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Track day driving technique


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I have done two or three track days, but still regard myself very much as a novice.

I'm running Yoke 21's (18psi) and during the last track day I found that the front tyres were getting well scrubbed, and had therefore been sliding, but the rears remained smooth. The car was understeering a bit which may account for it. The question is, what should I do about it?

Is it simply a question of not driving hard enough through the corners (and therefore not having enough weight/traction on the back wheels), or is there some other obvious explanation? Alternatively, could it be the way I have the suspension set up. I only have the basic Spax, so adjustment is limited.


Any advice on driving techniques or set up for the pro's out there would be welcome *biggrin*


Q783 OOR. Team Lotus colours with flares.

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Terry I'm quite a novice regarding trackdays. After the first one I found I was experiencing exactly the same symptoms and felt rather deflated about my 7. On my second track day I paid for some tuition and it helped no end with the overall balance, smoothness, turn-ins tec..... May not be your problem but certainly worth a try as your first port of call as it only cost me £20 and now I'm very happy with my 7.


Good luck




..we're all individuals.......I'm not

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did my first trackday at Keevil this monday and had some similar problems with understeer coming out of the longer corners...


the Avon ZV1 tyres obviously aren't doing any favours and I was carrying a passenger (whereas I think the car was originally set up for 1 person). I dropped the front tyre pressures which seemed to help a little


but the biggest improvement came from the instructor who jumped in for a few laps (free of charge as well - big *thumbup* for Motorsport Events). He got me to come into the corners a little quicker so that I then had to wait a little longer until I could get back on the power - I was then able to accelerate through the apex and onto the straight. Previously, with a slower entry speed I had been on the power too early and was accelerating to the apex only to arrive there and realise that I had too much speed to hold the line and was understeering all over the place at the exit.


also, when I was understeering I was staying off the power, winding on more lock and waiting for the front to bite before accelerating....whereas, if you hold a fixed amount of lock and nail the throttle the rear of the car will eventually come round and take care of the understeer (with 2 people in my supersport there was no chance of the rear snapping sideways!)


at the end of the day my rear tyres were running hotter than the front


there should be some footage from Keevil up on my site in the next few days if ur interested








Lights! Camera! Action in Orpington!

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Mine was also an MSE at Hullavington and an instructor called Christian taught me.........very useful.


When I booked him he asked what I'd be driving, but then said "no don't tell me, I bet it's a Caterham"!!!!!!!!!!


7's and I were obviously made for each other!!!!!!!!!!!! *cool*


..we're all individuals.......I'm not

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best bit of advice for me for good track driving was to brake much more heavily - almost jump on the brakes and then ease off as you approach the corner - it was only after my last (4th) track day that I started to get the hang of it and actually start passing some ferraris/porsches - very satisfying


practice and/or driver training counts for a lot

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Could be a number of things but my priority would be

1) Run front tyres 1-2 psi above the rears and see whether that helps to dial the understeer out.

If not

2) Soften front/stiffen back if you have ARB's fitted

If not

3)Check rake of car. Back should be about 15mm higher.


Are you getting understeer on entry or exit?


If on the way in, stay on brakes a bit longer right to or even past the point of turn in. You really need to get enough weight onto the front to help turn in.


If on exit you probably haven't carried enough speed into the corner or you are applying power too early. As you accelerate the weight will transfer back so this will tend to promote understeer. You will see some people left foot braking to aid weight transfer to the front and reduce understeer.


Not sure whether all of the above is 100 % theoretically correct but works in practise.




1600 VX Black/Ali Race No 110

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Terry field,


very much a novice myself. the first track day was like driving miss daisy.

so I went out with a few club members .one an acadamy racer the other was just plain up for it in his very modified R400( he also is successful in sprints)

this alone changed how i drive on track. I now now am closer to the limits of the car and have taken that to more tracks with huge satisfaction. just by seeing the other side of the racing line and ability of the 7

was running on the z1 's supplied with car now changed to 32's .can't wait to get them out on track.

a race track will take your car to the limit if you follow the right line if you are off it it's a pig


1600ss and loving it


if you want to get faster see our AO he has his engine for sale



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Your understeer and the uneven tyre wear could be a result of all of the excellent comments above, and could also be caused by unbalanced brake bias. Do your front brakes lock up under heavy (threshold) braking? If so, you could be overloading the front of the car at turn in, and hence inducing understeer because your car is unsettled towards the front.


