No announcement yet.

Fast lap driving 101…

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Fast lap driving 101…

    Thought this was a good article……especially for newbies.

    So what're are the driving habits that wreck your lap times?

    1. DeSlotting
    A DeSlot always costs you more time than you can make up.
    (See separate discussion thread on causes of DeSlotting)

    2. Applying brake point too early into the corners.
    If you brake too early, you're are entering the corner at below optimal speed.
    Find the optimal brake point in practice by leaving it later and later until DeSlot occurs, the set a brake point which gets you into the corner as fast as possible without DeSlotting. Top drivers call this "finding the limit". Ever wondered why they DeSlot in practice and never in a race? Now you know. They are finding the latest possible braking point for the particular car for every corner.

    3. Applying full throttle too early when exiting a corner.
    If you apply power too soon, you will get oversteer as the back end if the car slides out then over corrects causing a "pendulum effect". This looks aggressive and looks fast but it just isn't. The fastest racers keep the back end of the car grounded, they are not "drifting". You can see this in practice in the Karting community. The amateurs are sliding the kart all over the place, the pros know how to keep the rear end glued and are able to put the power down instead of scrubbing it off.

    4. Poor "in corner" throttle control.
    Once you get enter a corner, there is a perfect throttle position to get you around that corner as fast as possible without DeSlotting. Keeping the brakes on too long and into the corner means you may reapply the power too aggressively once in the corner when you correct for the over braking,
    Find that throttle position in practice and apply rigorously during the race.

    5. Muscle memory.
    Pulling items 1 to 4 above into an effective technique is not easy. Furthermore, the technique must not be "higher brain" function, it has to become instinctive and automatic. During a race your higher brain activity should should focus on strategy not on throttle control. Practice, practice, practice...

    6. The "groove"
    "The groove" is a technique where you learn to drive within the capabilities of yourself and the car. It can be fun to duke it out on the track with another driver but if that triggers you to push too hard, it is self defeating. Learn when to take on the fight to get or keep a track position and also know when that is a fight you will not win. Finishing second is better than finishing last because you pushed too hard and DeSlotted. (Unless of course it's a do or die national final)

    7. Mindset
    The top drivers drive like it is just another day in the office. If your adrenaline is running to high you will not make good judgements during the race. Calm and cool is the way to go. Find a technique to spot when you are getting tense and a technique to cool down.

    8. Practicing what you are good at...
    For example , you have a favourite lane and practice a lot on that because it just feels good. Truth is, to improve you have to practice the lanes you struggle with.
    Practice more with the cars and classes you struggle with, tracks you don't like , lanes you hate and throttles you may have to use during classes where throttle are "provided by the club",
    Don't practice the easy stuff. Practice the hard stuff!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Racer1h View Post
    Practice more with the cars and classes you struggle with, tracks you don't like , lanes you hate and throttles you may have to use during classes where throttle are "provided by the club",
    Don't practice the easy stuff. Practice the hard stuff!
    I like to practice on the inside and outside lanes. I figure if you can drive those lanes well you can drive them all well.

    Butch Dunaway
    Oxford, Ohio


    • #3
      Excellent points. I agree with all of them.
      Team SCANC
      Woodland Trace Raceway - SlotZuka - Bent Tree Raceway
      OFI - Buena Vista Motorsports Park - Slotkins Glen
      Leadfinger Raceway


      • #4
        I find that dealing with the other cars on the track is the hardest thing about racing. Some of the time you are better off ignoring the other cars, but you can't do that in a passing situation. It helps a lot in that case if you know the other driver. If you are being overtaken you have three options, you can try to hold him off, you can slow on a straight and let him pass or you can just continue to drive as if he was not there. What you need to do is avoid crashing either because you are driving over your limits or because you will get nerfed or crashed into. If you race with track calls a crash might not be very costly, if you are in a marshalled race you could lose a great deal of time. If you are the one that is passing the hazards are nearly the same.


