Taxonomy of Suckage: LTO

The next series of posts are called the Taxonomy of Suckage. In my opinion, race incidents have 3 main factors: lack of driving skill, lack of awareness, and unstable mental state. Let’s give each of these a TLA (three letter acronym) for reference later. As we will see, incidents are often the result of multiple sources.

LTD – Learn To Drive. The problem was caused because the driver doesn’t have the skill or experience to avoid the incident.

EWO – Eyes Wide Open. The problem was caused because the driver didn’t recognize the problem as it was developing.

DWE – Driving While Emotional. This can take the form of being either scared, confused, or in a berserker rage of red mist.

LTO – Our first TLA in the YSAR ToS is LTO for Lift Throttle Oversteer. In the hands of an experienced racing driver LTO can be used to combat understeer or to point a car to a later apex. It’s like braking, but more gentle. It’s a useful part of a driver’s toolbox. But, like a hammer, a neophyte can injure themselves (and others) when LTO isn’t used properly.

EWO – Most LTO incidents occur when the driver suddenly slows down mid-corner. Why would they do this? Partly because they aren’t looking far enough ahead. An experienced driver predicts the situation before it happens. An inexperienced driver only sees the pavement directly in front of the car and is therefore easily surprised.

DWE – The novice driver may experience panic or confusion when suddenly presented with an unusual situation (for example a spun car in front of them). In response, they lift off the throttle as a automatic response. If this occurs in a corner, the car oversteers and may spin.

LTD – The proper response to lifting off throttle is to open the steering wheel (countersteer). This should be as automatic as breathing. If you have to think about it, it’s too late. If countersteering isn’t in your muscle memory, you might consider simulation training (see the How To link above). It’s much cheaper to crash virtual cars than real ones.

LTO is more prone to occur in FWD cars because the rear is light and therefore has less grip. In the clip below, the driver is startled by going two wheels off just as he initiates a left turn. He cuts throttle which causes the car to oversteer aggressively. While he doesn’t spin, his recovery puts him in a dangerous position: stopped in the middle of the track.

 

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