robertogposted by Roberto Giordanelli
Guild member and racing instructor


Roberto Giordanelli testing a 1000bhp ex-Michele Alboreto Ferrari 126C4 (photo: Michael Ward)

The object of the day at Rockingham is to have fun and feel a sense of achievement in improving your track driving. Motorsport is like any other sport, in that it takes much experience and training to master it. Before you drive, you will receive a briefing from a senior instructor. These notes are not a repetition of what you will hear at the briefing. Instead they will give you an insight to an instructor’s observations.

You can leapfrog many years up the motorsport ladder simply by employing instructors. Use as many as possible, they tend to have their own style and their own tips. By using several instructors you can cherry-pick from their gems of wisdom.

Race circuits tend to have a particular corner - or corners - that cause trouble. Try to find out where these high incident booby-trap corners occur; learn from other people’s mistakes.

Here are some observations:

  • Novices are often too fast in the slow corners and too slow in the fast turns.
  • With road driving, long distance vision tends to be limited to the car that is 30 metres in front. You need a rethink your vision range. Don’t look at the road unfolding a few metres ahead, look much further ahead and through the approaching corners. This could be anything from 100-500 metres ahead. The car will go where you are looking.
  • Using an early apex is a common mistake. This is because on the approach to a corner, the visible apex tends to be located a long way before the racing apex. If you find yourself running out of road on the exit, it is because you turned in too early. This is another vision issue.
  • Poor braking is another common error. On the road you will have pressed the brake pedal lightly a million times. For circuit driving, when you go from a high-speed section into a slow corner you will have to use much more pedal pressure. A normal car can attain 1g deceleration. Evidence from my data logging show that novices are often using only half of the car’s braking ability. If your instructor is shouting, “Brake Brake Brake!” it would be prudent to depress the brake pedal beyond your comfort zone.

Enjoy your day and remember the object of the exercise.

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