Speed Sensing is a Vital Skill to Win Races- Race Car Tech Sessions
February 4, 2013
There are many things that make a good race driver one of these is being able to sense your speed at all times, so you can push the car to its maximum limits.
Speed sensing in the various corner phases is such an important skill, especially in the entry phase. The innate ability to accurately determine the ideal speed when you start to turn in, that will maintain grip and the best racing line at the maximum speed possible for the vehicle you are racing is vital to win races.
However lets get this out of the way. This is not achieved by looking down at the speedo and seeing you are doing 97.2 mph, when you reach the turn in point! I can assure you one thing and that is you will not have time to look at the speedo when you are entering the turn. This sort of distraction will without fail slow you down and is a dangerous practice.
This Speed Sensing skill needs to be natural and an innate ability, some drivers have an inbuilt sense and some drivers will need to nurture the skill through techniques and practice. To be a winner you will consistently need to adjust the cars speed to the appropriate level for entering the turn, just knowing deep down and thinking you are consistent is not enough. You need to be able to tell and feel the difference between entering the corner at 76 mph to entering at 78 mph. Great race drivers can sense the variation in speed within one mph, and the elite superstar drivers can be even more accurate and constantly dial the car into the maximum speed possible time and time again.
To develop your Speed Sense is not an easy thing to achieve with out many hours and miles on the track, however there are a couple of techniques that will help.
A good way to improve you Speed Sense can be done in your day car and on normal roads, all you need to do is practice estimating your speed with out using the speedo. Use your senses and check what you feel is your speed against the actual speed on the speedo.
Go for a drive and find an open road get up to 55 mph (make sure this is less than the speed limit on the road) from looking at the speedo. DO NOT LOOK AT THE SPEEDO AGAIN then accelerate and slow down a few times. After you have done this accelerate back up to 55 mph. when you feel and sense you have achieved 55 mph have a look at the speedo to see what actual speed you are doing. Do this exercise over and over again eventually you will start to achieve close or spot on Speed Sense.
Another exercise you can do is start to drive, again find a open road and WITHOUT LOOKING at the speedo, speed up to 55 mph or any speed you decide (make sure this is less than the speed limit on the road). When your Speed Sense is telling you that you have achieved the chosen speed look at the speedo to see how close you are.
(NEVER SPEED ON PUBLIC ROADS ALWAYS STICK TO THE SPEED LIMITS)
If you do these exercises over and over again you will improve and become very accurate with the speed you feel, this will give you good Speed Sense that you can adapt to the track.
It does not matter you are not travelling at the same speed as you will achieve on the track. The aim of these exercises is to achieve consistent speeds with just your sensory input as your guide. When you have practiced this many times you should start to get the speed you feel and sense within one mile an hour from your actual speed.
Thank you reading this article, and enjoy your racing.
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