Advanced driving guide

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More Driving Tips

by Gentlefoot

Speed comes from consistency

It’s all very well pushing to the absolute limit every lap, going off in 3 out of 4 and setting a fast time on the 1 clean lap. However, this will not help you in a race where one off can cost you a win. Also, it will make it very difficult to improve and get really fast.

The first time I lap a new circuit I’ll do the whole thing in say 2nd gear. That way I get a good look at all the potential reference points around the track and I get a feel for the flow. Then I begin to build up speed. I find I can learn a track in just a few laps taking this approach.

Also, if you keep going off in say turn 3, then you’ll never know what the entry to turn 4 will be like at full speed. I have mates who play and go off at the same corner over and over again. When they finally make it through the corner, they crash at the next one!

In addition, once you get to within say 5 seconds of the WR, then you’ll know which corners you can push a little harder on to save time and which you are pretty much on the money.

Consistency is an absolute must when adjusting your setups. When I’m creating setups I JUST try to be consistent so that any changes show up in the time. If I was pushing 99% then a fast bit here and mistake there makes lap time comparison meaningless.

AnalyzeForSpeed

This tool is fantastic. When you watch WRs and can’t work out how they are getting through corners at certain speeds, this tool can help. You can see at any moment in a lap speed, throttle/brake position, steering angle and track position. It may look at first glance as though you are doing the same thing but use AnalyzeForSpeed and you will see how completely different WR holders drive to you.

Analyse for Speed website
LFS's analysers info page (to download the 'trackmaps')

Corner Entry

Use every inch of space on corner entry. This opens up the radius of the turn for you so the turn is less tight. Even when you think you are using all the track you probably are not. AnalyzeForSpeed has an uncanny knack of proving this to you.

As you are turning toward the apex, you need to be above the ideal corner speed slightly, scrubbing it off as you get to the apex. If you turn in at the required corner speed, you will be shedding time to the fast guys who will be carrying extra speed to the apex I guarantee it. This is one of the hardest skills to master in LFS and in my view what separates the ‘aliens’ (I hate that term) from the rest of us. To do this you will need to learn how to trail brake while keeping some throttle on. Make sure your pedals are set with separate axis.

Braking

Many beginners do not down-change early enough when braking. This makes a big difference in braking areas after long straights into slow corners. It can reduce your braking distance by as much as 10 metres. This will save you 1-2 tenths in lap time. It can also help you when attempting a pass on corner entry or defending a pass from a driver behind.

The down change needs to occur at the precise moment when the speed is reduced to a point where the wheels will not lock as you enter the gear below. Lock up and your braking distance will increase dramatically and you will ruin your tyres.

In many cars you can down change at the same moment of even just before you hit the brakes. This depends on the revs in current gear, gear ratios and the rate at which the car can reduce speed.

WARNING! Changing down too early in front wheel drive cars can cause damage to your engine. Repeated damage will have an affect on the power output, so scuppering your chance of staying consistent. Although engine damage is repaired in 0 seconds (currently) when in the pits, it takes time to make a pit stop.

Tyres

Look after them – don’t lock them in braking and apply the absolute minimum steering angle required. If the tyres are making loads of noise you have applied too much lock. This will dramatically increase your tyre temps and mean you have to run less aggressive camber and pressures to make them last the race. This will lose you time.

Important Corners

Corners before long straights are the most important on any circuit. This is because for every mph extra you carry through the corner, you carry an extra mph all the way down the straight until you hit the brakes.

Fast corners before long straights are even more important than slow corners before straights because at higher speeds the car accelerates more slowly, so the extra mph you carry has a greater affect.

For corners before long straights you can afford to lose some time on entry if it means you will come out faster. Generally this means apex slightly further round the corner than the mid point. The longer the straight, the later the apex although on fast corners the apex point is pretty much in the middle because you must carry speed through fast corners for reasons mentioned above.

Set your car up for the most important corners on a track and you should be able to put in some fast times.

Power on Early

Ever wondered why sometimes it seems as though someone is faster down the straight than you? Its probably because they got their foot on the accelerator a fraction of a second before you.

Concentrate on getting back on full power as early in a corner as possible (just before the apex if possible, at the very latest, just after the apex). Think about this when you are driving and you will knock seconds off your lap times. In a some cars with lower power, you can even get on the throttle half way through the turn.

Using AnalyzeForSpeed you can see when the WR holders are getting on the power and compare that to your own best laps. Its amazing how early the fastest drivers get back on full throttle.

Splits

Know your split times, so you know if you were quick or slow when you took a particular line through a section. Know the WR splits too, so you know which sections you need to make up most time in.

Following Faster Racers

Even watching a replay of the WR is not the same as actually following a guy who is faster then you and emulating his/her lines. Sometimes following someone will show you a line you hadn’t noticed in a replay. This helped me massively on the final turn at AS Club.

This assumes you are quick enough to keep up for at least part of a lap.

Emulating WRs

Don’t watch a WR, see that the driver takes T1 at 87mph and then try and take T1 at 87mph, you will go off. Try to aim for a few mph less and build from there. You will get a feel for the amount of lock, trail braking, and throttle control by doing this. With practice you may then be able to match the WR speed through a particular corner.