Bad driving tip #6: on track praying

When driving a racecar, there is no place for faith. If you look at your brake lines and see they are cracked, you don’t blissfully head on to track because you have faith in the almighty that everything will be okay. The consequences of such an oversight could be harmful if not fatal to you or someone else. Similarly, if you’re a safety marshall and you see that someone has their harness straps under their HANS device, you don’t say a silent prayer for them while sending them on their way, you stop them right there!

OTP (on track praying) is a term I made up for spinning when dropping 2 wheels off track. Why is this called OTP? Because it’s like cracked brake lines or messed up harnesses: obvious and avoidable. You know you’re approaching the edge of the track long before you actually leave the asphalt. That moment you realize you’re running out of room is just like observing cracked brake lines. It’s time to do something about it. That something is not hoping everything will be okay. Yet that’s what a lot of amateur racers do. They keep the steering wheel and throttle fixed and hope the racing gods will take care of them. I have for news for you. The racing gods are unkind.

In the video above, the text reads “Once that left rear goes in the dirt it’s all over…”. Yeah, if you’re cornering at something around 1.0G and your outside rear tire can only sustain 0.6G once it hits dirt, you’re going to spin. But you don’t have to corner at 1.0G. There is an alternative. You could corner at 0.6G and then you wouldn’t spin. How can change from 1.0G to 0.6G? OPEN THE WHEEL. Go off track on purpose and under control. Don’t hope that you will stay on track. Hope is forsaken in these lands. Be proactive and do something about the problem before it becomes a disaster for you and other people.

The problem with OTP is that it’s nearly impossible to practice live. You can’t go to an HPDE session and constantly drive off track. And you can’t (legally) slide off the road on your daily commute. So what can you do? The least expensive is to role-play. You can do this entirely in your head. Imagine you’re about to go off track. Right before your tires hit the dirt, picture yourself unwinding the wheel so that you go off track in a straight line. For a little more realism, pretend you’re holding a steering wheel while watching the video above. Open the wheel to prevent the spin. For an even more authentic experience, get a simulator.

2 thoughts on “Bad driving tip #6: on track praying

  1. Great points. I find that I instinctively unwind and drive straight off as you describe. It may come from years of road racing motorcycles, where you quickly learn straight off is your only option.


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