In part two; we looked at corner combinations and prioritizing corners. In part three, we’ll expand on that below:
Many tracks feature long esses to go through. Make sure that you apex late enough on the initial turns so that you don’t get “behind” on your steering. The last thing you want to do is to back off early and lose that momentum through the rest of the corner combinations. Keep that rhythm all the way through the esses and balance (like on a tightrope) through the complex of corners and that can be extremely rewarding.
Off camber, on camber, blind and crests are all corners that can all dictate how, when and where you turn in, apex and exit. Again the idea is to carry maximum entry, mid-corner and exit speed that will ultimately lead to a lower lap time. In some instances, you give up speed in one part to gain speed in the other while always keeping the focus on balance and decreasing your overall lap time.
Furthermore, what does your car like? Make your car happy! If your type of car doesn’t handle well in long constant radius corners, consider the diamond line whereby you would enter it more in a straight line (to maximize speed into the braking zone), get it slowed way down to where you can turn sharper than the radius, and then accelerate hard in more or less of a straight line exiting to take advantage of your brakes and horsepower. If on the other hand you don’t have a lot of horsepower, always look at the shortest distance and carrying that mid corner speed.
The bottom line is that there can be many ways to go through a corner and still come up with an identical lap time. Consider which is easier on your tires and equipment over the course of a race. Also consider race craft and how you can use your vehicle line placement in what could be more defensive or aggressive lines based on whether you’re being passed or want to pass someone else.
Rain is another scenario where the normal racing line may not apply. When you go off line in the dry, the “marbles” off line tend to make your life miserable as the car will lose grip faster than you can think about it. However, when the rain comes, that might be the best place to place your car. As opposed to the smooth rubbered down areas of the normal racing line, the outside edge of a track can still have rough aggregate that accentuates the car’s traction capabilities. This of course has a lot to do with the level of moisture content on the track surface and what kind of
tires you’re using. Are they full wet, intermediate or dry tires? Is the rain just starting or is the track developing a dry line. Keep in mind that rain tires will shred themselves an early death on a dry track, so part of tire and line management involves driving off the line intentionally just to get some moisture on those tires to keep them alive that much longer.
If all of these techniques seem to have caveats about them it’s because they do. The best line to take is the one that puts you in the winner’s circle consistently. Most skilled drivers will be smooth and easy on equipment, especially their tires, so that in the long run they’ll have a fresher tire to take whatever line they need to go faster than everyone else. Good luck!