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Cornering Techniques

Race Driving Fundamentals

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Discussion and questions related to the course Race Driving Fundamentals

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Good afternoon,

I am currently going through the Race Driving Fundamental modules and I see there is a constant theme when you guys talk about cornering, of being smooth on the throttle and getting the right timing with your throttle application on corner exit. I'm curious to see what you guys think of Senna's cornering technique, of constantly blipping the throttle while going through the corner. Is it a good technique that can be applied in todays racing or is it a technique that was good for Senna's time and that generation of F1 cars? Is it better suited for certain drivetrains, ex: FF, FR, MR, 4WD?

Thank you so much!

It's been a very long time since he and Ratzenberg (ap?) were killed, and I can't recall mention of it at the time, but my thoughts, which may be very inaccurate...

Senna was an extremely skilled driver and he may have developed that technique to help feel the balance of the car, if it was the early turbo era - like I said, can't recall too much of those days - it may have helped keep the turbo' spinning and reduce lag when power was actually required, it may have been a habit he developed, are you sure it wasn't just a blip on downshifts, again, I can't recall if it was still a three pedal right foot braking time or if left foot braking was being used with a hand clutch, it may have been to counter a rear brake bias that he wasn't able to adjust out (had to do that on some road vehicles), or other reasons that don't immediately come to mind.

There are times one may wish, or need, to deliberately unsettle the vehicle but that's usually to cover up some other problem, and the smooth but quick transition is still normally the best option.

Senna was driving a perfectly balanced car through sweeping bends, where you can steer the car with the throttle. I've just gone through his book "Principles of Race Driving, looking for a reference to that technique, and the closest I come is where he refers to "understeer is controlled by the throttle". He is referring to the front / rear balance change that comes from more acceleration.

Scott Mansell on his Driver61 YouTube channel has done some analysis of this that I found informative.


Thank you guys for the responses! I'll check out those videos. Also didn't know he wrote a book, I have to check that out as well.

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