Every car is characterized by its road manners. Even more so on the track where the goal is to go as fast as possible. Driving different cars in the simulator, you will constantly find different reactions around the corners. The most familiar one is without question oversteering, which happens when you turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction when you feel the rear of the car breaking away, causing the car to close the corner faster than necessary. The opposite behaviour, in many respects a lot worse, is understeering, which we’ll examine in the next post.
Losing the rear end of the car is controlled through oversteering. A great way to see it in action is on the icy track of St. Moritz where, thanks to poor grip and ample space, this behaviour is greatly exaggerated and the chances of having an accident are minimal. The correction techniques illustrated here must be accompanied by the anticipation of the moment the set-up is corrected with the steering wheel. Keeping the steering wheel on opposite lock for too long automatically triggers a dangerous pendulum effect that shoots the rear in the opposite direction.
An important warning: weight distribution is the biggest influence on the behaviour of the car. Therefore, after braking on the straight where all the weight is shifted to the front, you should start accelerating again with just the right amount of throttle to bring the weight back to the rear. So, carefully modulate the accelerator when the car starts to oversteer. Never abruptly let the throttle pedal go and do not brake. That will cause the rear axle to become even lighter and will lead to an uncontrollable slide.
In conclusion: when you feel the rear of car breaking away, release the accelerator slightly to maintain traction. Never brake. Oversteer at the correct angle to return the wheels to the correct trajectory. In this way, everything goes smoothly without problems.
- Step 1 – Braking with the car going straight, the weight of the car moves forward
- Step 2 – Enter the corner with the correct steering wheel rotation. At this stage, if the speed or steering is excessive, the rear of the car will lose grip. The nose of the car will therefore close inwards rather than maintaining the correct trajectory.
- Step 3 – Correction: the driver must apply opposite lock, without exaggerating, to avoid the pendulum effect, slightly reduce the pressure on the accelerator and never brake.
- Step 4 – The car will resume its ideal trajectory around the corner and the hands are once again symmetrical on the steering wheel (position 9:15)
Drawings by Massimo Grandi
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