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Alright, first off excuse my ignorance as I've only done a handful of track days. My question deals with braking. From what I've read and seen I know you have to be smooth with the brakes and not just slam on them. At my last outing my instructor recommended that when I get into the braking zone that I immediately (but still smoothly) get on the brakes to where I'm threshold braking and then get a little off the brakes so that I'll still have some in reserve if I need it. Prior to this there were a few times I would ease into the brakes but by the end of the zone I'd be maxed out (got me a couple of times where I just had to go straight since I had cooked it going into the turn). Anyways I was just wondering what you guys think. As a caveat I'm not trying to set any records, I just like having fun with my car and would like to refine my techniques. Thanks guys.
 

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You always want to do all your hard braking first and then come off of them smoothly before turn in. Problem is when you try and do all of your braking late you generally tend to over brake and scrub to much speed. This will result in slower lap times.

As you get more advanced you will turn that straight line braking into trail braking. This is where your carrying some of your breaking into the corner shifting weight to your front tires to get some extra grip on turn in.

Key is last minute braking will generally result in slower lap times as you will either over brake or not brake enough and blow your turn in or end up driving off track.
 

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Slightly off your question, but I'd point out that how you come OFF the brakes is as important as how you get ON them, particularly as you start to carry some braking into a corner (i.e., as you start to experiment with trail braking). A lof of instructors only focus on the first, not the second, and I often have students who just "pop" off the brakes, which can cause the front end to push and throw off your transition back to throttle. Good question. Have fun. Be safe.

Twin
 

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And I'll finish off this thread (maybe?) with this thought:

Change your thinking about corners from 'How late/hard can I brake?' to 'How soon can I get back to full throttle?' and your laps times will drop much faster than if you focus on braking.

:)
 

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And I'll finish off this thread (maybe?) with this thought:

Change your thinking about corners from 'How late/hard can I brake?' to 'How soon can I get back to full throttle?' and your laps times will drop much faster than if you focus on braking.

:)
Rich is definitely spot-on. Especially with cars that are rear weighted, it's more important to get that weight to the back so you can accelerate and pin the tail down for a big exit than diving deep into the turns.

Steve
 

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Sorry to hijack here, but something else I would like to know is that with these cars is it important not to break in the turn and to break before the turn? Would this mean approaching the turn you break, then foot off the break in the begining of the turn, then throttle through the rest of the turn to the exit?
 

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typically, i am rolling onto throttle at turn in, trying to balance max. throttle from apex to flat out progessivly to track out.

typically i do all my braking in a stright line

i am not very smart, so i have to keep things simple!
 

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A couple of observations

- Be Smooth both on and off the brakes. Smooth transitions allow you to come closer to the limit without pushing over.

- Try to carry as much speed through the corner as possible. This means braking late may not be the best approach. In cars with questionable power, corner exit speed is much more important.

- Snap oversteer is bad. Be safe.
 

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I think it's important to differentiate types of corners here. In some corners, like long sweepers, there's no way to carry more speed in mid-corner, so there IS gain to dive-bombing into the corner under hard trail braking with the braking reserved until the last possible second (if you look at GPS-based datalogs, braking is actually hugely time-consuming).

Moreover, using the brakes to shift weight forward on turn in (i.e., trail braking) is a good way of taking advantage of the bits of understeer built into the Lotus suspension (trust me when I say that nobody really wants a car that's "fully neutral" -- as that takes away your margin for error), so the general objective is not to get your braking done "as soon as possible" but "as soon as it makes sense in terms of getting the car rotated" as you enter mid-corner. In some corners -- such as those where my speeds are limited by virtue of what happens after the apex (say, because of a decreasing radius or funky camber) -- I actually try to stay on the brakes the entire way to the apex, as that permits me to carry more speed up until the point where I transition to throttle. Turn 7 at PIR is a good example.

That said, I do not disagree with the general advice being given here, but there are some nuances that mean that the rules are only right when, well, the data proves them to be valid. Most of the time, the rules are right, but there are circumstances where particular corners require different strategies for going faster.

Twin
 
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