The natural rhythm for beginning racers is to approach a corner, complete the corner, and then accelerate toward the next one. If you’re still doing this, you’re losing much more time here than you think. Hitting the geometric apex may be the fastest method through any individual corner, but there’s more to your lap time than adding all the corners together. You have to maximize your speed between corners as well.
This is article is part of the advanced racing series. Each of the articles are linked from the Advanced Racing Introduction.
Accelerating just a short time earlier gives you a fairly significant advantage when it’s compounded over the length of a straight. You should be accelerating as soon as you can while exiting a corner. The point where you begin to accelerate out of a turn can be called the “transition point”.
To get on the throttle earlier, you will need to straighten out your corner exit line. Do this by late-apexing the preceding corner.
This pulls you off the geometric apex which slows down your corner. By sacrificing a little bit of corner speed, you can gain back time in the straights. Not all straights are long enough to make up the difference. Decide how far to delay the apex on each corner based on the design of the course, particularly what comes after it. Skill and experience come into play while making this decision for each turn, so practice is essential.
It takes a delicate balance to turn in later while keeping a tight corner. Practicing late apexes is essential to becoming a faster pilot.
Practice Exercise: Late Apexing
Similar to the last installment’s exercise, set up a course and place course markers at each turn. This time, set up the markers for late-apexing.
Fly the course while trying to hold this line—then do it again without the markers. Compare your flight video to see how you did and what you need to work on.
If you practice this course in reverse, you’ll have to reset the markers. A late apex marker would give you an early apex from the opposite direction.
These lines are ideals, and don’t always work when corners are placed close together. Next up, we’ll talk about planning your line.