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Last Post 06/20/2005 3:24 PM by  Nimble Neon
Driving Techniques: Lesson 3 Ideal Racing Line
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Nimble Neon
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06/20/2005 3:24 PM
    LESSON 3: Ideal Racing Line, Out-In-Out, Apexing, and Slow-In-Fast-Out.

    Enabling Learning Objectives
    1. Describe a proper race line and what out-in-out means.
    2. Describe what apexing is and how it differs from out in out.
    3. Describe what slow-in-fast-out means.
    4. Describe, in your own words, what it means to “straighten a turn”.

    Terminal Learning Objectives
    Take your vehicle to a safe location or track and practice proper race line techniques. Record your findings and experiences in the journal you created in lesson 2. You can annotate such things as speed accumulated when practicing proper race lines, proper race lines vs. improper race lines, how slow-in-fast-out differs from fast-in-slow-out.

    Note: This lesson is a short one. It’s designed to be direct and to the point. The reason for this is that elaboration on the current techniques up for discussion would render most readers confused because the descriptions would come across as too “wordy” for most. If there are any questions, at the end of the lesson, feel free to ask your instructor or to email me at [email protected] You can also ask me any questions or address me with any concerns or comments that you may have.

    Thank you,

    Proper Race Line: Out In Out.

    If walk up to your average racer, and ask him or her what their first driving technique learned was, they will probably mention taking a proper race line through a turn. A proper race line is defined as a line taken to achieve maximum speed when exiting a turn while positioning yourself in an advantageous position to maintain or take a racing position. This technique is often referred to as out in out. Through this process you “straighten out”, or minimize the amount of steering input required, a turn. This will allow for your car to have a higher exit speed and should place you in a position to where you can overtake your opponent.

    Here is an example of the OUT IN OUT procedure.

    1. What you want to do is position your car for the maximum safe speed for entering this turn. Entry speed and angle are the two MOST IMPORTANT aspects of this step. They don’t have to be perfect, but the closer they are to perfection, the better. This is probably the most difficult step of the procedure do to the technicality of angling and slowing your car down to a safe yet fast speed. You want your car to be positioned towards the outside of the turn as you approach it. The angle of your car will depend on how fast you are traveling, and when you actually steer towards the outside.

    2. From here, you want to begin to steer towards the inside of the turn. This will maximize the exiting velocity of the turn by setting your car up for a “straight line attack”. Simply put, your car will travel faster in a straight line then it will while turning, this will set your vehicle up so that all you have to do is give power to the wheels and you will be set to go.

    3. Provide power. This is a crucial step as well because timing is the key to getting this right. No amount of written lessons or class room time can prepare you for this, the only way to get use to this and learn the timing is by actually getting on a track and practicing. What you want your car to do is to “float” towards the outside of the turn again. So what essentially will happen is, you are at the inside of the turn, when you apply power, your vehicle should be angled so that when you accelerate you power towards the outside of the exit of the turn. Out In Out.

    From here, all that is left to do is to utilize your steering wheel to position your car for either the next up coming turn or straight away.

    As you probably already know, this technique is utilized mostly in racing. Drifters usually stay away from this line because most judges and spectators like to see just how far the operator can get his or her vehicle towards the edge of the turn with out overshooting it. That’s where the next technique comes into play:


    Apexing is simply utilizing the apex, or higher/outermost part, of a turn to achieve an advantageous position over your opponent. Normally, this technique is designed for the racer who overtakes by utilizing a late or delayed braking technique. Passing the “predetermined” braking distance and braking at the latest safe time in order to gain a higher exit speed apply this technique. In racing, this has its advantages and disadvantages. Without delving too deeply, one advantage is that, if applied correctly, late braking will disrupt your opponent’s rhythm of the track and allow you the split-second you need in order to pass. A disadvantage is that it requires extreme concentration and timing. One wrong move can spell disaster in the hands of an untrained driver. Even the best have succumbed to the downfalls of delayed braking.

    I digress, when apexing, the goal is to attain a higher entry speed by utilizing the highest point of a turn, as mentioned before.

    You can tell, by the degree of steering input needed, that your racing speed will be lower on the exit with this technique but your entry speed will be significantly higher.

    How it is applied:

    1. You want to position your car towards the inside of the turn as you approach. This is the same as the out in out procedure but is the exact opposite.

    2. Drive towards the outer most portion of the turn slowing down and applying steering input as necessary. This is the most difficult part of apexing as this requires the largest amount of concentration and skill. It is recommended that you practice this for several log book hours before actually attempting this technique in a race.

    3. Once you have positioned your car towards the exit of the turn. Allow it to “float” towards the inside of the exit. This will allow you to gain a little higher exit speed then if you were to attempt to remain at the outside of the turn. This is due to the fact that the lateral force resisting the turn of your car is transferred and will “naturally” want to pull your car towards the inside. Directing your vehicle towards the outside of the exit will only resist this natural momentum and will consequently slow your vehicle down even further.

    This technique opposes the out in out procedure directly. However, the fact that it places your car at the outermost point of the turn makes this technique a perfect practice for drifters. While practicing this technique, feel how the car handles through the turn. Also, observe what it might feel like if your car were sideways throughout that turn.

    Apexing, is a very useful skill in racing and in drifting. When drifting, the judges and spectators will stand up and cheer as you successfully pull your car sideways through the highest point of the turn and you will notice that you feel a higher amount of speed and momentum carried through the turn as you complete the drift.

    A Quick Run Into Slow In Fast Out.

    This is probably the shortest portion of this lesson due to the fact that Slow In Fast Out is all based on physics and theory. The slow in fast out rule states that the faster a car enters a turn, the more it will have to slow down in order to successfully complete it. Inversely, it also states that the slower a car enters a turn, the more room and time it will have to accelerate through the exit. There is no “proper” way to approach this technique. The key here is to find out what works better for you. Are you faster and in more control if you approach the turn slower and exit faster? Or do you feel like it’s quicker for you to approach the turn at a higher rate of speed, and then slow down as you exit? It’s all really based on driver preference. Because of this I can only offer a few pointers:

    1. Keep in mind that no two drivers are the same. While you may want to approach the turn quickly, you will find that other drivers may want to slow down before approaching the turn. This is important to remember when drafting because you don’t want to rear-end your opponent.

    2. Try to be versatile. Try to practice both techniques because you will find that some turns will require you to enter at a slower speed while others may allow you to power through the entrance. Keep this in mind when completing your laps.

    3. You will also want to keep in mind that timing is everything. A slight miscalculation will mean that you have to overcompensate for your entry speed. You slow down too much; you’ll have to rely on your vehicles power to bring you back up to speed. Likewise, if you were to approach at too high of speed, you will find that you are depending on your braking and suspension to compensate for the erratic entry speed.

    If you keep those pointers close at hand, you will find yourself becoming a faster and faster driver on the track. Remember, you have to crawl before you walk and you have to walk before you run. Before you get your car out there , you have to know how your car “wants” to behave throughout the turns so you have a better understanding of how to push it beyond that limit. Follow that rule, and you will be the best on the track, and that’s a guarantee.

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