        • SuperSlab
          SuperSlab commented
          Editing a comment
          Passing other cars is one of my biggest frustrations as well. This particularly in cases where the slower car is being lapped. If someone is lapping me I consider it a "blue flag" situation: I slow down briefly on the straight to let the faster car through. No hassles, neither of us lose any appreciable amount of time and NO CRASHES!!! Conversely, I detest it when I am lapping someone and all of a sudden they believe that, by some weird freak of science, they will now be as fast as the lapping car! And swinging wildly through the corners on top of that. It is also common that their cars are no slower (and very often faster) than yours on the straight: guys lapping other cars more often than not are this far ahead because they are faster through the corners. So now you have to battle to keep up on the straights and then only chance an overtake on corners where you have the inside lane. MOST annoying!

      • #5
        I don't think anyone mentioned power transfer, the guy next to you comes off and half the group slams into the walls.
        All the current is being transferred to the remaining cars and you need to be aware and ready for the transfer (i.e., brake a little early).
        Also, my mantra, drive your own race.


        • SuperSlab
          SuperSlab commented
          Editing a comment
          Power transfer is only an issue on lower power, unregulated power supplies that are typically used on home tracks. I suspect most club tracks have eater individual power supplies by lane or sufficiently powerful and sophisticated regulated power supplies to eliminate this as a concern.

          Drive you own race: absolutely. But people should still respect cars that are lapping them: you are not "racing" a person lapping you for the fourth time.,...

        • Mickey thumbs
          Mickey thumbs commented
          Editing a comment
          This is why as an 11 year old in the sixties I traded my Strobecker transformer for a car battery. The gas station attendant wisely refused to let me haul one home on my bike, so my dad picked up a used one from the motor pool at work.

      • #6
        The comments about passing make sense, but also fail to account for some real aspects of human nature. Once some drivers are 'out of it' the next best thing to being a winner is to be a PIA. Creating havoc is a big part of what some folks love about slot car racing.

        In a club setting there should be some agreed upon rules that address this.


        • #7
          I have a club track and am thinking about implementing a 5 offs in a heat and you set out until next heat. Some guys do not get it. Crashing every lap and taking other racers out is just crazy, there needs to be a penalty paid and hopefully they will learn to race smarter.



          • chappyman66
            chappyman66 commented
            Editing a comment
            This is why "crash and burn" is a real format. You crash, you sit.

          • Fast Co.
            Fast Co. commented
            Editing a comment
            We had a guy race with us many years ago whose biggest thrill was to nerf other driver's cars off the track. He didn't last very long.

          • slothead
            slothead commented
            Editing a comment
            Someone on HRW once said their club uses a 'crash-n-burn token' format. Every driver starts a race with a set number of tokens and forfeits one for each deslot. When out of tokens their car gets parked in the infield. As for the nerfing guy, reminds me of the saying 'you're only young once but can be immature all your life'. Sometimes it helps to have non-qualifiers races so the guys who never or rarely win get to have an official race among themselves where they can be 'in it' and have a chance for a victory.

        • #8
          I summarize the important points with "keep the tail over the rails" and "wait 'til you're straight" (before hitting the gas).
          Oh, and "fight the red mist of competition" and just focus on your car, your brake and accel points, and keeping the tail in line, and you'll find yourself catching up and passing them.
          If it LOOKS fast, it probably isn't. ;-)

          I haven't managed to convince anyone to actually do this yet, but I posit that a great way to get someone to understand magless driving and get good at it quickly is to make them complete a few laps with a car that has absolutely no traction. If you even manage to get it going fast down the straight, you'd better let off the gas nice and early. A car that absolutely requires care and control to get through a turn and around the track will teach them the kind of control needed for non-mag racing on just about any track with any car. Pretty much everything else will feel like a rocket that is glued to the track.


          • #9
            Great points. Good discussion.
            The question is...will the newbie read all this and understand driver etiquette, and that 'slower is faster', and it takes time to learn to keep your rear over the slot, that most cars in the straight are all most capable at full throttle, etc.

            We're probably all preaching to the choir and can implement these reminders at races as teaching moments. I'm doing that with my girls right now as they argue with each other during practice laps, yes, we're talking about practice, not a race...practice. The joys of passing on our wonderful hobby
            ... Hobbit Racing...
            ...Tampa, FL, USA...
            Hobbit Racing on YouTube @



            • #10
              I like to go slow so people can admire my car. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
              Butch Dunaway
              Oxford, Ohio