Driving Technique: Leading With Steering Rather Than Throttle At Track Out

Published: August 6, 2013

You probably saw the string analogy: imagine there is a string connecting the bottom of the steering wheel and the gas pedal. At full steering you cannot give the car any gas, and you have to dial out steering angle as you are getting on the gas pedal.

A subtle point here is which of unwinding the steering or opening the throttle comes first. When this analogy is explained in a classroom, the two actions are considered to happen simultaneously. But in practice one tends to lead the other: either the driver adds throttle and feels the car wanting to rotate, and then reduces steering, or the driver reduces steering, feels that there is now available grip, and then adds throttle.

Leading with steering is generally harder than leading with power, because it is easier to feel something that exists (oversteer) than something that does not (grip that is not being utilized). Especially drivers of high horsepower cars tend to lead with power because the driver must make an effort not to. However, leading with steering keeps the tires just under their grip limit rather than just over. This helps to extend the life of the tires and, because tires slide less, they run cooler and tend to overheat less during a single session. Also, especially in high horsepower cars, mastering leading with steering will allow you to accelerate harder (because once the rear tires start to slide, available grip is reduced, and applying power to the point of the car entering a drift has disastrous effects on lap time).

Tagged: intermediate