It is very easy to get caught up in the showmanship and prestige of expensiveparts for your car, but the best investment you'll ever make in road racing is thetime you spend tuning your driving skills.
In this section, our goal is to introduce you to many of the basic driving techniques used in racecar driving. There are numerous details to be conscious of while racing on a track, and it will bedifficult and overwhelming to remember them all the first few times out. Focus on one or twotechniques each time you go out on the track. As each technique becomes second-nature, youcan work on a new one. After you have studied each of the techniques, how best to go aboutpracticing them is covered in the next tab section Practice Sessions.No matter how much country- or mountain-road hot rodding you may have done, or how good adriver you think you are, driving on a race track is an entirely new level of driving that requiresvery specific skills if you want to be good at it. Good drivers, like all good athletes, have anatural skill, and yet are also smart and/or humble enough to know that there are knowntechniques they must practice if they are to be proficient. Even if you have natural talent, don'tmake the mistake of thinking all you need is a better car to improve your performance. Yourdriving skills can always be improved. Even the Gordon's, Andretti's, and Schumacher's of thepro-driving world continually analyse their driving so they can improve.Many of the race driving techniques explained here can be practiced on the street, others simplycannot be. Where appropriate (meaning safe and useful), we will point out how to practice theseskills during everyday street driving. As with any skill, "knowing" what to do is not the same as"doing" it. Practice, practice, practice. Time in the car, on the track, repetitively performingthese techniques is the only thing that will make you good at using them. Often you'll findyourself thinking you're doing something right, only to recognize several months later, that youcould do it even better.Because there are so many things to rememeber and practice, be sure to read these sectionsoften--you will forget a lot of its content.
One of the first things to prepare before you even turn the key, is a proper seatingposition. This is often overlooked, or improperly immitated, resulting in poorer carcontrol and premature fatigue.
If you look at a variety of race cars, you will see a variety of seating positions. In the open-wheel CART and Formula cars, it appears that the driver is almost laying down with arms fullyoustretched (they are not). In a full-bodied NASCAR-type car, you see the driver more erect andalmost cramped against the steering wheel. Neither position is the correct one for your street carin road racing.The body of the open-wheel car is very shallow in height, and the cockpit is very narrow. Thisshape determines much of the driver's position. The driver's legs are relatively straight out witha slight bend in the knee, and the feet just barely below the hips. The pedals in many of thesecars are almost touching each other. The pedals also require little more than a flexing of theankle to go from 0-100% depression. The driver's arms have little room for movement, but thesteering requires extremely little turning input by the driver. In the open-wheel car, function(driver's seating position and controls operation) follows form (the shallow and narrow cockpit).In a NASCAR type car, many things are completely opposite. The driver sits very erect, and isvery close to the steering wheel. In fact, the driver can almost lay his whole forearm on thesteering wheel. Why the big difference? The cars themselves are larger, heavier, and have largefront tires. Additionally, on even the large speedway tri-ovals, the percentage of time spentturning is much higher than on a road course. All this adds up, and means the driver's right arm
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