Correcting Oversteer

Published: August 29, 2017

Road course driving is different from drifting in parking lots in three important aspects:

  1. The speeds are generally higher;
  2. There is a relatively small amount of runoff, and sometimes none at all, perpendicular to the normal direction of travel;
  3. There is generally a large amount of runoff parallel to the normal direction of travel.

Given these distinguishing characteristics, correcting oversteer on a road course calls for keeping the car moving parallel to the normal direction of travel above all else.

How does one do that, you might ask?

Let the car come to you.

Upon entering an unintentional drift, countersteer and maintain countersteering until the rear tires regain grip and the rear end of the car starts to fall in line behind the front. Do not attempt to steer the car; in particular, do not try to keep it on a line.

Steering corrections made prior to the rear tires fully regaining grip often experience the pendulum effect, with the car rotating more than the driver intended - and the correction is typically made away from the corner toward the limited lateral runoff. Instead wait until the car reduces its speed enough to regain grip. This can be done with partial or full countersteering (opposite lock); even if the car yaws more and more it will be reducing speed and still traveling mostly parallel to the normal track direction, thus in most cases will not hit anything.

An excessive rotation that the driver does not react quickly to is likely to spin the car, but going into said spin with full countersteering and - at that point - with both feet in generally leaves the car damage-free.

Tagged: intermediate, advanced