Every instructor has told me that I overdrive the car in slow corners, going too fast at the wrong time. All the books say that slowing down is the key to going faster. That's great, but how do you know when?
Here, and it really depends on the corner, is the old saying: slow in, fast out. And obviously, "slow in" is a relative term. You don't want to be babying it into the corner. How do you know if you're braking too early? Just look for the freight train of cars passing you down the inside. If you're able to brake without wasting time coasting or going past your turn-in point, you've found your happy medium. But finding it will involve experimentation. Spend a session braking way too early to start, then move that braking point deeper by five-foot increments. Keep doing it until you miss your turn-in, note that point, and back it up until you can hit that apex and get back to the throttle in one smooth process. It's the Goldilocks procedure. Experiment with too hot, then too cool, and eventually you'll get it just right.
Here are a few "if" scenarios to work through:
- If you find yourself coasting after braking and waiting to get back to power, you can brake deeper.
- If you're barely able to get the car stopped before it's time to turn, brake sooner.
- If the corner is followed by a long straight, you're going to gain a lot more time by getting a solid exit and carrying that speed down the straightaway than by waiting that extra 10 feet to brake, missing the apex by half a car-width, and being late to power.
- If you have a car that's understeering, you're going to need to back up the braking and turn-in point so you aren't washing out into the weeds on corner exit.
- Likewise, if it's too loose going in, exiting sideways from a corner will look great but won't be fast. Slow the car into the corner and wait for power until you're pointed straight. Leave the Fast & Furious stuff to Vin Diesel.
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