F is for Full Throttle

You know that corner where everyone says they go flat out but you find it hard to do? The high speed kink… the bump at the apex… the blind exit…. the downhill left…

Almost every track has some corner that requires more courage than skill (at least initially). Often, that corner is one where you’re supposed to be at full throttle. But why are you supposed to do that if it feels unsafe? The grip and therefore steering of a car depend on how much weight is on each wheel. Some corners require weight transfer to the rear. Take a downhill corner, for example. The rear is light because of the pitch of the car. As a result, the car wants to oversteer. To prevent that, you have to add weight to the rear by adding throttle. But adding too much could see you going too fast… and the flip side of adding throttle is taking it away. In some corners, you really don’t want to take away throttle because it shifts weight to the front and reduces grip to the rear. If you reduce throttle in a high-speed corner, you could scare the crap out of yourself as you suddenly lose traction and experience trailing-throttle oversteer (TTO).

So what do you do about these full-throttle nail-biters? Slow down early and then add throttle through the turn. The worst thing you can do is believe the hype, go full throttle at the entry, and try to remove speed mid-corner. FWD cars naturally have less weight in the rear, so they are prone to TTO. But cars with a lot of weight in the rear can also experience TTO, and when it happens, it really happens.

This looks like a novice driver who panicked and lifted mid-corner when passed at high speed. The car is a Honda del Sol with 61/39 weight distribution.

Here’s a RR layout VW that rotates very quickly after lifting mid-corner.

Remember, full throttle through the corner doesn’t mean you have to be full throttle before the corner.

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