Racers know that every second counts, on and off the track. Improving racetrack performance is the goal, and it takes time, dedication, and serious analysis. If you’re looking to shave time off each lap, whether you’re gearing up for a race or just fine-tuning during free practice, there are a few things you need to know.
Simply put, aerodynamics is the force of air upon an object. The faster you push your race car, the more pressure is applied against it. If your car isn’t constructed with aerodynamics in mind, you’re losing valuable time battling empty air. It could be 1/10th of a second or 7 seconds, but either way, if you want the best time possible, this is a huge factor. Lift and drag are both affected, so before you drive onto the track, consult an aerodynamics expert. Keep in mind that everything from the shape of the drivetrain to the rear camber angle has an impact.
Quality Tires are a Must
A quality set of tires can make or break your record. You want tires that have peak grip and traction, and can quickly reach the optimal temperature while providing consistent performance, so get the best tires you can afford on a regular basis. You already know, but it’s worth repeating: racing tires are softer than their commuter counterparts and wear out quickly. If you’re serious about racing, stay serious about stocking up on quality racing tires. Don’t forget to double-check your air pressure, too. Tire friction, temperature, and pressure are all part of aerodynamics as well. If you don’t get the settings right, you aren’t getting the best performance.
Remap Your Engine
Above all else, your car needs a powerful engine with optimal torque. Most modern engines are controlled by computers, and those purchased as fresh stock can often use a remap through software to adjust the engine in terms of fuel, timing, spark, and turbo boost. When it comes to your engine, power (coupled with control) equals time reduction on the track. Many enthusiasts build their own or work closely with a mechanic to get the best performance possible. Whichever you choose, make sure you purchase quality parts.
Suspension is the Key to Cornering
You’ve probably seen a lot of race cars with lowered suspension. It looks good, but it’s mostly for aesthetics when it comes to straight tracks. The suspension really matters when it comes to cornering and can make a huge difference in your time. It also gives better control overall, allowing you to gain that 1/10th of a second you’ve been missing out on each lap.
Reduce Pit Stop Time
Every moment your car is off track, the clock is ticking. Pit stops are crucial, and you need to know what to fix, when to fix it, and how to fix it quickly. This means keeping a keen eye on your gauges throughout every race and keeping your team updated. It also means knowing your car’s quirks so that you can anticipate any issues.
Data and Analytics are Crucial
Many racers use a data-logging dashboard to analyze the car and driver’s performance after each race or during free practice. These dashboards provide accurate assessments that can steer you in the right direction towards better performance, letting you know which criteria you need to focus on to get your peak performance on-track during the next race. Still, there’s a performance driving device technology, called RaceVoice, that allows for this data to be compiled and disseminated in real-time via your earbuds or helmet, allowing you to keep your eyes on the race and off the gauges and warning signs. Even better, it sends the data to an app, enabling your team to keep up and be ready for anything.
A lot more goes into on-track performance than what we have mentioned here, but if you take the time to focus on these aspects, you’ll see improvement. Remember: a good race car, plenty of training, and detailed analysis are what make a winning team.