In Jackie Stewart's Performance Driving book, Jackie says that learning how to come off the brakes correctly is one of the toughest techniques that a race driver perfects, so for us mere mortals it is almost unattainable. But our little cars have all of the characteristics necessary to try and get it right. I found the section on braking in Skip Barber's excellent book "Going Faster" provided excellent insight, with great graphics and detailed but clear instruction.


Tyres are working at their optimum at slip angles of around 6-8º, which is a very slight state of oversteer. This allows for maximum speed and grip, and can be achieved by a progressive approach to each corner, gradually increasing approach speed, moving (threshold) braking point closer and closer to turn in, and eventually hitting turn in at optimal speed. The car is in a state of narrow grip vs. power balance. Arrive any quicker and you will not make the apex, and will have to lift off to avoid running off. The slip rate of your tyres is determined by your anti-roll bar and spring rate settings, which, if your keen, can be optimised by the likes of hyperion, ratrace, freestyle etc. Having the car corner weighted with you in the drivers seat can also improve the cars overall balance under turning forces.


Clearly, getting corners right is the entire point of track days, and you can be sure that your car will continue to surprise you as you push your entry speed up and get the braking/turn in sequence more polished. I found a passenger ride with racing drivers on evo trackdays enormously useful. You can take in as much as possible of their lines/brake points etc, and talk to them afterwards about your own driving approach.


Hope some of this helps,






My wife doesn't like my 7

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The other thing they talk about is "trail braking" where you brake late and have a bit of brake on when you turn in. This, as stated above, pushes the weight to the front and helps them stick and encourages the back to start sliding by deloading the tyres. Never tried it myself, in most of these type of occasions the tendency is to brake too hard, lock a front wheel and go straight on.

Certainly if cornering a bike on dicey surfaces you can do a similar thing with the rear brake. If the back of the bike slides away it's recoverable with opposite lock, if the front falls away it generally isn't and rapidly becomes terminal. Braking (very) gently with the rear will ensure that the cornering attitude is right and above all else if the front starts to drop away you can stab the back brake and this will stand the bike up.

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Before messing with the setup and trying to perfect braking methods - go back to some of the earlier advice.

One of the big causes of understeer through the middle and exit of the bend is over braking (ie. entering the corner slower than needed) and then accelerating through the corner. Rather than causing the back end to step out, as would happen if the throttle is used too harshly, the acceleration of the car causes the front tyres to be pushed out wide rather than cutting the desired line through the bend. The answer is to cruise (not coast) through the corner to the apex, then when in a suitable line to the exit point, accelerate towards the exit point, using maximum width of the track (assuming that is the best line to be taken). Using this technique will quickly enable confidence to be gained to enter the corners faster.

I had exactly the same problem and had my driving fault corrected by an instructor at Anglesey - the above is pretty well a repeat of how he explained it to me. I have to hold my hands up and say the difference is remarkable *thumbup*



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I would be careful about trying anythig too extreme without first getting some instruction, that's both driving technique and car setup. For example some corners respond well to trail braking and others don't, it all depends on what follows the corner, camber of the track, grip etc. You can also quite easily get a Caterham to tend to oversteer or understeer by playing with ride heights and anti roll bar settings/thickness so how do you know if you are driving the corner properly or not?

To address the original question, your tyres will get scrubbed regardless of technique if you press the car hard, however a very common mistake with a car that is understeering is to apply more lock to correct it. The correct approach will usually be to balance the throttle and unwind the lock a little until you get the front to grip again. I say usually because under certain circumstances you may actually apply a jab of the throttle to kick the back of the car out but that should definitely be left to a later stage *smile*.

By all means spend some money having the car flat floored but this should only be to set a reference point to gauge your improvement through tuition.

I also would go as far as to say that if you are on a track day and spot a race prepped car lapping, ask the driver if he'll take you out and give you some pointers. I bet 9 out of 10 will be glad to help (I know I would!).




Better to burn away and fade out, than to burn out and fade away....



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Very much agree with Neil. Don't spend any money on setup....yet. Get some instruction or speak to another friendly seven driver that looks like he's going faster than (s)he should be given the spec of their car. I doubt that your setup will be that bad - it'll only start to matter when you really know how to drive the car, and will mean that you'll be able to push the car harder when that time comes. A graduate car on CR322s has a distinct tendency to understeer, but driven the right way, this can be avoided.


When I was a novice I used to get understeer when taking too much speed into tight corners, so I would concentrate on the "slow in, fast out" routine, with a smooth transition onto the throttle, which should stop this happening. I also wouldn't try trailbraking yet, as if you're not used to track driving, it would be easy to get the back end loose, and find yourself spinning on the entrance to the corner.

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