True Speed: 2 Simple Steps To Drive Like A Pro

Welcome to the 2nd video in this 3 part video series! In this video you’ll learn about specific tactics that you can instantly use to drive like a professional racer.

The next video is coming out soon. I know we covered a lot in this one, but we barely scratched the surface. I want to make sure you have a solid foundation before we continue.

So, what additional questions or clarifications do these 2 concepts give you? Leave your note below (right now!) so we can make sure you’re ready for the next video. -Matt


  1. Is there anything about Reaction VS Anticipation or Smooth Is NOT Fast that has you confused, stressed, or curious?

    Leave it right here in the comments. Let’s get that sorted out right now.

  2. Matt,

    Thanks for the videos and podcasts! Great stuff! I have been listening and watching and am working on my own skills. One thing maybe you could touch on in regards to anticipation. How do you manage the mental aspect of going between making anticipated corrections and thinking a few corners ahead. To put it another way, since we are taught to think, plan and look multiple corners ahead how do you do that and still maintain speed in the corner you are currently in. Does that make sense?

    • My pleasure, Bret. Thanks for being a listener/watcher. 🙂

      This is a great question, let’s hit it.

      TRUE. We are always taught to look ahead – that mainly helps us place the car where it needs to be on the track. It’s how we hit the proper lines and plan ahead to make sure we get the first 85% of speed right away.

      But looking ahead and thinking ahead are two completely separate things.

      Looking ahead is for putting the car in the right place. Thinking ahead is for making anticipated corrections. You saw in the video that anticipating is all about staying aware of the most likely thing that could go wrong.

      If you stay in that mindset there won’t be any surprises and you won’t find yourself in reaction mode.

      If you’re having a tough time planning ahead while maintaining speed in the corner you’re currently in, you’re probably thinking a little too far ahead. As a general rule I typically start looking to the next mark about 50-100 feet before the car reaches the current one.

      For example: while accelerating during a straight I’m focused on the braking point. About fifty feet (or more, depending on the speed) from the start of the braking zone my focus shifts to the turn in point.

      Once I’m fifty feet from the turn in point I start looking at the apex. Once I start toward the apex I’m looking at the exit.

      While I’m doing all that I’m also remaining aware of the most likely things that could go wrong. And, just like the example of cresting the hill, doing both of these things at the same time is a powerful combination.

      Eventually you’ll be doing looking ahead and thinking ahead subconsciously – you won’t have to focus on it anymore.

      There’s a lot more about instinctual driving later on in course section of the series.

      Have you ever done any racing on dirt, Bret?

      • Thanks for that answer. That makes sense to me! I spend a fair amount of time in iRacing but not on dirt. Maybe I need to spend a little time there too.

        • My pleasure, Bret. Always happy to help out. 🙂

          How awesome is iRacing?? I always recommend spending about a third of your time in iRacing on dirt. Personally I love USA International Speedway’s dirt track and the Dirt Street Stock car. Super combination.

          Dirt is great because you either learn to rotate and maintain control or you’re in the wall – there’s no middle ground.

          Do or die. Sink or Swim.

          The constant adjustments required to be snappy on dirt are a great way to develop your instincts – the ability to think ahead and make preemptive adjustments subconsciously.

          All, of course, all this translates perfectly to tarmac.

  3. Excellent video again, thanks Matt.

    I wholly agree with the ‘smooth is not fast’ concept, but worry that a ragged style of driving sometimes equates to lost time due to overworking the inputs and de stabilizing the attitude of the car.
    Would data feedback be a worthwhile consideration here?
    Quite often my fastest laps have felt like slow ones, and the laps where I was really trying as hard as possible (with lots of steering input)actually result is a slower time.

    Which leads to confusion…. What’s a racer to do??

    • Hey Steve, thanks for adding your thoughts. I have a few as well.

      I think that having a ragged style can go either way. There are two reasons that a driver’s style might appear wild and choppy.

      1. The driver is busy making corrections in reaction mode. Corrections are the inputs you have to make to fix something. Fixing something is about preventing a bad thing from happening.

      When your focus shifts from speed to saving a skid, speed and balance is the last thing on your mind.
      So rather than focusing on keeping the car balanced and fast, the driver is fixing errors. And that’s slow.

      2. The driver is making adjustments. Adjustments are the inputs you make when you’re flirting with the very edge of traction. Don’t worry, there’s a lot more about how to do this in the course section of the video series.

      Remember all the adjustments I made during the fast lap on the dirt track? It looks chaotic, but rather than correcting errors and upsetting the car I was toying with the upper limits of traction.

      That means I was slightly surpassing the limits of traction, then making a small adjustment to reel the car back in, then realizing I was under the limit, then adjusting to get back up to maximum traction, and so on. Dozens of changes in ever corner.

