The ‘Racing Line’ 101 – How to Approach it

Racing line

So, what is the racing line? Fundamentally, the racing line is the best line for maintaining momentum, minimizing steering inputs, and utilizing the full width of the track to carry as much speed through corners as possible. It’s a concept that is influenced by, among other things, the type of vehicle you’re driving, your personal driving style, the track’s layout, and weather conditions.

When we talk about the racing line, it’s important to note that it’s not necessarily the shortest route around the track but the most efficient one. For instance, a wide approach to a corner can set you up for a faster exit, meaning you can get down the next straight faster. In a nutshell, a good racing line minimizes the time spent turning and maximizes the time you can accelerate.

To identify the racing line:

  • Utilize the full track width to optimize your approach to corners. You’ve paid for it, use it!
  • Allow your line of sight to guide your steering, looking through the turn to where you want to go.
  • Progressively increase speed as you become more comfortable with the track, ensuring safety is your priority.
  • Memorize the track, noting reference points for braking, turning, and accelerating.
  • Typically, approach corners from the outside, cutting in towards the apex, and then letting the car drift back out as you exit.
  • Minimize steering adjustments mid-turn to maintain stability and momentum.
  • Be patient with the throttle; smooth acceleration out of a turn is often more effective than stepping on the gas.
  • At a controlled speed, try different entry points into a corner to determine which works better for your platform.

It’s important to note that adopting a late turn-in and apex may seem safer, but it can compromise car control. This is because by requiring tighter steering at early corner stages, you’re inadvertently increasing the risk of a spin or loss of control. However, entering a corner too early with excessive speed will cause you to run wide or ‘track out’ too far on exit. This means you’re either off track and mowing the grass or worse, into a tire wall/barrier.

Each corner on a racetrack has a unique racing line that needs to be learned and integrated into your overall strategy and goals for the course. This is even more complex when corners lead into one another, requiring a rhythmic transition from one line to the next. It’s good practice to work on one or maybe two corners during a session. Pick the corner you want to focus on before you go out and tell your instructor that’s you’re plan. They can then help you work towards identifying the best line through the corner for your car (platform).

51GT3 Racing Academy has an excellent video explaining the racing line.

Track conditions play a significant role in your racing line choices. On wet surfaces, you’ll take a very different line. In fact, you’ll want to stay off the ‘typical’ racing line to avoid slippery patches where rubber buildup, mixed with the rain, make that line on the track extremely slippery! TIP: Avoid painted surfaces in the wet!

Ultimately, mastering the racing line is an exercise in continuous learning and practice. Each lap is an opportunity to refine your approach, seeking that perfect line that feels like a seamless dance with physics, leading to faster and more consistent laps.

Summary of the ‘Racing Line’ #

While looking for your perfect racing line, it’s important to listen to your instructor during sessions. Instructors’ guidelines, even if they lean towards a slightly more conservative driving line, serve as a great foundation for your learning. As you progress you can experiment more but it’s important to understand the basics to begin with.

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As we said, remember that driving styles and lines might vary a little based on individual preferences and car dynamics. Keep an open mind, absorb the knowledge from your instructors, but also listen to your car and your instincts. The key lies in finding that subtle balance where your car feels fastest and most responsive.

Updated on November 3, 2023
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