How To Late Brake Part 2

Posted on July 26, 2014

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How To Late Brake: Part Two

In Detail

By: Rob Oakman

Last time in Part 1 I gave you a general look at how to perform a late braking pass. This time I’m going to get into the nitty-gritty of how to get it done.

You are rocketing down the straightaway. Ahead of you is the one thing between you and victory. You have been watching the racer ahead, their line and how strong they are in the next corner. You know you are stronger. Now is the time to act.

Darryl Timmers leading the Canada Sr. pack at Hamilton  (Courtesy of ekartingnews.ca)

Darryl Timmers leading the Canada Sr. pack at Hamilton
(Courtesy of ekartingnews.ca)

Step 1: Commit.

It doesn’t matter if you have mere seconds to decide to pass or several laps. Decide where you want to pass and commit to it. Once the decision is made then all you have to do is make the pass happen. Easy, n’est-ce pas?

Step 2: Timing is everything.

Wait! Don’t pull out of line before the braking zone unless you have to. When you pull down the racer ahead can obviously see you, all they have to do is try to block your pass and your job becomes a lot harder. Don’t pull out until you have too.

This can be an opportunity to play some mirror games. If the corner is a right, stay slightly left of the car ahead then pop out under braking at the last minute. If it is a left stay right.

If the racer ahead is aggressively using a defensive line you can pull out early on the straight a corner before the one you intend to pass in to get them off line. Then, as they commit to entering defensively you can pull back out onto the racing line to make a clean corner. By using the tighter entry the racer ahead will lose momentum on exit while you can gain a run and get underneath them. This is a great opportunity to use a Late Apex like I have talked about before. Be sure to give yourself enough room into the corner when you set this up that they can’t brake-check you at the apex and kill your momentum, though. Race the corner and don’t fixate on the racer ahead.

Step 3: Pull Out And Stay Tight.

Pull out of line and give the other racer some room…but just a little. Keep them pinned to the outside line as best you can without risking contact. This allows you to choose when YOU want to turn into the corner instead of them choosing and driving you down lower than you want to be. You can even turn in a bit late and force the other racer into the marbles if they are a jerk but try to use this sparingly. Keeping tight up against the other racer essentially stops them from pinching you down on entry thus killing your momentum through the apex and exit.

Massa getting it wrong in Montreal (Courtesy of The Mail Online)

Massa getting it wrong in Montreal (Courtesy of The Mail Online)

Step 4: Look Ahead.

Yes. Even before you brake you should be looking at the apex and towards the exit of the corner. You are still judging your braking point by a physical reference or by distance (the Force) and not by the other racer. You need to be watching them through your peripheral vision to track where they are relative to you and to avoid contact if necessary. Don’t wait for them to hit their braking point, worry about hitting yours.

Step 5: Brake.

This gets complicated so the basics first.

You are entering the corner faster, later, and from a sharper angle than usual. You are also off the main line so the course may be slick down there. When you do brake, do so firmly but don’t lock up. If you do and or you have just overcooked it and run a bit wide remember that the other racer will have to try to avoid you and not the other way around. Don’t be a jerk and take this as license to run them wide on purpose though, just be calm and feel what the chassis is doing. If you lock up, worry only about catching the chassis and getting through the corner, otherwise you are very likely to spin. Let the other guy worry about missing you.

Not the way to out brake someone (Courtesy of tailgrab.com.mosport)

Not the way to out brake someone
(Courtesy of tailgrab.com.mosport)

Now the more complicated stuff.

I said that you are tracking the other racer in your peripheral vision and here is why. If the other racer brakes early allowing you to pass by before the end of the braking zone, they are likely trying to do a cross over move on you (pass you back on exit when you run wide). Don’t panic or get in a hurry or do anything rash here. You are in control, just be smooth. What you need to do is to get to the apex and stay low without sliding wide. To do this remember that you now know they aren’t a challenge under braking. You may even clear them by entry – but don’t try to change back to the outside line. You may not be completely clear of the other machine and that is a recipe for a wreck. Instead just slow down a bit more than you had planned to so you don’t run wide. No, I’m serious. Go slower. Also be very patient – even hesitate a second – before getting back to the throttle, this will kill the other racers momentum through the center of the corner so they can’t cut under you and get a run on exit. Don’t brake check at the apex though. That’s a Wally move and will only gain you enemies. And no one needs enemies. Those people suck!

If the other racer tries to out-brake you on the outside, let them. Keep them up on the outside line and just do your thing. Don’t let them push you down any further to the inside either. They are not likely to stay with you through the center of the corner anyway and they will have no chance of a cross over because they are not in position to do so when they run into the corner that hard. Just run your line and brake when you need to.

Step 6: Turn-In.

As you are getting to your entry point keep tracking the racer with your peripheral vision. Keep them on the outside line and be aware of their position but don’t let them change your line. Turn in a bit late if you can to ensure you get a clean exit. This also has the effect of sharpening the corner for the other racer making their entry even slower and also puts them into a slipperier part of the track.

Step 7: Apex.

Be smooth on the wheel and get to throttle quickly but carefully. You need to transition to exit as quickly as you can but you absolutely cannot spin your tires nor do you want to slide wide and open the door. As I – and Douglas Adams – have already said “Don’t Panic”. Run your line. Get to the power. Be smooth but don’t be slow. Use any of the above tricks you need to keep the best line possible without hitting stuff.

DTM At its best. (Courtesy of carthrottle.com)

DTM At its best.
(Courtesy of carthrottle.com)

Step 8: Exit.

Get to the throttle and go go go! If the racer you passed has a good run on exit and the next corner is in the same direction as the one you just ran through (A left leading to a Left or Right to a Right) then it may be wise to pull down a lane and run a tight line. If the next corner is in the opposite direction (Left into a Right or Right into a Left) just keep the wheel straight and force the other driver to try the outside.

If the other racer has managed to stay beside you through center of the corner then do your best to control their line. It should be relatively easy to force them wide so you just need to be as smooth as possible. Avoid contact if you can but remember that once you pull about half way past them the racing line is yours. And they should know better than to be out there anyway.

Once you have gotten by clean then look ahead to that sweet checkered flag. Next stop is victory lane and fame…or at least a cheap yet equally awesome trophy.

Late braking is a great way to pass. Whether on cold tires, mid race, or late in a run you can pull this out of your toolbox and get the job done. But what can you do if someone is trying to out brake you? Next time I will tell you how to defend against a late brake pass without wrecking you, the other racer, and half the field.

Until then ask me questions if you have any, comment if you like, and remember to have fun!

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