It is very easy to get caught up in the showmanship and prestige of expensive parts for your car, but the best investment you'll ever make in road racing is the time you spend tuning your driving skills.
In this section, our goal is to introduce you to many of the basic driving techniques used in race car driving. There are numerous details to be conscious of while racing on a track, and it will be difficult and overwhelming to remember them all the first few times out. Focus on one or two techniques each time you go out on the track. As each technique becomes second-nature, you can work on a new one. After you have studied each of the techniques, how best to go about practicing them is covered in the next tab section Practice Sessions.
No matter how much country- or mountain-road hot rodding you may have done, or how good a driver you think you are, driving on a race track is an entirely new level of driving that requires very specific skills if you want to be good at it. Good drivers, like all good athletes, have a natural skill, and yet are also smart and/or humble enough to know that there are known techniques they must practice if they are to be proficient. Even if you have natural talent, don't make the mistake of thinking all you need is a better car to improve your performance. Your driving skills can always be improved. Even the Gordon's, Andretti's, and Schumacher's of the pro-driving world continually analyse their driving so they can improve.
Many of the race driving techniques explained here can be practiced on the street, others simply cannot be. Where appropriate (meaning safe and useful), we will point out how to practice these skills during everyday street driving. As with any skill, "knowing" what to do is not the same as "doing" it. Practice, practice, practice. Time in the car, on the track, repetitively performing these techniques is the only thing that will make you good at using them. Often you'll find yourself thinking you're doing something right, only to recognize several months later, that you could do it even better.
Because there are so many things to rememeber and practice, be sure to read these sections often--you will forget a lot of its content.
Read Next Article (Seating Position)