      Staying near the limit of traction is critical for True Speed. Small, purposeful adjustments are how you make that happen.

      If you’re making corrections instead of adjustments, the car isn’t happy. Just like you said, corrections equate to a loss of time and destabilizes the balance of the car.


  4. Great stuff again!

    But I tried to implement this on Assetto Corsa and find myself sometimes getting the adjustments right but then they are too much and spin myself the other way :/ Or sometimes I’m getting on the throttle and my adjustment didn’t help at all 🙁
    Guess I need more practice and I also came here to read the comments and your reply to Bret’s comment sorta managed to light a LED light 😛

    Also in regards to your book recommendations, do you think “Tune To Win” and “Speed Secrets” (or even any race car related racing books) help in karting?

    Best regards,
    Vítor Brás

    • Hey again Vitor. Thanks for adding your thoughts on this.

      It’s such a fine line getting all the adjustments right. It may take some time, but now that you know exactly how they work and what you should be striving for it should come with a little practice.

      I’ve never used Assetto Corsa. I’ve only heard the graphics are phenomenal but the physics engine isn’t as good as iRacing’s.

      In any case I’m glad the reply to Bret’s comment has able to shed some light for you.

      YES! Any top-level racing resource (books, podcasts, interviews, articles) is relevant to any form of racing.

      That’s why I encourage people to do as much dirt racing on iRacing as possible. The cross training will make you a much more intelligent, prepared, and powerful racer.

      I know it may sound counter-intuitive, but Dirt racing will be particularly helpful in your karting endeavor, Vitor. Karts go around corners super fast when rotated.

      Dirt is where you learn and master the art of rotation.

      The next video comes out tomorrow. Stay tuned. 🙂

  5. Hello, if I am on tarmac while exiting the corner should not I be smooth to avoid loss of traction? Spin out might occur. I learned the car has to stay planted smooth to some extent, I cannot just dash the throttle during the exit. Or, Should I? Please help me remove my confusion as I am a novice/beginner.

    • Hey Turag, thanks for adding your thoughts. Let’s clear up the confusion right now.

      I think we need to shift your mindset a little. You’re thinking in terms of being smooth, but you should be thinking in terms of peak grip. Let’s set smooth aside for a moment.

      The goal at any track, in any car, and on any surface is to produce the highest amount of traction possible.

      If you’re exiting a corner in a low-powered car then it doesn’t really matter how smooth you apply the throttle. There isn’t enough torque to cause the wheels to spin and cause a problem. It’s quite easy to find the highest level of potential grip.

      But if you’re exiting the same corner in a high-powered car you’ll have to be much more cautious about using the throttle – there’s enough power to cause a spin under acceleration.

      In this case you may need to ease into the throttle (smoothly) to stay away from wheelspin.

      The point is that you aren’t avoiding wheelspin to be smooth. You’re avoiding wheel spin to stay at the highest possible level of grip.

      Your question has excellent timing. Three days ago I answered a similar question on the LIVE Facebook Video Q&A Session this week. I think you’ll really benefit from this Session – it’s very relevant to your question. Jump right in at the 12:31 mark.

      I’d like to know your thoughts on this. Hit me back.


  6. Hey Matt,

    I have been reading and practicing for a while some of the topics that you discuss in your videos and I agree in almost all your info, definitively very organized and GREAT resource to learn. I just wanna share my thoughts about reaction vs anticipation, I agree with you 100% but I think that we should know how the car that we are driving behaves under different conditions in the track in order to apply the anticipation. I know that we can’t predict this 100% but at least we can have an idea. Once you have that info you can progressively drive the car towards the limit and make the adjustment more easily. Thanks for this videos Matt.


    • Hey there Felix. Thanks for adding your perspective on this. I love having people involved – every person brings new insight into every topic.

      I really like what you said about knowing the specific car you’re driving. What a tricky thing to teach! I keep a list of every car I’ve ever driven. Over 300, and there aren’t two of them that act the same.

      So the question becomes: what can a driver to do familiarize himself with every type of car that’s out there? Or, in contrast, how can a driver simply learn the one car that he drives?

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  7. Anyone have any links to YouTube videos showing Pro drivers neutral steering on a road course? I’ve looked at onboard videos from DTM, PWC and other road racing series but haven’t found any that neutral steer through any of the corners.

  8. Hey Matt, on asphalt ovals in legend cars do you go about rotating the car the same way? Legend cars are really light and fast so I was wondering if it’s too dynamic to rotate or if you think that rotation is still going to help me be faster

    • Hey! It’s Jake here. I haven’t spent a lot of time in legends cars, but the theory remains the same. Rotation always helps. Lighter and faster cars are more difficult to keep in the “zone” when it comes to rotation. It will take some practice and eventually you’ll find the sweet spot.

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