It's easy to drive quickly in a straight line—point the car towards the horizon, and step on the throttle. It's when you throw corners into the mix that things start to get tricky. Thankfully, a new video from Indy 500 champ Bobby Rahal's Safe Is Fast series is here to clear up any confusion. In the clip, many of today's best racers and engineers explain how to approach all the phases of the corner.
Corner entry is all about braking. "An engineer told me once, and it's so true, 'the corner starts as soon as you hit the brake pedal,'" said endurance champion Anthony Davidson. Getting on the brakes can help you rotate a car into the corner, as weight is transferred to the front providing more grip for the wheels that do the turning.
Once the car is rotated, it's really a matter of heading down to the apex and getting back to full throttle as quickly as possible. Sometimes, you'll need a bit of what's called "maintenance throttle" to help keep speed up before the apex. It all depends on the type of corner
Of course, every driver here has a slightly different approach to getting the most speed out of a corner. Wayne Taylor Racing driver (and very good passer) Renger Van Der Zande likes a little bit of oversteer to help get the car rotated, while 2017 Indy 500 champ Takuma Sato says he prefers a car with just a bit of understeer. Part of learning how to be a quicker racer involves figuring out what you like, and tailoring your car to suit that.
But really, you should listen to the pros explain it here. There are a number of champions among them, as well as some great engineers in charge of doing the set up work, and they're the best at explaining how to be fast. And if you're looking for more information on the topic, , a book written by Skip Barber Racing School instructors.