For many racers, the idea and concept behind selecting a gearing ratio can be daunting. After all, the wrong gearing ratio can cost precious seconds on your lap time. Gearing can be a tricky component of your racing strategy, especially in a lot of cars where you are unable to change gear ratios. Drivers get caught up in trying to figure out which gear to use in each corner and they spend more time thinking about it than is necessary.
Which gear is best in which corner? This is probably one of the most asked questions at any track. Dion Von Moltke, professional racing driver and Co-Founder of Blayze, walks race car drivers through several tips on the best way to determine gearing for any track.
How Can You Simplify Gearing?
Is there anything more annoying than when you arrive at a corner and you are not quite sure if it should be 3rd gear or 4th gear? Do you drop it down into 3rd gear, which you know over slows the car and makes it really hard to put the power down? Or do you roll in 4th gear and just deal with the sluggish exit as you mash the throttle back to full throttle?
Both feel slow, so how do you know which one is faster? “My competition always seems to get the jump on me through the middle of this corner… What are they doing that I’m not!?”
Gears can be a powerful component for any race car driver, novice or professional. Bangshift.com asserts that analyzing the gear ratios helps to “effectively manage, multiply, or divide your power, RPM, and more.” In other words, gears can allow for more speed. And we all want more speed out on the track!
Von Moltke finds from his experience that all drivers overthink gearing and that 95% of the time “you will feel the corner when you are on the track. It will be obvious to you.” Of course, with more experience, it will take you less time to know which gear to shift into. But, having confidence in yourself, you can feel things, like gear shifting, a lot quicker than you are giving yourself credit for. Trust your gut.
How to Determine the Perfect Gear on Corners
It is important to remember that gearing will most likely be a data question.
What is my minimum speed in this corner? What is my maximum speed in the next corner? If something looks or feels off, check your RPMs. Below 3,000 RPMs is really low, the car can be almost sluggish. When you can be in 100% throttle, your car has a better ability to accelerate more quickly.
1 – The first thing you will want to do when you arrive at the track, is to take your car out for a few test laps to get comfortable and up to speed. Once you are comfortable and can start pushing, you will start to get some real data. We only want to start digging into the data once we feel like we are starting to push as a driver. If you are coming up to speed still, then your speeds will be down and the data may actually mislead you.
2 – Pay attention to data, or if you do not have data analysis, try and use reference points while driving to give you feedback. On your data, look at your RPMs, minimum speed in the corner, and the maximum speed heading into the next corner. If you do not have data, you can use something like the end of an exit curb. Look at your RPM or speed at the end of that curb to help give you a reference on if you were faster or not.
3 – Ideally you will run a few clean laps in one gear and then a few laps in the next gear within the same session to do a proper back-to-back test. This will give you relevant data on each gear to review to help figure out which gear is best.
4- When your car is right in-between gears the difference could be really small, maybe just a tenth of a second. So, when reviewing data you need an eye for the details. You also have to remember that you have to be flexible as a racecar driver. The gear that is fastest over one lap could be different than the gear you will use in traffic during your race.
Professional racing driver, Spencer Pumpelly, imparted some wise words to racing partner Von Moltke, “whatever gear feels right to me, I use.” While this is not particularly helpful, you get the idea that maybe you (and lots of other racers too) are overthinking your gearing and can trust your gut feel more.
Learn More with Blayze!
Are you looking through Youtube for videos of other drivers to see what you can learn from them? Are you guessing at what those drivers do differently than you and making assumptions on how you can find more lap time?
At Blayze we take the guesswork and hours of research out of it and give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches and drivers in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your racing video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you shave seconds off your lap time! One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.
Learn how you can improve your driving, for your car, on any track you visit today.