October 12, 2013

Speed Secrets Saturday: Fast Turns

This being Suzuka and  Bathurst 1000 week end, its seems appropriate to discuss fast turns.  What would you be thinking barreling down towards a turn like say, 130 R?  I would think  Ross' advice about breathing would be invaluable.
Bart Huiziga

The Approach to Fast Turns

The big, fast and hairy turns are often the ones that separate the men from the boys, right? Sorry, and also the women from the girls.

Most often, it’s the fast turns where you stand to gain the most in terms of lap time. So, what do we do with the fast turns? We try to drive them as fast as we can. And when we rush into them, we hold our breath, tense up, lift off the throttle just as we turn in, changing the balance of the car, and reducing its overall level of traction – right when we need all we can get.

Instead, when approaching a fast turn that requires a small speed adjustment, make it early - lift or brake early and get back to throttle at turn-in. Oh, and breathe! When you hold your breath, your hands and arms tense up, restricting the feedback you're getting from the car.

As I said, our natural response to trying to go faster is to rush into the corners, leaving any speed adjustment (brake or throttle lift) as late as possible. It makes us feel like we're going faster.   But that's often the wrong approach: we're entering a fast turn with the car less than ideally balanced.  If you need to make a speed adjustment for a fast corner, make it early and then get back to throttle by the time you begin turning in. That way the car will be better balanced and you'll be fully focused on sensing the car's limits and your line rather than on how late you can make your braking or throttle lift.

Ross Bentley
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 ross@speedsecretsweekly.com.

130 Right

130 Wrong


  1. Great footage of Alonso busting Schumacher's chops thru one of the most formidable cornesr in F1,130R at Suzuka. The move was symbolic. The torch was passed. Those were good times for Alonso. I'm sure he's hoping Sunday's like that return next year with the new cars and engines.

  2. How does this admonition, keep the car stable, interact with the theory of a light lift to get weight on the nose for turn in?

    For instance at NHMS South Oval, the turn in speed for a SM is around 105, so I'd call that a high speed turn. I lift just as I turn the wheel to set the nose, then squeeze throttle again until the car drifts through the turn.

    I have no data on a speed controlling lift before the turn because the Miata just doesn't need it; you BMW drivers are faster so chime in!


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