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Motorsport Wheel Alignment: Driver-Induced Handling Issues

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Driver-Induced Handling Issues

02.52

00:00 - One of the aspects that makes our job a little more difficult when it comes to diagnosing handling issues is that in many instances, the way we drive the car can actually cause these issues in the first place.
00:11 What I mean by this is that if we leave our braking too late and try to turn into a corner while we're still braking heavily or carrying too much speed, the car simply won't be able to turn.
00:22 The grip available from the front tyres is going to predominantly be used to slow the car down, so very little grip will be left over to help turn into the corner.
00:30 Now if we aren't aware of this, it can end up with us thinking that the car turns in horribly, suffering from tragic corner entry understeer.
00:39 The reality is that we're simply asking for too much from the front tyres and no setup change is going to fix this problem.
00:46 Likewise, if we're a little too enthusiastic with throttle application at the exit of the corner, this can easily lead to the car snapping into oversteer if it's a rear wheel driver or understeering towards the outside of the corner if it's a front wheel drive.
01:00 Now there may well be changes that we can make that will improve the corner exit, but if we have a powerful car that can overcome the available traction, alignment alone is not going to help us.
01:11 So when we're analysing the way the car is handling, we really need to start by analysing our own driving and making sure that we're not the problem.
01:20 Of course for a novice or even a semi experienced driver, this isn't always that easy.
01:26 After all, if we knew what we were doing wrong, then we'd probably be looking for a career in F1.
01:32 This is where driver coaching is a very powerful tool and one that's available at just about every racetrack.
01:38 There's a couple of ways we can use a professional coach to help us with our driving as well as to understand what the car is doing.
01:45 The first is to have the coach sit alongside you for a few laps and analyse your driving style.
01:51 Almost immediately they'll be able to tell you if you've got any fundamental issues with your driving that are adversely affecting the handling of the car.
01:59 The other powerful way of using a driving coach is to have them set a benchmark lap in your own car.
02:04 This is really only useful if you have a basic datalogger that offers the ability to overlay this benchmark lap with your own but fortunately these systems are now getting to be affordable and they will easily pay for themselves with the improvements that they'll unlock.
02:20 While it might be a little demoralising to find out that the pro driver just slashed two seconds off what you thought was a lap that even the late Ayrton Senna would have struggled to match, the good news is that the data will now show you exactly where you're losing time or in other words, where you can go faster.