Your Vision on Track – 5 Stages of a Corner

Anatomy of a corner showing various stages of where a drivers vision on track should change
anatomy corner

For novice and seasoned drivers alike, understanding where to focus your vision on track is paramount to improving as a driver. Unfortunately, many of us drive roads day-to-day that are riddled with potholes and as a result, we tend to look just over the hood/bonnet of our cars. It’s a bad habit we’re guilty of and ultimately means we’re distracted from what’s going on further down the road. Thankfully, most race tracks are in perfect knick so we don’t need to worry about potholes etc., but it does mean we need to break our habit of ‘low-eyes’.

RELATED: Peripheral Vision

You’ll often hear instructors at HPDE events talk about keeping your ‘eyes up’ and looking down the track. This is because on track, everything happens rapidly; so, extending your vision far ahead is crucial. Track driving demands anticipating corners earlier, which allows for smoother, faster and more efficient turns.

On track, the adage “where you look is where you’ll go” underscores the critical nature of focus and the direction of a driver’s gaze. This concept, known as “target fixation,” has profound implications on a driver’s steering inputs and consequently the path the car takes. Much like skiing through a forest, an experienced skier will focus on the gaps between the trees rather than the trees themselves, a skilled driver concentrates on the trajectory through the turns rather than potential hazards or the walls of the track. The eyes act as a guide, with the brain processing the visual information to steer the body or, in the case of driving, the car, along the desired path.

Vision on Track – The Anatomy of a Corner #

Consider the anatomy of a corner – approach, braking, turn-in, apex, and exit. Your vision on track should continually be a step ahead of your current position. During braking, instead of fixating directly ahead, your eyes should already be assessing the apex. This foresight offers extra milliseconds to accurately judge your speed and the ideal turning point. As you hit the apex – the innermost point of the corner providing the optimal racing line – shift your focus towards the exit. This transition is pivotal; it determines the timing of throttle application and the trajectory for exiting the corner swiftly and safely.

Approaching Brake Zone / Corner #

Highlighting where a driver should be looking when approaching a corner

As you approach the brake zone, it’s essential to identify your brake marker. This marker is a cue on or beside the track, signaling when to commence braking. The key is to maintain your vision not just on this marker but also beyond it. This approach helps you anticipate the corner’s structure and requirements before you even start braking, enabling smoother transitions and better preparedness for what lies ahead.

Braking Zone #

Highlighting where a driver's vision on track should be when in the braking zone

In the braking zone, while your initial focus is on ensuring timely braking at the brake marker, it’s crucial to shift your vision towards the turn-in point before you actually start braking. This preemptive glance allows you to prepare for the corner’s geometry and to understand how much deceleration is needed to make the turn successfully.

Approach Turn In #

Highlighting where a driver's focus should be when entering a corner

While approaching the turn-in, your focus should be on locating the apex of the corner. This technique of looking through to the apex as you approach the turn-in helps in gauging the corner’s sharpness, allowing you to adjust your entry speed and angle accurately. Your line of sight effectively guides your steering inputs, setting the stage for a smooth and efficient corner traversal.

Approach Apex #

Highlighting where a driver's vision on track should be after turning into a corner

As you near the apex, your eyes should already be scanning ahead to the exit of the corner. This forward-looking strategy is critical for determining the corner’s exit point and planning the line you’ll take. By focusing on the exit, you can better manage throttle application, ensuring that you’re optimally positioned to accelerate out of the corner.

At Apex #

Highlighting where a driver's vision on track should be when exiting a corner

Upon reaching the apex, your vision should be fully fixed on the exit. This is the moment to start applying the gas, and your line of sight aids in precisely timing this action. Aiming your vision at the exit, even while you’re still at the apex, ensures that you commit to the throttle at the right moment and follow the most efficient trajectory out of the corner.

Vision on Track – Summary #

In summary, your vision on track should be disciplined as a good strategy not only improves lap times but also heightens your awareness and control and ensures a smoother, more enjoyable and ultimately faster drive.

Remember, where you look is where you’ll go!

Updated on November 3, 2023
Was this article helpful?