The Race Track Guide is one of the best tools a driver can bring to the track. It's a simple, yet effective. Using a Race Track Guide will improve your overall knowledge and awareness on the track. By writing down your reference points you will learn the track faster, easier and ultimately improve your lap times.
What To Write With?
We know, it's been a while since you've actually used a writing utensil. If you're using the Race Track Guide for the first time, start with a mechanical pencil. We recommend this because they write easily and erase clean. We have been using our Chuckwalla Valley Raceway workbook for almost 3 years and it still looks great.
Step 1: Where To Start?
So you're at the track for the first time with your Race Track Guide. We assume that you've already flipped through the workbook to familiarize yourself with the track. If you haven't, we highly suggest it.
For track day folks, we suggest using the first session of the day as a warmup. Use this session to start noticing all the miscellaneous characteristics of the track. This includes; cracks, curbing, holes, bumps, cones, etc.
The reason we suggest doing this for the first session or part of the first session is that you will be moving slower at the start of the day. Scan your eyes far and really get a feel for how big the track is.
After your first session, come back to your pit and immediately write down these points in your workbook. You can either write them all down at once on the full track map page or use the individual corner pages.
Having these miscellaneous markers are going to make you more aware during the next steps.
Step 2: Apexes
If you're a beginner, we recommend getting with an instructor and help you find the apexes of the corners in your workbooks. If you're a veteran, then you should have a rough idea where the corner apexes are. Mark these in your workbook. The reason we are marking these first is that they don't or should not change. If they do, then it is very little.
Write the apexes of each corner in your workbook, starting with the full track map and working through each corner page.
Step 3: Braking Markers
The next steps are used to begin noticing when and where you are braking and turning into a corner. Again, take this one corner at a time - that's why the workbook is corner-by-corner. This is for you to see where you are currently at.
From there, you can begin to move these markers around in your Race Track Guide to make adjustments. For example: If you find yourself over slowing for a corner, you can move your braking back to another point on the track. Take this one step at a time and don't drive over your head.
Step 4: Turn In Point
Another great idea is to begin writing down when and where you are turning in for the corner. In addition to this, we recommend jotting down your turn in rate, though this should be apparent based on what type of corner it is and where you are turning in.
Step 5: Exit Marker
By this point, you should be aware of where you are braking, entering the corner, and where your apex is. Now the goal is to have a marker for your exit. If you have slowed down enough to turn in and hit your apex, then in an ideal world you have the direction to drive out of the corner.
Find a spot on the track to drive to after you hit your apex. This is your exit marker. These are incredibly important for the next step.
Step 6: Gas Point
When do you apply the gas? When you have direction and can see your exit. It's a great idea to start writing these down in your workbook. Most times, if you are on the race line and have hit your apex, you will be back on the gas either at the apex or just after.
If you find yourself on the gas before the apex, odds are you are looking far enough ahead and you have over-slowed for the corner, so go back and start adjusting your braking markers and work on keeping your eyes up and scanning the race track.
Step 7: Connect The Dots
From here, you have a decent path to what race line you are taking and potentially where you should be on the race track. Start drawing in these lines and connecting the dots. Draw a line from the braking marker to the entry, to the apex, to the exit and so on.
Sep 8: The Race Line
Now you have a race line. The race line is adjustable to a certain degree, but for the most part it is everything in between that is adjustable and up to you as a driver to better your skills to improve.
If you find that you can't hit a certain apex, then you're probably not using your eyes enough, over slowing for your entry point or a combination.
This can happen at your own pace and that's the idea when using the Race Track Guide. Use the workbook to focus on one section of the track at a time. Compare notes with your friends and bounce ideas off of instructors.
We all have the same goal on the track - to get faster. By using the Race Track Guide in this way, you can begin improving lap times.