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. By using the maximum space available on the track, a car can travel straighter and faster before reaching grip limits. 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. While this sounds easy, choosing the latest possible braking point and continuing to slow down at 100% of the grip available is far from it. As a beginner, just keep in mind that most of your braking must be in a straight line, with your final release of brake pressure extremely smooth.
The area where you turn into the corner is called the turn-in point. You already have your eyes towards the apex, which means you already know when and just how much force is required for turning into the corner. If you miss the perfect turn-in point, your lap time will be compromised. If you come too too late and you won’t build enough speed for turning through the corner; if you come too early, you’ll turtle down your exit speed.
You may have heard drivers talking about hitting or missing the perfect apex. The apex, otherwise called the clipping point, is where you’re actually inside or within the corner. At the apex of circuits is usually a curb that helps keep drivers away from the the grass. This is typically an excellent visual cue as to where the apex is as you approach the corner. To maintain maximum speed on a corner, you have to choose the route that reduces the tightness of the corner arc.
As soon as you get into the apex (assuming your racing line is correct), you can restart on the throttle. Remember this: the faster the corner, the earlier its apex will be.
The exit point is where your car gets outside of the track. Passing the apex, you must start increasing throttle position and open up your steering angle as needed; if you this well, and you’ll no doubt achieve the optimum exit point.