Pointers for the Racetrack: Four Major Sections of a Racing Line
The path followed by a racing driver to turn track corners the fastest is called the racing line. Using as much as the required available space on the track, a car can run at the fastest speed as well as travel on a straighter line before the limits of grip are reached. Determining the racing line is a critical skill that must be mastered for both track days and racing events.
On a more technical note, the racing line is the speediest line or arc around a corner on a race circuit. 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 idea is to always build speed around the braking zone and the corner leading to the next straight.
The four principal sections of a racing line are:
At this position, you start going on the brakes ahead of a 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 newbie, remember that your braking should mostly follow a straight line, and your final release of brake pressure should be super smooth.
The turn-in point is where you turn into the corner. You’ve already got your sights towards the apex, so you already know when to turn into the corner and how much force is needed. Unless you catch the perfect turn-in point, your lap time will suffer. Turning in too late will limit your speed as you go through the corner; if you turn in too early, and your exit speed will be crippled.
As you may have noticed, drivers often talk about the perfect apex, either hitting it or missing it. The apex is also known as the clipping point – the spot where you’re actually inside the corner. Circuits generally have a curb at the apex to prevent drivers from getting over the grass. In most cases, this is a perfect visual cue of the location of the apex as you turn into the corner. To maintain maximum speed on a corner, you have to choose the route that reduces the tightness of the corner arc.
Once you’re at the apex, you can begin on the throttle again. Remember this: the faster the corner, the earlier its apex will be.
The exit point is but simply where your car reaches the 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.