6 Areas of Focus for Better Racecraft Techniques
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Putting yourself in the right place at the right time is what racing is all about, but as we all know this is easier said than done.
Each race plays out in different ways. Racecraft is learned through experience, building up that confidence and focus to make those perfectly timed moves, instinctively. Here are some tips and knowledge that I’ve acquired through my time racing.
1. Getting a Clean Start
Races are not won in the first corner; this is a classic term, but it will always hold true. At the
start of any race it’s best to settle in and focus on taking advantage of any mistakes. There will be opportunities to set yourself with the leaders or maintain a strong qualifying position; those should be the main goals at the start, without being overly aggressive.
2. Manage Equipment
To finish first, you first must finish; If a driver wants to fight through the entire race, a driver must take care of the equipment. Each car, track and tire combination is different. Some will allow more than others, but it’s important to know how to be efficient with the equipment and manage the car during a race. Most races are won in the latter stages, but you need a fresh car to take advantage.
Thinking of the big picture; Early in a race it’s best to focus on making high percentage passes. By making a pass that is efficient, you lose less time and momentum. When a pass is completed without a significant time loss, you’re able to maintain a gap to any groups of cars behind you and not lose any time on the next car ahead. By completing these passes you also save and protect the car for any aggressive moves you may need to make later in the race.
4. Knowing Your Competition
Where they are weak, where you are strong; Once you have positioned yourself, everyone will begin to settle in for the race to finish. During this time, it’s good to size up the cars you’re racing against. What corners do they seem better through? Where do you gain time on them? Who are the drivers you are with? How does your car handle compared to theirs? Can you learn from what they are doing? These are all question to ask yourself, as you begin to size up where and when would be the right time to set up passes.
5. Having Confidence & Focus
Putting the whole race together; The end of the race, this is what it’s all about. One thing to remember is to not get too excited, I’ve seen many drivers throw away good finishes or even race wins because they get too caught up in the moment and are not focusing on driving clean laps. Have confidence under pressure comes from having confidence in yourself and ability. This is the time to be aggressive, what you saved in the car you can use up, it’s time to show what you can do. Focus on quick moves where the drivers behind you have less time to respond.
6. Learning from Mistakes
The learning process never is complete; Once the race is over a helpful tool to learn what you did right and wrong is video. Reviewing in-car video is an important part of becoming a better racer. I find it helpful to jot down a note from each turning point of the race. There are always a few moments where the race took a turn either for or against you. Study these moments and see how they can be applied into future races. Remember, always try to learn something from each race, that way you can continue to evolve into a better, more well-rounded racer.