In this article we’re going to continue on the recent theme of throttle application at corner exits.
We’ve covered what an apex means to you and how hitting it benefits your exit, where the most important exits are, and how you can set yourself up to begin managing and testing traction limits at corner exits.
In the managing traction article I mentioned the ever more popular phrase…
“It’s not who gets back to the gas first. It’s who gets back to FULL gas first.”
It was a phrase I first saw documented by Simon Crafar in his popular training material, and one that was a bit of a lightbulb moment for many riders.
As with many aspects of riding, having the means to measure something to conclusively know if you’re improving is always going to be better than having none.
For example, I’ve spoke before about the ‘brakes off’ drill, where you can monitor where you get off the brakes to know for sure whether or not you’re taking more speed into the corners.
This is something that we can also do with the throttle to really begin to produce solid evidence on whether or not we’re improving at corner exits with our throttle application.
But first you need to be in a position to be able to do that.
If you haven’t already, go back and have a read of my Managing Traction article.
While the main point in that article is about how you can begin testing the amount of throttle you use at the exit, it also features some tips on putting yourself in the best position to be able to do that.
By that I mean putting yourself in the position where the only thing you need to think about is feeling for what traction is doing at the exit of a corner, by having everything else sorted to free up your attention.
If other things are taking up a lot of your attention at corner exit, you’re simply not going to be able to properly monitor what you’re doing at that time.
Pick one corner where you think it is most important to get good drive. Typically, this will be a corner that follows onto a long straight.
On the next time you pass through that corner, assuming you’re able to reach full throttle down the following straight, see if you can note the point at which you reach the stop and the throttle is wide open.
Rather than picking a rough spot, see if you can find a good reference of where you were able to reach full throttle.
Now, by following the tips on putting yourself in the position of being able to focus solely on traction, have a go at getting to full gas before you reach the point you found on the previous lap/session.
It may be that you feel you are absolutely maxed out with how aggressive you can be with the throttle.
If this is truly the case, well done my friend, you’re probably monstering everyone else around you at track day level.
However, what will often be the case is that your line and approach to the corner is what’s holding you back.
For example, if you’re already finding yourself way out on the rumble strips at the exit, trying to roll on harder and get to the stop sooner could well send you off the track.
Ask yourself whether you could alter your line to open up the exit a little more. You would do this by running a little deeper into the corner and steering a little later to square the corner off, allowing you to be more aggressive with the throttle.
If you try this and note that you can indeed get back to FULL gas earlier, you’re likely gaining time.
You could try and square the corner off more and more to improve the point at which you can get back to full gas, but eventually you will have to make a compromise.
If you’re running very deep into the corner, slowing down enough to turn very sharp and square the corner off, eventually you’re going to start losing too much time on the entrance for the gains in exit drive to be worth it.
I have noted this on a number of corners where I was trying too hard to square corners off, and as a result I was losing a lot of time to the guys in front of me early in the corner and not making it back at the exit.
It’s worth keeping this in mind as you move forward with your exit routine efforts.
As I found early on in my track day life, just by being more aware and deliberate with my line and throttle efforts, I was already starting to see greater results than those around me.
However, because I was getting good drive compared to the others, for a time it made me sit back and rest on my laurels, thinking I was already doing ok.
But once I twigged that getting back to FULL gas earlier is just as important, I started noting where I could work to improve it and possibly get back earlier.
Once again, being aware of what you’re doing and the results you’re getting comes from leaving yourself the mental capacity to be note what’s happening.
Take a session or two and focus on one corner where earlier throttle application is important.
Start testing to see if you get back to full gas sooner. If you can, you’ll soon start to see sizeable gains over those around you.
Photo by Paul’s Imaging Photography