The shortest possible corner
AFTER LOOKING AT BRAKING technique last month, it’s now time to get into the substance of the turn. Here we often want the car to rotate slightly more than you might think, not for the benefit of the corner itself, but for what follows afterwards – often a straight.
This technique is not applicable for every corner – at Copse at Silverstone, for example, you just want to get round in a harmonised way taking a geometric line. However, in many corners, creating the shortest possible corner with this extra rotation reduces tyre wear and improves exit speed.
To do this, we need to put on another couple of degrees of steering angle in the middle of the corner near what we call the apex – it may not be the geometric apex of the corner, but it’s our apex on our line – so that we can then take a couple of degrees out immediately afterwards, and then do a subtly diagonal line towards the outside of the track. This means your wheels are pointing straighter on the exit, taking an awful lot of kilos (remember our weight transfer lesson) out of the loaded side of the car, and it therefore accelerates faster.
It’s very subtle – not that visible to the naked eye – but like the edge of a 50p piece. Introducing that extra steering angle does give us a slightly higher peak load at the tyre momentarily during the middle of the curve, but the payback is less load over the next eight car lengths to the exit. Think of it like placing your hand on a red-hot stove for a split second, compared with holding it on a cooler, but still hot, stove for ten seconds – the latter will always do more damage.
‘The shortest corner reduces tyre wear and improves exit speed’
Rob tutors aspiring racing drivers and current professional racers