August 3, 2013
Speed Secrets Saturday: Turn in Early with Big Speed!
This week Ross illustrates strategies to achieve one of the Axis' favorite mottos, as coined by the great Spencer Pumpelly, the secret to a fast lap? "Turn in early with big speed"!
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Corner Entry Speed
Corner exit speed is critical, right? It’s all about who can begin accelerating out of the turns first – that’s who’s going to win, right?
But, wait a minute. Corner entry speed is just about as important. In fact, I'd argue that it's the area in which most drivers can make the biggest improvement in their lap times. If you can increase your corner entry speed, yet not hurt your exit speed, that would be a good thing. So, let's look at how to gain time early in the corners.
There are at least four ways to improve your corner entry speed:
Brake later, compressing the brake zone (starting later, but ending your braking where you always have).
Brake lighter (start braking where you usually do, but just use a little lighter pedal pressure).
Move the entire brake zone further into the turn - start braking later, and finish later.
Release the brakes sooner (finish sooner).
Which is the right approach? I don't know. It depends on the corner, your car, the conditions, and even your driving style.
Most drivers only use the first option, when the other three are often a better approach. Think about it, and try a different method next time on track. Ultimately, your brake release (timing and rate of release) will have the biggest impact on the speed you're able to carry into a turn.
You may find that you’re able to increase your corner entry speed without it hurting your exit speed. In fact, sometimes just a little bit more entry speed actually allows you to begin accelerating even earlier, as it reduces the “change in speed.” But that’s a topic for another day…
For more of Ross' writing, along with articles by other famous and not-so-famous contributors, go to www.speedsecretsweekly.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.