Those lessons saved my life, and my wife's, a couple of months ago.
I was driving the Elise through the Humboldt forest area of Northern California when some idiot in a very large truck came around a tight corner a good 3 feet or so into our lane. If I had either looked at the truck instead of the narrowing escape lane or lifted off the gas they would still be scraping bits of us off the pavement.
People have already listed the most crucial things I learned my first time out... DON'T LIFT, and LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.
I'll add a few more from Bondurant:
- Resist the urge to early apex
- Late apex the turn before the longest straight
- Brake first, then turn (not always true, but a good thing to practice)
- Learn the radii of each corner. Turn in and hold that position (don't shuffle your hands around).
- Don't lean into the turn. This isn't a motorcycle
After many years of driving low powered cars on the track (I'm an instructor, so some of my advice):
Straighten the track.
When you spin, both feet in.
If you're going off roading....go offroading.
Use the Whole track
Don't go where HE'S going
The line works for everyone
He's in a Mustang......of course he won't point you by
Other than what's been said,
look THROUGH the cars ahead of you.
Not a driving school, rather track day time at a HPDE.
SCDA's best instructor asked me at a track day last month, "What is wrong with you, aren't you the guy that used to drive the white miata?"
Replied, "I'm not sure what the limits of the Elise are"
Instructor tells me "they are f'in high, now focus!"
I vote for SCDA, though Chin Motorsports does a great job too.
Most people only look at the place they are immediately going and completely ignore the next turn or what is happening ahead of them. The further you can train yourself to look ahead, the faster and safer you will be.
Overheard being said from an SCCA instructor said to his student:
The little peddle on the right, are you pushing it all the way down?
But as Jackie Stewart said:
"The Exit of the corner is far more important than the entry to the corner, in regards to smoothness. And one of the big keys is: You never press the gas pedal, until you know you never have to take it off."
Or as Mike Pettiford said:
"A corner is made up of 4 parts: 1) The breaking point (and this is where you want to release the breaks, not apply them) 2) turn in 3) apex 4) exit. Everything you do is to maximize the exit"