#196 Racing is life – driving techniques – S3 E5 – Accelerating

As we have talked already about the tires, the braking and the suspension, todays topic will add another very important skill to our list.


What is so difficult about that? You put the pedal to the metal, right? Give everything there is, as often and as long as possible! Well yes, this is of course the main goal, but is it really that easy?

As we have already discussed the tires a little bit, at least to a certain extent, do you still remember the circle of forces? No problem if you don’t. Basically this circle states out, that your tires can either transfer 100% of longitudinal loads, like accelerating or braking, 100% of lateral forces through corning, or a combination of both forces, which combination of forces needs to stay within the actual circle. That means, if you are currently driving around a corner, your tires will transfer lateral forces and therefore can not transfer 100% of the longitudinal forces anymore. Makes sense, right? Have a look at this, maybe it helps to visualize it.

Ok, but why is that relevant for todays topic. Well, the answer is very easy. You tires can not handle a full acceleration mode all the time, therefore you need to know what you can do in which situation.

On the straight? Give everything there is. In corners? Be careful about what you are doing. Don’t increase or decrease the acceleration too fast. The less lateral forces there is, the more you can already start to accelerate. I guess you have already heard the therm: “Slow in, fast out.” In case you haven’t, don’t worry. We will talk about that as well, but for today, you just need to know that you can not give the full acceleration during corning.

But thank god there is a traction control, right? The so called TC. What does it do? Well, actually, it prevents your tires from losing their grip. Meaning, it regulates the slip of your tires, holding it in the perfect zone. While in some cars you either have a TC or not. In race cars you can also adjust the traction control. Do you really need that? Actually you do, because it makes thinks a little bit easier, especially under difficult weather conditions.

What is the best TC setup? A good question to ask. Generally speaking the less the TC is doing, the faster you can go. Professional race car drivers therefore use a very low setting, where the TC rather acts as a “in case you have a big moment safety net”. But what should you do? If you are participating in the sim racing world, you should start to learn how to properly drive a car without the TC. This will help you to figure out how it actually works. There is nothing better as the good old learning by crashing. Afterwards you may use a little bit of the TC to have a safety net, but you will figure out what you like and need on your way.

Ok, so that is it? Not quite so. Another very important fact is the point, that removing the accerlation in certain situations will have an effect as well. We have all seen the Nürburgring Nordschleife Touristenfahrten crashes. A very famous part to mess it up is the last corner before the Aremberg corner. This is a very fast left-hander that most of the people do wrong by actually lifting off the pedal while cornering. Why? That is clear, because they are too fast and you don’t stand on the acceleration while corning, right? Not quite so, because the acceleration torque can actually stabilize the car. Especially in very fast corners, a quick lift off can really mess it up completely.

Ok, but I guess this is all we need to talk about today.

See you next time!

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