April 11, 2023

How To Prevent Locking Up Front Tires in a Brake Zone

Blayze | Ricky Taylor

Ricky Taylor

Car Racing

How To Prevent Locking Up Front Tires in a Brake Zone Image

 

Hey racers, it's Ricky Taylor here! Today, I want to talk about a fairly common issue we face as drivers on track: front tire locking (or being heavy into the ABS at turn in if you have ABS). This can lead to understeer, especially during corner entry, and can greatly impact your performance on the track. I'll be sharing some valuable insights into understanding and identifying front tire locking, along with actionable tips to help you make the necessary setup and driving changes to prevent it.
Let's dive in!
 
Understanding Tire Locking and Identifying It While Driving
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of preventing front tire locking, it's essential to understand what's happening when it occurs. Front tire locking is when the inside front tire loses traction during braking and corner entry, which can cause understeer. Understeer happens when the front tires lose grip, and the car doesn't respond as quickly or effectively to steering inputs.
 
Knowing when your front tire is locking up is crucial to preventing understeer and maintaining control. Some signs of tire locking include a sudden decrease in grip, a screeching noise from the tires, or vibrations in the steering wheel. If you notice any of these signs, it's time to take immediate action by easing off the brakes or making adjustments to regain control.
 
Now that we have a better understanding of front tire locking and how to identify it let's discuss the three key setup and driving changes you can make to prevent it.

  1. Adjusting Your Brake Bias

One of the first things you can do to prevent front tire locking is to adjust your brake bias. Moving the brake bias towards the rear can help with understeer, as it allows the rear end to rotate more effectively. When you're experiencing inside front locking, try shifting your brake bias rearward and see how it affects your car's handling. Keep experimenting until you find the right balance for your car and track conditions.
 
A lot of drivers are far too resistant to play around and change their bias.  Have confidence in your feel of the car and experiment with that bias.

  1. Fine-Tuning Your Camber Settings

Camber adjustments can also make a significant difference in preventing front tire locking and improving grip. Play around with different camber settings to find the optimal configuration for your car. Remember that each car and track is unique, so don't be afraid to experiment and make adjustments based on your specific needs and driving style.
 
Often times too much negative camber can cause braking instability or lock-ups.

  1. Modifying Your Braking Technique

Your braking technique plays a significant role in preventing front tire locking. Practice smooth and progressive braking, rather than abrupt, aggressive inputs. Gradually increase brake pressure as you approach the corner and ease off as you turn in. This will help maintain the balance between front and rear grip and minimize the chances of tire locking.
 
Tires are more likely to lock later in the braking zone where the car is going slower and when the inside front tire is unloaded from turning into the corner.  If you struggle with your technique and add brake pressure too late in the brake zone you will likely have more lock-ups or worse ABS issues.
 
Remember, preventing front tire locking is all about understanding the factors that contribute to it and making the right adjustments to your car and driving technique. With practice and patience, you'll soon master the art of preventing front tire locking and improve your performance on the track.

 

 

Blayze | Ricky Taylor

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About the coach

Blayze | Ricky Taylor

Ricky Taylor

IMSA DPi Champion

Car Racing

My name is Ricky Taylor. I grew up in a racing family with my Dad and my brother who are very much involved together in the sport. I have been professionally involved in Sportscar racing since 2012, but started my career in karts in 2002. I have a passion racing and studying what makes people fast. The racecar doesn't do anything without a driver's inputs, so studying driving styles to work with the particular racecar is something I have always found interesting.

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