In this edition of our skills in 60 seconds we are joined by the great, Ricky Taylor!
In a lot of racing schools, HPDE classrooms, etc. there is often a conversation of the "perfect braking technique". A lot of us have seen a visualization of what this looks like when the instructor draws it on the white board. It has the big spike of initial brake pressure and then a nice trail off all the way down to zero - it sort of looks like a shark fin.
Is this actually correct? Is there a perfect braking technique?
Ricky Taylor knows there isn't! After a decade of pro racing and driving alongside some of the world's best drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya or Helio Castroneves, Ricky has been able to study their techniques and data.
What he was able to find may shock you.
Often times he would find them doing things that we are especially told NOT to do. Starting your brake zone while still accelerating?? What the heck?
The sport of racing is one with many variables and sometimes you have to be willing to try things that seem crazy to experiment at the limit.
Will that shark fine brake trace be a good approach in most brake zones? Yes, absolutely. But, it's crucial to know that there are exceptions to the rules and occasionally we will have to adapt.
We might be adapting because of certain charecteristics of a track, we might be adapting based on what our car is doing, or we might adapt based on conditions but we have to have a clear understanding of why we're doing what we are doing.
Juan Pablo adapted in turn 7 brake zone because he needed to have less dive in his car in the brake zone. In that very next brake zone he was back to good, clean fundamentals in his brake zone. So, as we start to develop the understanding of how to adapt as drivers we always need to have an understanding of good fundamentals and why we are doing what we are doing.
Without fundamentals this adaption can quickly turn into bad habits.
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