Racetrack Driving Tips: The Four Main Parts of a Racing Line
The path followed by a racing driver to turn track corners the fastest is called the racing line. When most of the needed available space on the track is used, a car can run on a straighter line and go faster before grip limits are reached. Determining the racing line is a critical skill that must be mastered for both track days and racing events.
No line or arc on a race circuit is 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 secret is to always pack speed in the braking zone over the corner before going to the following straight.
The four principal sections of a racing line are:
This is where you begin hitting the brakes pre-corner. Sounds simple, but braking at the latest point possible and maintaining deceleration at 100% of the available grip is not so. 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 area where you turn into the corner is called 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 turn in too late, you won’t have as much speed around the corner; if you turn in too early, your exit speed will drop.
APEX OF A CORNER
You may have heard drivers talking about hitting or missing the perfect apex. The apex, also referred to as the clipping point, is the point where you’re actually inside of the corner. Circuits generally have a curb at the apex to prevent drivers from getting over the grass. This is typically an excellent visual cue as to where the apex is as you approach the corner. For maximum speed around a corner, get the route that limits the corner arc’s tightness.
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 where your car gets outside of the track. The moment you’ve passed the apex, you have to start building throttle position and open up your steering angle as necessary- if you do this right, you’ll end up at the best exit point.