January 3, 2022

Racing in the Rain – A Guide for Race Car Drivers on How to Handle the Track in Wet Conditions

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Dion von Moltke

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Racing in the Rain – A Guide for Race Car Drivers on How to Handle the Track in Wet Conditions Image

Racing in the rain, or on wet surfaces, can be tricky for any race car driver. When racing your car on a wet race track, performance falls more on the driver and less on the car. Most drivers already know that the overall grip of their car will drop in wet conditions. But, determining which areas of the track where the grip is lowered is key to staying safe (and fast!) on the track.

The above video features Blayze Professional Race Car Driver, Dion von Moltke at Road America Track. He will walk you through his technique on determining where grip is weak and how to handle racing on any wet track.

Determining Your Racing Line

The first thing race car drivers should understand is that in the wet you often times we want to drive on the opposite parts of the track than we do in the dry. You want to try and stay off the normal line because the rubber we lay down has oils in it which come to the surface when it rains and makes this area slick. Watch as I break off the rubber, then cross back on to it. I go around the outside of the corner.

One key component to racing in the rain, or on wet surfaces, is experimenting. In some corners, you can drive the normal line and sometimes you have to go around the outside. Every corner can be a little different and as the conditions of the track change, the way you take the corners can also change. And remember, any paint on the track is really slick in wet conditions, so avoid those areas!

Using Proper Technique

You will see on this lap that I try different techniques and that’s the key to driving a quick lap around a wet race track. Around Turn 1 of Road America, you often want to use the opposite of the normal line.

In Minute 1:00 of the video, notice how I am breaking off the rubber into Turn 3. Then you can see I cross back to set-up for the turn in. When I cross back onto the rubber, I want my hands straight because the car can be quite slick over that normal, over-rubbered-up, line. I’m anticipating losing grip as I cross over this rubber. If I have any steering input that is likely to cause me to spin, but if I cross it with straight hands I should just get a little wheel spin in the rear.

At the Minute 1:17 mark, I want you to see how I go to the outside of the corner and look to the right of the video at the red line. This red line is the normal line. I cross over it again and try to open my hands to put the power down. The road is slick. I have to catch the car a little, but now I can give it a good exit.

Watch one more time, breaking down the inside, going to cross back over, set-up for the turn in, and I am going to run around the outside. Pretty much around the whole corner in Turn 1. I cross over the rubber because I want to get a good exit out of the turn. And that is where the grip occurs.

I sacrifice a little bit of speed mid corner to focus on getting a strong exit. My lines are helping me really maximize that exit speed.

Turn Analysis

Looking at Turn 5 in the video, this turn is a steep downhill turn and can be quite tricky to maneuver. I start with a really early brake and focus on keeping my hands straight as I cross the downhill. There is really low grip in this spot, even in dry conditions, so I need to maintain my technique when it is wet.

I have set up the angle of the car to where I can have my hands straight as I press down the hill and angle towards the outside instead of to the corner. Notice how I try to steer in the normal line, but it causes me to have a big understeer (minute 2:42). Now I can make a mental note to myself that on the next lap, I do not want to take the normal line. I will use a rim shot, or the outside of the corner.

Next, let us look at my maneuvering of Turn 6. Breaking down the inside, I go back up, set-up, and try the normal line again. On your first lap in the wet conditions, when you enter each turn, think to yourself:

  • Is there grip on the normal racing line?
  • If not, not try the outside line on the next lap and ask yourself if there is more grip there?
  • What should I change to help me on the next lap?

At minute 3:13, I hit the turn in where I want to be normally. I use a lot of wheel input and on this corner it kind of works. I go to throttle and oppps!!!! I touched the color curb – that paint is slick.

Now into Turn 7 (minute 3:26). I turn in normally and you can immediately see I am making the correction I need to make. I need to turn later and use more of the rim shot method in my next lap.

Tips To Keep in Mind While Driving on a Wet Track

Usually, you want to hang around the apex, but that is not what you can do in the rain or in wet conditions. As you drive, you will have little micro inputs with the wheel that you normally don’t want to have. But these micro inputs can be needed to test the grip.

If I can turn and all of a sudden, the car really hooks up and turns more, I know I am not at the limit of the car. And when you are running around the rim of a corner, there is not much room for error. As you build up to it, that is one thing I like to do to figure out where the grip is or how much grip I have. If you know you have to cross over the low grip rubbered line try and do what you can to do that with your hands straight.

And remember – paint surfaces are slick in the rain – always drive with caution in wet conditions.

We Hope to See You on the Race Track

Our main goal at Blayze is to help grow amateur motorsports and help the education of those drivers. We hope we can be a part of your racing journey from helping you start to then help you learn how to become a race car driver! Once you start racing, let our expert coaches help you develop your racing skills by clicking here for a custom-developed feedback session and start winning more races!

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Dion von Moltke

Won the 2013 Rolex at Daytona 24 Hour

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