Published in the September 2012 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”
“I want more HP to be faster!”
That’s what you generally hear from new students that have done a few DE events. They are under the impression that more horsepower will help them go around the track faster. While in some cases this might be true, such as with very experienced drivers with underpowered cars, generally gobs of horsepower will make them go slower because high power-to-weight ratio cars are much more difficult to drive.
The general advice for becoming a better and faster track driver is the same as when someone asks: “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”
The answer in both cases is PRACTICE!
Practice certainly makes perfect, and at the track it will make for a smoother, safer and faster driver.
Once a student masters the art of braking, apexing, heel/toeing and accelerating with delicacy he/she will be more consistent and faster.
When we are new at DEs, we tend to be very aggressive with the way we turn the steering wheel, the way we press the brake pedal and the accelerator, thinking that this will make us faster.
In fact, until we can tone down our urge to be violent with the car’s controls, we won’t be as fast as we could be.
Probably the best platform to help you be a smoother driver is by doing it in the rain, or better yet, on ice!
The best DE sessions I’ve ever had, when I’ve learned the most, are under pouring rain. When it’s slick you HAVE to be smooth in the way you drive, or your tires (especially track tires) will be sliding all over the track and the car will not be on it for long.
My very first session after I qualified as a solo driver was under rain, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. I remember I felt very anxious at first, but as I did some laps it became fun, until I forgot to be smooth with my right foot and... I lost it at turn 13!
Fortunately I was able to maintain the car on the track and there weren’t any other cars immediately behind, so I was fine.
After that incident I’ve learned to be much smoother and my speed has gradually increased even though I haven’t increased my horsepower (too much).
I try to picture myself while I’m tracking my car that I’m on wet pavement and that helps me be a lot smoother ... and faster.
In one of the best books I’ve read, The Art of Racing in The Rain, by Garth Stein, Enzo, the narrator of the book says it perfectly:
“I know this much about racing in the rain. I know it is about balance. It is about anticipation and patience. I know all of the driving skills that are necessary for one to be successful in the rain. But racing in the rain is also about the mind! It is about owning one’s own body. About believing that one’s car is merely an extension of one’s body. About believing that the track is an extension of the car, and the rain is an extension of the track, and the sky is an extension of the rain. It is about believing that you are not you; you are everything. And everything is you”.
To learn more about High Performance Driving, watch some track videos and more, please visit my website at: wwwPedrosGarage.com.
Ⓒ2012 Technolab / PedrosGarage.com