Every time I try to learn a new track, I either go too slow and get distracted or go too fast and miss reference points. Pro racers have to learn a track in minutes, not hours. How do you take the time to get it right without overloading yourself with information?
Do your homework. Between YouTube videos and iRacing or Forza, there's a way to see most tracks before you physically show up. I also believe in the old-school way of walking tracks. If you can, watch online, play the sims, and find a way to walk the track. That's your homework assignment.
Also remember that you've seen most of the corners—maybe not in the same direction or the exact track layout you're used to, but most corners have cousins and uncles and brothers elsewhere in the world. Does Turn X remind you of a Turn Y you've driven elsewhere? That's another way to accelerate your learning.
The rhythm and flow is what you're trying to nail down, because that's how tracks work. A track might have 10 corners, but if you look at a lap from overhead, it's one constant movement, beginning to end. Start thinking that way. Also use your out-lap and in-lap. They're slow. Look around. See the things you can't see when you're at speed, the little seams in the pavement or a lip on a berm that might give you a better corner exit. I use my in-laps all the time to spy little things about a track that I can add to my arsenal.
I work myself up to speed when learning a new track. It's a gradual process, not balls of fury. Try to go too fast too quickly, and you set yourself back. And crash. Or spin. And get yelled at by the stewards. Don't be that guy. The world already has thousands of that guy.
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