Grip search

» Posted by on Dec 14, 2013 in Current projects and Tech Notes | Comments Off

Grip search

In my book Think Fast – The Racer’s Why-To Guide to Winning, I advised racing drivers to “Drive where the grip is, not where the line is.” This has turned out to be yet another example of “Do as I say, not as I do”, at least for one brief moment. Among the many photos that Kj Christopher took of my car at a recent practice day, one of them shows clear evidence of a massive understeer washout that was caused by driving through the dirt outside the clean line. Oops! For sure, there was a lot less grip out there. Even though I was driving a better theoretical line to set up for the next corner, the reality that most drivers weren’t made my theoretical best line slower for sure than the practical best line that was a car width or so to the inside.

This is a great example of my limited state of driving expertise caused by a long time away. It is also a great example of learning from objective evidence. You don’t need a fancy data system to learn lessons like this. I have actually learned more from photos and video of my driving from outside the car than from in-car video.

Many thanks to Kj for the photos.

Here is the key photo. The dust being kicked up by my right front tire makes it clear that I was driving on the dirty part of the pavement, where everyone else wasn’t.

Photo by Kj Christopher

Photo by Kj Christopher