It is inevitable, in almost any motorsport race a driver or rider will encounter a corner. Depending on the individual corner of a race track, your racing line, braking, the entire method of racing may need to change. The terminology in racing can be a bit confusing at times, especially if you are new to the sport of racing. At Blayze, we want to help grow amateur motorsports and help assist drives in their education of the sport.
Follow along as Blazye professional race coaches take you through the 5 reference points of a corner. This tutorial will focus on Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California. As no two corners from any circuit are the same, the reference points we discuss below still apply to all corners on any race track.
What Are The 5 Reference Points of Every Corner?
As we discussed, every corner is made up of the same reference points, but each corner may be entered or exited differently depending on road conditions, speed, and angle of the corner. An important note here is that some of these reference points will be fixed in each corner, and some will have subtle changes.
- Exit Apex
- Entry Apex
- Slowest Point of The Corner
- Turn In Point
- Initial Brake Application Spot
A couple important things to note. Notice how they are listed backwards from the usual order of how we enter a corner? That’s absolutely on purpose. How and where we exit determines how we enter the corner.
The first 3 of our 5 reference points are what we call "fixed" reference points, meaning they never change.
The turn in point and initial brake application reference points are adjustable. We will absolutely have a reference for each one but depending on your vehicle, the weather conditions, tire conditions, fuel load, etc. they are references that drivers and riders need to make adjustments on.
How Do I Find My Fixed Reference Points?
We will use an example from pro racer Ken Hill. Ken makes an interesting note here as he shows us how he finds his reference points at turn 14 of Thunderhill Raceway. He likes to start first at the end of the corner and works his way backward. It is not as confusing as you might think.
To find our entry apex, we must first find our exit apex. The apex is the point in the corner where your vehicle will come closest to the edge or wall. Everything stems from first determining where we want our car or bike to end up at the corner exit. So, by first determining where our exit apex is and the angle of the vehicle we want at that apex. We can then easily find our entry apex.
If you have watched any other videos from the team at Blayze in regard to how to learn a race track this will be very familiar to you.
How Do I Find My Adjustable Reference Points?
In most corners, we will look for geographic landmarks close to the edge or on the track itself that are close to where we want to attack the brakes or start our turn in. This is one reason why focused vision is essential while racing.
The important thing here is to remain flexible. If we identify the 400 board as our brake zone, it doesn't mean we want to exclusively brake at the 400 board. We use that board as a reference point, not as a line we absolutely must brake at.
To get a better understanding of the importance of vision on the race track, click here!!
As our tires wear, we might need to brake earlier, as the grip increases, we may be able to brake deeper. The same is true for our turn in point, or entry position of a corner. It may fluctuate a small amount but finding that reference point allows us to be much more consistent in our actions on track. Again, flexibility is the key!
Why Are Reference Points So Important?
Reference points are important because these are the things we should be looking for! Finding reference points in each corner gives your eyes a specific path to follow so that they are always "up."
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By giving your eyes something to focus on in each specific phase of the corner it naturally helps you focus on the correct things. If you are focused on the corner exit right as you turn in, you aren't going to have a very good entry.
As you work on this you will find you will likely need to spend more time on each reference point in each corner.
Corners can also be separated into three different categories:
- Before a short straight
- Before a long straight
- Sequence of corners (directly before another corner)
No matter the type of corner you enter, you will still follow the same five reference points.
As you identify these reference points, it helps to write them down so you can understand the track and get faster. The more reference points you identify, the more beneficial to your driving and make you more relaxed as you race.
Each time you go on the track, the reference points may adjust. If they do, use your first session to refamiliarize yourself with the track and your planned reference points.
The reference points discussed previously can help cut off seconds from your time so you can enter and exit each of these corners as quickly as possible, no matter the type of corner.
Learn More With Blaze!
The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Are you looking to start your racing journey? Could you use direct feedback from a professional coach on how to improve your racing and motorsport skills?
At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-track, so you are performing at your very best in every race. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.