#525 Racing is life – S5 E1 – BASICS – HARMONY

There is just one thing you need to understand! One single thing that will change your driving style forever.

HARMONY

What comes to mind when thinking about HARMONY?

This?

Or this?

But what if it needs to be both? What if this is the real secret about being fast?

Having the pleasure to drive a Mercedes Benz A-Klasse from 2008 these days, because my car is getting delivered only in early February, I can notice my driving style improving even further. Is it a drivers car? Hell no, it isn’t! But it’s an unexpectedly good vehicle for practicing harmony in your driving style.

A car with a very high center of gravity (cg) is predestined to move around quite a lot. Whenever you hit the brakes, accelerate or give a steering input for the next corner ahead, the whole body of the car seems to start rolling, yawing and leaning out of the corner. Sure, in a race car we don’t actually want that! But for our training, it’s just brilliant! Why? Because you feel just so much more movements.

The key to being fast is not to pull and push at the steering wheel like a 5 years old who doesn’t want to share his shovel in Kindergarten. Everything you are doing needs to be done in harmony and in control.

A car is a physical object. And like all objects here on earth, they are showing a clear sign of inertia. Meaning that once the car is driving straight ahead, it doesn’t want to change it’s direction anymore! But sure, racing is not just driving in a straight line. The next corner is coming up! Therefore, even if the car doesn’t want to, it needs to make the turn! Your job is of course not to convince the car to make the turn, but instead, you need to think to be the car and initiate the turn in such a way, that there is only pure harmony in whatever you and the car are doing.

Every load transfer, every bump on the road. All these things are causing a car to react. The suspension is working, the load is getting distributed to the other side. Everything is somehow moving all the time. Your job as the driver is not to make this scene look spectacular, but rather quite the opposite!

The slower it looks from the outside, the faster it is.

Harmony! Every move you make, every steering correction you do, everything needs to be done in perfect harmony. Have you ever heard something about the racing line? Well, that’s what you need! The fastest way around a corner is always the racing line. Sure, there are quite some opposites between a wet track and a dry one. But we are talking about the basics today!

With the winter coming up, maybe you get some time driving on snow and ice! If you get the chance, take it! Why? Because a low grip surface makes the demand for harmony even more obvious. One load transfer too much and your car is already doing something it’s not meant to be doing. Sure, on a slick tire on a dry road in summer it might not affect the car that much. But on an icy carpark, every single input you do can have a dramatic impact on the whole system.

Learning to drive fast isn’t easy, sure! But if you have never learned how to drive slowly but precise, you will never be the quickest!

May the force be with you!

See you next time!

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