How To Turn-Out of a Corner

Posted on May 19, 2013

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How to Turn-Out

Get onto the Straightaway Fast

Getting from the Apex to Turn-out seems easy – and it can be – but there are a few things you need to know that will tie everything, from Turn-in all the way through the corner, together.

Grand-Am at Watkins Glen ( courtesy jalopnik.com )

Grand-Am at Watkins Glen
( courtesy jalopnik.com )

As you transition through the Apex and into Turn-out you should be on the throttle and not coming off of it. But what about your hands? At Turn-in you have smoothly – but quickly – wound the wheel into the corner, using your brakes, throttle, and the wheel itself to create a rotation that brings you to the apex. At Turn-out you do basically the reverse of this. As you get to the Apex you have hit the transition point from Turn-in to Turn-out. This is where you stop the rotation and begin unwinding the wheel. You should be accelerating and transitioning to the straightaway. So what are the keys to getting the best run you can? These.

1: Use only as much track as you have to.

Remember that distance is time, and time is your enemy. You want to use only as much track as you have to to make a smooth transition onto the straightaway or into the next corner.

In most situations you will want to use all of the racetrack and then some. But there are situations where there is more track than you need. You can generally tell by weather or not your machine can accelerate at full throttle smoothly without breaking the tires loose or pinching (binding) the chassis. If you can accelerate as hard as you want using only half the track than you have used half the distance. This is good.

2: Use a line that will allow you to enter the next section of racetrack, and the one after,  as smoothly as possible as quickly as possible.

Essentially, if the next part of the track is a straightaway with a left several hundred meters away then you want to unwind the wheel until you are accelerating in a dead straight line but heading for the entry to the next corner. By aiming for the next corner during your Turn-out instead of later down the straightaway what you have done is allow the chassis to accelerate as fast as it can for the longest time possible between the two corners.

Note the line through Turn 15 where the cars don't use all of the track ( courtesy of circuitoftheamericas.com )

Note the line through Turn 15 where the cars don’t use all of the track
( courtesy of circuitoftheamericas.com )

I will explain this in detail here so its time for some physics. Your engine generates only so much energy (Power). The faster you are going the more energy it takes to move the air out of the way, and the more energy is taken from the engine for every KPH you gain. And we know that turning the wheel also takes up energy. Right! Now, the beginning of the straightaway is the slowest part of it, and therefore the drag from the air is the lowest it is going to be on that straight. But the energy wasted by turning to line up for the next corner is going to be the same pretty much no matter where you do it. So if you continue your Turn-out to line up for the next corner you have actually wasted less energy because it is easier for the machine to accelerate at low speed than high. Basically, if you wait to line up for the next corner later down the straight, the engine has less energy to spare because its pushing a lot of air, so the energy used to change direction is a bigger drain because the engine only has so much power left, and you want all that remaining power for that extra acceleration. As I have said before, top speed is critical on most tracks.

If you didn’t follow that it’s ok. Just get all your turning done at Turn-out so you don’t have to do any more until you reach the next corner. Okay? Okay.

3: Stay on track.

Curbing and rumble strips at the outside of the track can really slow your acceleration down as well as knock you loose. Try them out in practice to decide which ones are okay and which are not. If you are not sure, stay off them.

Gilles using up all of the track. ( courtesy bestf1pictures.com )

Gilles using up all of the track.
( courtesy bestf1pictures.com )

Also, in your rush to get to the throttle it is really easy to find you have run out of racetrack. If this happens don’t panic. You are going to get loose very fast so keep the steering ahead of the machine and don’t get snappy on the wheel or the throttle. If you gun it in a rear wheel drive machine your probably going to spin so egg shells people. If its front drive you need traction to steer out of the grass/gravel so use only enough throttle to not slow too much that you get stuck but still be able to steer.

4: Don’t be afraid to give up some speed and distance if it will make for a better line in the next corner.

This, again, I have mentioned before. What ever line you use in any combinations of corners must be to serve the corner that leads onto a straightaway. This is because your top speed on most courses will likely have a bigger difference on your lap times than any other factor. This means that you may have to stay very low at Turn-out so you can be lined up for the next corners Turn-in. Really this is basic stuff but you can never forget it. Not if you want to be fast.

Turn-out is your last chance to get the power down and carry speed onto the straight or to transition into the next corner that will eventually lead to a straight. You want to be smooth on the wheel, keep the tires in line, get on the throttle hard, and go go go!

Next I’m going to get into some Racing Techniques and Passing. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to send them along below and follow OakmanOnRacing.

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Posted in: How to Race