2020 has kicked, Summer is coming to a close and it’s almost time to hit the track for some cooler Autumn sessions! With our first track day for 2020 coming in less than a month and now we’ve had “the chat” about getting your car track ready let’s look at some go-faster tips and get into how to progress your lap times without doing too much to your car.
Keep the pressure down – tyres, tyres, tyres! Most track day nuts will wax lyrical about tyres given half a chance and rightly so because there are literal seconds not just in the right tyres, but also the right tyre pressures. Don’t be lazy when you’re on the track, your tyre pressures are not a “set and forget” feature and you need to be constantly checking them throughout the day. A proper set of go-fast tyres will usually have a reinforced sidewall so they can be run at lower pressures (32-35psi) whilst a mid-range tyre will usually need a bit more pressure to maintain its structure (35-40psi). Think about your starting pressures and constantly check them throughout the day. If you’re not sure, ask around, as we said before people will be happy to talk your ear off about tyres and pressures.
The relative pressures you run across the front and rear axle will also afford some attitude adjustment. Running a relatively lower pressure at the front will help generate a bit more turn in and reduce understeer while a relatively lower pressure at the rear will help to reduce oversteer. If the day gets warm you may find one axle is losing grip faster than the other and you can use this technique to balance out the car a little.
And while you’re at it, get those tyres pointing in the right direction; an alignment will always help to optimize what you have. Once again if you’re not sure ask around but usually a slightly more aggressive camber setting will get your contact patch maximized as you’re leaning on the car through the corners.
Lap Data. If you look around at the faster cars, most drivers will have live timing data via some sort of app connected to an external bluetooth GPS (polling at 10Hz for better accuracy). There are lots of lap timing apps out there and most of them will give you split times across the lap so that you can see how you’re going against your fastest laps or see how a different line, different gear or technique adjustment has gone. Try starting with something like Racechrono and a Qstarz GPS and go from there.
Lap timing data also takes the subjectivity out of it, sometimes you think you’re going faster but you’re actually not, and vice-versa and the idea of using lap data is trying to build an understanding of where you push a little harder, maybe a little deeper on the brakes at the end of the straight, or a higher apex speed through the sweeper or perhaps you’re trying to perfect the line through that annoying turn 10.
Brake Markers. If you hadn’t noticed, many of Winton’s braking zones have markers and you can use these markers to slowly build your confidence to go deeper into the braking zone each lap, or until your brake-juice starts to boil. More often than not, braking is where you can pick up lots of time because braking on the track is a very different experience to braking on the road. Make sure your inputs are assertive; full throttle to your chosen marker than stomp that brake pedal like the bad-ass you are. Any slack on either input not only loses you time but makes it difficult to progress your driving safely as it introduces more variability to each corner.
Get some tips! A lot of the regular crew have been doing Winton track days for over a decade now, racking up thousands of laps in various cars. There’s a wealth of experience at every track day so you shouldn’t hesitate to ask around and even try shotgun some laps to see how other people drive. Most people will be more than happy to give you a few laps around the track. If you’re feeling game there are always tame racing drives who’ll be willing to set a time in your car as well.
That’s all for now girls and boys, see you out there soon!