Squeeze!

There are many skills required to be a championship level driver.  The most significant to entry level drivers is to get on the throttle early.  Brake early, drive a late apex line, and squeeze on the throttle before apex.  Doing this will yield a higher speed at corner exit and you’ll be faster all the way to the next braking zone.

At the limit of adhesion, it is difficult to add throttle.  The car is using maximum grip to corner.  If a late apex line is used, the driver can start unwinding the steering wheel very early, typically just before apex.  As soon as the wheels start to straighten, throttle can be added and speed can be increased.

When doing this, it is absolutely crucial that the throttle be applied very smoothly (especially in a high horsepower car).  Squeeeeeeze the throttle.

Squeezing the throttle gently shifts weight to the rear wheels (the drive wheels in most sports cars and race cars) and allows the driver latitude to continue applying more throttle.  5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 50%, 75%, 100%.  Just roll on gently.  Connect the hands to the right foot.  As the hands straighten the wheel, the right foot goes down.

The greater the capabilities of the car, the more important this technique is.  A quick slap at the throttle can shock the system and has the potential to spin the tires causing a loss of grip.  A stock Miata is much more forgiving about abrupt throttle movements than a Viper, however it is no less important to be on the throttle early in the Viper!  The driver squeezing the throttle earlier (in equal equipment) will find an easy pass at the end of the straight.

If it isn’t a reflex, add this to your skill set.  I consider it a prerequisite to winning.  A champion isn’t made with this one technique.  This will move you forward on the grid and in the results, that’s true.  Remember:  All the fast guys are doing it, but it isn’t all the fast guys are doing.

One thought on “Squeeze!

  1. Nice article – IMO it’s where a miata really “teaches” the driver…poor driving skills are hard to hide in a miata; if you’re late on the gas, it has a much larger effect than other more powerful cars.

    the one caveat I’ve found to this “smooth throttle application” is during Common Car (where a single automatic car is used for all of the drivers); we’ve found that slapping the throttle on corner exit helps to trick the automatic transmission into downshifting, thus getting on the power early. Since most of the common cars are low powered and softly sprung, the disruption to the tires traction is minimized.

    *great to see more ppl writing on here…I usually browse the site during my bus rides to/from work – keep up the good work guys!

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