Sale ends todayGet 30% off any course (excluding packages)

Ends in --- --- ---

Race Driving Fundamentals: Understanding the Apex

Watch This Course

$99 USD $49.50 USD

Or 8 easy payments of only $6.19 Instant access. Easy checkout. No fees. Learn more
Course Access for Life
60 day money back guarantee

Understanding the Apex


00:00 - In the previous sections of the course we've learned how the car reacts as it travels around the racetrack and we've covered the driving techniques you're going to need to master for braking and cornering.
00:10 In this section we're going to learn where you should be positioning the car on the racetrack or in other words driving lines.
00:17 We're going to start by discussing arguably one of the most critical elements of cornering, the apex.
00:24 We'll also learn how the location of the apex can be manipulated to suit the specifics of the track and what all of that means to us as a driver.
00:34 First let's be clear, there's no such thing as a generic apex point that is perfect for every type of corner.
00:41 We often hear drivers make reference to the racing line and that's simply a line through a corner that offers the largest radius arc which in turn minimises how tightly we need to turn the steering and should therefore allow us to carry the most speed.
00:56 While this looks good on paper as the fastest way through the corner, it's not always going to be ideal.
01:02 This is because there's nearly always going to be something else influencing the best line through a corner, usually that'll be whatever is following the corner, be it a straight or another corner.
01:12 With that said, there are some general rules that we should keep in mind.
01:16 If we're considering the theoretical perfect or geometric line through a corner, then the apex is going to be the slowest point of the corner because this is where you're generating the most lateral cornering force from the car and you're turning the tightest.
01:30 This isn't always going to hold true though, if we make the decision to use a different line through the corner.
01:36 So let's look at exactly what happens when we stray from the "perfect" geometric line.
01:42 And why we might want to do so in some situations.
01:45 Keep in mind that experimenting with a line through any corner is a normal part of racing and something you should always be considering in order to try and extract more speed.
01:56 So here's our corner and here's our geometric line.
02:00 Let's take a second to talk about exactly what that is first.
02:04 Sometimes called the perfect line, this is the line that uses all of the available track width on the entry and exit in order to provide the largest turn radius at the apex.
02:15 This line places the apex in the geometric centre of the corner.
02:19 If we look at a single corner like this in isolation, this would be the fastest way through it, or to put it another way, all things being equal, this line will allow maximum speed as we clip the corner apex.
02:32 Let's look at a couple of different lines through the same corner though and see how these will affect our cornering performance.
02:40 For a start, let's say we've turned in early.
02:43 As you can see, when we turn in early the car very little rotation by the apex point and that means we're exiting the corner still pointed towards the outside of the track where we'll quickly run out of road and have to wait for longer to get back to full throttle or worst case get on the brakes to stay on the circuit.
03:00 So why would we ever want to do this intentionally? As always it comes back to the exit and what follows our corner on track.
03:09 For example if we transform our test corner into a trickier double apex you can see how an early turn in is going to allow us to carry more speed through the initial part of the corner and let the car run out wide.
03:22 It's at this point we need to rotate the car, this being the slowerst part of the corner, then begin to accelerate back down to the second apex, giving is the straightest possible exit to allow us to get back to full throttle sooner which results in more speed down the next straight.
03:40 When we compare this to the geometric line we end up with a sharper turn in the middle of the corner which also means a lower minimum speed.
03:48 But this allows the car to rotate more and means we're back on the throttle harder and earlier so the time lost in the middle rotating the car is outweighed by the exit speed gained.
03:58 This is often referred to as a diamond race line.
04:02 Apexing too early is something you'll commonly find novice drivers doing simply because it feels natural to turn in earlier than they actually should and it takes a little more courage to wait and turn in on the optimal line.
04:15 With that covered, let's talk about a late apex which more often than not is actually going to work out to be the fastest line.
04:23 So let's start by looking back at our test corner.
04:26 Here's the geometric line once again.
04:29 When we compare the late apex line to the geometric line, we can see the apex is further around the corner.
04:35 This means that the car will need to turn through a tighter radius to reach the apex meaning that the minimum cornering speed will be a little bit lower than if we follow the geometric line.
04:45 To follow this line we're going to have to turn in slightly later and slow the car up a little more.
04:51 You'll notice that we're also a little higher in the corner initially than the geometric line.
04:55 So far none of this is really sounding like much of an advantage but by doing this it opens up the radius from the apex to the corner exit.
05:05 Essentially we're getting a straighter shot from the apex to the exit which allows us to get back on the throttle much earlier.
05:11 This can easily allow us to hold perhaps 2-3 km/h more speed at the corner exit and this is an advantage that we'll benefit from the entire way up the next straight.
05:23 What this also means is that we stand to gain more from a late apex line when the corner leads onto a long straight.
05:30 Looking at the comparison between our two lines the difference looks quite considerable but in reality these may often be subtle changes when we're actually on track.
05:39 So now we understand the late apex, the next question is how do we know if we've taken it too far, making the apex too late? This is something that's going to require you to test as every corner is different and you'll need to experiment to find what particular line works best for a given complex of corners.
05:58 In general though, if you feel like there's no real need to run the car all the way to the outside of the circuit on corner exit, your apex is likely a little late.
06:08 When you get your line just right, you should be on the limit of grip and feel like you have no choice but to let the car run all the way to the outside of the track using all of the available track.
06:19 For clarity's sake this is also a symptom of having over slowed the car too much so if you find yourself nowhere near the limit at the exit, pay attention to what the car was doing at the apex and whether it was on the limit there.
06:32 This will allow you to decide if it's a line issue or an overslowing issue.
06:37 On the other hand if you feel like you're running out of road at the corner exit, and you're needing to hold a lot of steering lock and can't get back on the throttle, your apex point is most likely too early.
06:49 Apexes are generally something that aren't too hard to discover on track but if you find you're really struggling with a particular corner, you can always stop, regroup and take a walk over to the corner and have a good look from different angles.
07:03 Sometimes it can be very helpful to look at the most used or most rubbered up part of the curb.
07:08 It'll lead you in the right direction but just be mindful that it won't immediately answer all of your questions because there are so many variables.
07:17 If going track side for a closer look isn't possible or still isn't helping then watching some onboard footage of a professional driver attacking that corner can help identify where you're going wrong.
07:29 We're going to talk more about using onboard video as a tool soon but for now just understand that identifying and nailing apexes is something that's going to take some trail and error as you dial in your lines lap after lap.
07:43 With that said, the more experienced we become as drivers, the more this is just going to become second nature and soon you'll be finding yourself locating the perfect apex with barely any thought after only a handful of laps on a new circuit.
07:57 This has been quite an in depth module and there is a lot to take in but the key takeaways worth revisiting here are that there's no such thing as a generic apex point.
08:05 Every corner is unique and there's more to a corner than the perfect race line.
08:11 What comes before and after the corner influences how an apex should be treated.
08:16 Getting an apex right requires testing of different approaches to each corner as no two are exactly alike.
08:23 By methodically trying different turn in points and lines during practice we can work out what's going to be the quickest and most efficient way to negotiate each corner of the circuit.

We usually reply within 12hrs (often sooner)

Need Help?

Need help choosing a course?

Experiencing website difficulties?

Or need to contact us for any other reason?