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The Basics of Driving a Racecar Fast - Part II
When you watch a road race you will notice that the cars are all driving on the same part of the racetrack, usually in single file when they are running close together. This is because there is typically only one fast driving line around the track.
There is a lot of theory on this subject that can explain what is the driving line, how to determine the best line etc, so I won't get into details on this. However in our programs we assist the drivers by way of track markings to learn what is the fast line around the track. Our programs always begin with the drivers riding with an instructor around the track in a support vehicle, then our students follow an instructor for several laps driving our Formula Racecars. We then then provide the student the opportunity to drive on their own.
Drivers often comment that once they are driving on their own that following the correct line becomes a lot more difficult to follow, with many drivers making mistakes in their first laps. It is a lot different to be driving on your own versus following someone around the track. That is why we provide the student with a 'Follow the Instructor' session before they set out on their own.
Lesson Two: If you deviate from the Driving Line, you will NEVER be as fast as if you follow it. Even if it means driving at a slower pace initially, getting to learn the driving line and following the same line each lap will ultimately lead you to faster times.
As a footnote, if I am at a new track and having a hard time determining the correct line, I will walk the track backwards and figure out where I need to be at the exit of the turn, then work it all back from there.