aero grip decreases. This will reduce the brakes locking when starting to turn in, and also load up the front tyres nicely for good initial turn in.
- When you first hit the brakes into a heavy braking zone, do so in a straight line. As you ease off brakes, you can start to put in small amounts of steering angle, which will produce what is known as “trail braking” (which is basically you braking through the corner and turning at the same time). If done right with correct amount of braking input, this will help to rotate the car a little more into the turn and tuck in to the apex.
- If the car is starting to squirm around, ease off the brakes to bring the weight balance of the car rewards to a more neutral position.
Accelerating is all about going fast
- Know your apex. Looking into the corner ahead of where your car is and where you want your car to be is crucial.
- Once you hit the apex, apply the throttle progressively. Balance the throttle (10-20% input) to neutralise the handling of the car and allow it to rotate in stable controlled state. Don’t go full throttle until you know you can keep it pinned the rest of the way through the exit and unwind the steering angle at the same time. Lifting because you’ve misjudged the exit will cost you a lot of time―not just the time that you lifted, but the speed you sacrificed at the exit will be the speed you will lack all the way to the next braking zone.
- Don’t pin the throttle with a ton of steering lock still on. This produces a lot of scrub and understeer, overheating the tyres and punishing them.
Advanced lines: Long Hairpins
- There is often an advantage to be gained from using a double-apex through a long hairpin. The first apex will be right at the entry to the turn, the second later, after you run deep into the middle of the turn. (But don’t overdo the running wide―you’ll either invite a bonsai move, or waste time searching for the second apex).
- Creating a double-apex allows you to take in more speed, and will also allow you to get a good exit out of the corner.
- Using a double-apex also means you’re taking a defensive line into the turn as it would require even later braking from the car behind to get inside you. Critically, though, as mentioned, don’t overdo the late braking―if you go in too deep with all tyres smoking and locked, you’ll likely run too deep and leave yourself vulnerable to losing a position.
- The double-apex technique is also valuable if you want to be aggressive and try and force a move on a car in front. If they take a more traditional wider line, your shorter route to the inside could land you in a position where they need to give up the inside of the turn, allowing you alongside and potentially taking the position.
Advanced Lines: Wide Entry Corners
- Approaching a wide entrey corner from the middle of the track, rather than the opposite side; will help shorten the corner. Entering from the middle also aids in stability―as you’re not having to turn as far from a higher speed, and it allows you to slow the car more before turning in.
- Just like the double-apex technique, this will be result in both a more defensive or more offensive line depending on whether you’re trying to pass a car ahead, or being threatened by a car behind.
Advanced Lines: Sacrificing corners
- Focus on opening-up a turn and getting a good exit if the upcoming corner follows on from another prior to it.
- If a decent length straight follows from a corner, focus on its exit to get better top-end speed on the straight.
- If you go off-line, don’t try and power out of it like you would if you were on the racing line. Wait until you’re on a similar line, then drive out on the power. Adding more steering lock and trying to power on through will overdrive the tyres and increase heat.