The next 9 days are somewhat pivotal in the history of the health of the US. We haven’t faced a pandemic in 100 years, and the exponential spread of COVID-19 is very concerning. Lots of events are being cancelled from the local schools to the NBA. During this time of social distancing, one activity that is seeing a surge in popularity is sim racing. So I thought I would do a short series of daily posts on sim racing as we buckle down and survive these next 9 days (or whatever it is).
Getting fucked in the apex
Corners are sort of like the Thunderdome: two men enter, one man leaves. Except it’s cars, and sometimes neither one leaves. The single most common source of sim racing incidents is contact just before the apex of the corner. There are two principle causes.
- The driver in front turns into the corner only to find it partially occupied by a vehicle driving up the inside
- The driver in the rear brakes too late and hits the driver in front (aka punt)
There are competition rules that say who is at fault in these situations, and it depends on the positions of the cars going into the corner. Let’s not review those because the rules of survival are much more important.
If you’re the trailing driver, don’t attempt to pass on the inside of a corner. The driver in front may turn in on you. Alternatively, you may misjudge your braking and hit the other car. Really, nothing good can come of trying to pass on the inside of a corner. Sure, it may work out a few times, but that’s only going to reinforce a bad habit. You need to set up your passes BEFORE the corner entry. Present yourself door-to-door in the braking zone.
If you’re the lead driver, you have to ask yourself a few questions on the way into a corner.
- Do I know the capabilities of the vehicle behind me?
- Do I know the driving habits of the driver behind me?
- Do I entrust the safety of my race to the driver behind me?
- Is the driver far enough behind me that they can’t intentionally hit me?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then you probably have no business driving the “racing line” around the track. Setting up on the outside of a corner is an invitation to getting fucked in the apex. Stop doing it. Take a more defensive line. Yes, you’ll end up going a little slower, but as the lead driver, you set the pace. Even if you line up in the middle of the track, you can still track out just as far after the apex, and that’s where speed is generated.
Tomorrow: racing gods don’t give a shit