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Race Driving Fundamentals: Track Walk

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Track Walk


00:00 - A track walk is something that's often overlooked at the amateur level of motorsport but it's something a driver rarely misses at the professional level which should tell us something.
00:10 The walk is a key component of any race weekend, it's not only a good time to pick up key learnings about a circuit that aren't obvious on the video but it's also the perfect opportunity to chat with whoever else we're working with on the team, whether it's our engineer, a team mate or just a mate who's swinging on the spanners for the weekend.
00:27 The things that end up getting discussed on a track walk will usually end up being key focus areas to improve on over a race day so it's just a great time to get everyone on the same page.
00:38 Now that we have an understand of why we walk the track, let's discuss what we're actually looking for when we're out there.
00:45 The most common points of interest will inevitably be things that we aren't able to pick up on by watching onboard video footage.
00:52 This could be subtle surface changes, curbs that we should be avoiding or minor camber differentiations that we just don't notice in the car.
01:01 Even if we've run 100s of laps on a circuit before, a good track walk can reveal a long list of things that are worth spending time on.
01:09 It's all well and good doing a track walk and mentally noting these things but by the time we get back to the pits and start focusing on getting out in the car, it's very easy to forget everything that we just picked up.
01:21 This is why it's always important to take a clipboard and a track map on the walk.
01:25 It can be used to note down everything we've picked up so we can refer back to the notes as the day goes on.
01:31 When we next return to the track, these track map notes can definitely be a useful resource to pull back out but just remember that tracks do change and there's a reason that a track walk is recommended before each race meeting, even if we've driven here plenty of times in the past.
01:48 Some tracks are maintained to a high level for example which might mean new curbs or fresh surfaces in some corners.
01:54 Or it could be the complete opposite.
01:57 Maybe we haven't been to the track for 6 months and that little bump on a high speed corner is now a big bump.
02:03 Maybe a curb that we used to use has been dug out behind meaning that it needs to be avoided so that we don't damage the car.
02:10 These changes often mean that the way we drive the corner also needs to change.
02:14 Even if there's no option to change our approach, we're now still aware that the particular track change may upset the car's balance and we know exactly what will be causing it.
02:24 Depending on how we correct our driving or the car's setup to adapt to the changes, we're at the very least already ahead of most knowing that it's the track conditions that have changed and not scratching our head wondering what's wrong with the car or our driving.
02:38 Just remember that while track walks are a great tool, they're not always possible, especially at club level so this is why studying onboard video and visualisation should always be the first port of call, with the track walk being a very useful cherry on top.
02:53 To summarise this module, the track walk is an extremely useful tool that should be used before each race meeting when possible.
02:59 Even if you've been to the circuit many times before, things may have changed since you last attended so it pays to get out there with a track map in hand and note down any key points of interest that you just might not notice behind the wheel or while watching onboard footage.

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