In our first Winter Warm-Up, we talked about getting the proper corner speed through braking techniques, but as we mentioned in that article, proper throttle application is important, too.
Through coaching, I’ve found that drivers have a tendency to believe that they need to be on either the gas or the brake pedal at all times, and this simply is not true. If you’re a Speed Secrets Weekly reader, you’ve seen articles both Ross Bentley and I have written about this misconception.
In Part 1, we talked about proper brake release to carry the right momentum into the corner, and that means you won’t necessarily be trailing brake pressure all the way to the apex; you’ll start releasing that pressure sooner to slow the car down less. You know you’ll be carrying more speed with less brakes. Since you’re carrying more speed, though, you can’t defy the laws of physics and just pick up the throttle where you might have in the past.
You’ll find that you need to pick up throttle once the radius of the corner starts to open up, which by definition is at the apex of the corner. Think about this: if you’re trying to go to power well before the apex, the throttle transfers weight to the back of the car, which means you’re taking weight off the front of the car, thereby affecting your steering and grip. You can’t add throttle when you still need the car to traverse the tightest portion of the corner.
So what does this tell us? There very well could be, and typically is, an area of the corner where you are off the brake but not yet back on the throttle. This means there is simply a portion of the corner where you’re just letting the car and tires do the work of cornering. This is a more efficient approach to a corner: you’ll be braking less, carrying more momentum, and potentially picking up the throttle a little later. At the same time, you’ll be decreasing your lap time.