Welcome back to Smart Racing Tips from Kanga Motorsports. These are streamlined articles with great information for the aspiring racer. For the full article, go to http://www.kangamotorsports.com/blog/10-tips-to-faster-lap-times.
Want to go faster? Here are 5 tips that helped me get faster and reduce my lap times. Includes shared wisdom from other racers and things that I have found work for me.
1. LOOKING WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
You read this everywhere and most racers will tell you, look where you want to go and the car will follow. It’s true, I knew it before I got in the race car but I didn’t grasp it totally for a few race weekends. It is not just the looking where you want to go, which helps with target fixation, but also looking far enough ahead. By looking up the track, you can guide you car more effectively. After awhile you will not be worried about the line, allowing you to focus on the driving the car at the limit.
2. MAKE THE CAR DO SOMETHING
If you have ever read “Racing in the Rain” you will know this already but it didn’t click for me until after a few races and wet sessions. If you are waiting on the car to do something and then react you will be too slow, what you want to do is drive the car making it do something and then control it. What does that all mean? Well if you go into a corner not knowing if the car is going to oversteer or understeer you are awaiting to react to the car, this tenses you up and makes it hard to predict. You are more likely to lose time or worse put a wheel off. However, if you go into the corner with your inputs such that you will get a little oversteer or understeer you already know what the car is going to do and what your reactions need to be. I am not saying you should plow through the corners with large steering angles, scrubbing the front tires and all your speed. That obviously isn’t the fastest way around the track. But making the car just a little predictable helps your reaction time and overall car control. At first you will be doing this consciously but later it will become subconscious and you can focus on other aspects like traffic and when to put the pass on someone.
3. MAKING MISTAKES
Most drivers when they first start out myself included are scared of making mistakes. Most likely due to fear of damaging something, looking silly, or not being comfortable at speed. These are all valid reasons but the problem is they can make mistakes worse as the driver tenses up. I am not saying be reckless, but there are calculated mistakes you can make. There are tracks where there are corners with ample run offs. You can practice on these tracks and corners to push the car and find the limit. Sometimes you have to go over the limit to find the limit but build up to it. Don’t try and over do it, as you can go too far past the limit and that could be disastrous. Use every mistake as a learning opportunity review your video and data and work out what you did wrong and how to avoid.
For the 2016 season it was time to get back in shape after eating better and working out, I was able to lose a few pounds, get stronger and overall feel better. For my first racing weekend I was amazed how much this helped not only was I not sore after a long test day, but I was also more focused. I felt like could feel the car more and put it where I wanted. This might be a placebo affect but everything helps to get to the pointy end of the field.
5. DATA DOESN’T LIE
The quality of data systems has significantly increased and their cost has also reduced making them available to even the track day enthusiast. An Aim SOLO which at ~$400 or ApexPro which is a ~$450 are great entry points for the beginning driver. They use GPS and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to provide real time data collection and in the case of the ApexPro feedback lights. They also provide speed and accelerations so you can analyze your laps and determine how you got that flyer last session. The great thing about data is it doesn’t lie, you might think you were flat but it will show where you lifted. If you can team up with some of the faster guys you can even share data and see where they are faster than you or you are faster than them. Data really helps with planning your next session and determining which lap elements to focus on.
To learn more, go to http://www.kangamotorsports.com/blog/10-tips-to-faster-lap-times.