Tire management is poor because most drivers are too aggressive, over driving their cars, resulting in excessive tire wear. It doesn’t matter if they are new or experienced drivers. This aggressive attitude leads to fast in, or got to get on the throttle fast mentality, affecting tire management. It sets the car up for a tight condition and into the wall, because of poor tire management. Simply exceeding the ability of their tires, preventing them putting the car on the proper line around the track.
Tires and Tire management – The single most important part of going fast!
The suspension and drivetrain is set up with the goal of making the car fast. The problem arises when a driver exceeds the limits of the tires, basically over driving the corner, resulting in poor tire management.
What Tires Do – Accelerate, Decelerate and Corner
• Tires – Capable of delivering only 100% of the total force
• Front Tires – Decelerate and Corner
• Rear Tires – Accelerate and Corner
A car going straight, the front tires use part of their cornering ability, which takes away from the tires 100% force capability to keep the car going in a straight line. The rear tires use a part of the 100% for acceleration at the same time.
Entering A Turn – Relationships change
• Front Tires – Entering a turn they change over to provide forces for deceleration (due to change in tires slip angle)
• Slip Angle – The difference between the direction the tires are pointed and direction of travel
• Rear Tires – Give up a portion of their acceleration to provide for cornering ability
Over Drive The Corner
• Traction (Grip) Loss – Exceed tires ability to deliver 100% of the total forces
• Tight Condition – Front tires lose traction
• Loose Condition – Rear tire lose traction
Weight Distribution and Driving
Chassis setup, drive train and control of weight distribution have a profound effect on the tires ability to apply the forces the tires can deliver, but only to a point.
The tires will wear quicker is the price you pay, resulting in poor tire management. Do not exceed the tires ability to deliver these 3 forces. Throttle, Brakes, and Steering control the inputs to your car, effecting tire management.
• Throttle – Accelerate too hard, the tires “break loose” – Smooth, Easy Off & On equal a fast car
• Brakes – Brake too hard, the tires “break loose” – Smooth, Easy On & Off equal a fast car
• Steering – Steer too abruptly, the tires “break loose” – Slow Hands equal a fast car
Skills you need to develop are sensing traction and force feedback feel. You only have visual clues and the forces delivered by the force feedback to the steering wheel, unless you have a motion rig.
From the visual clues, practice developing traction sensing while cornering. Learn to control the weight transfer to the outside of the corner. The more this weight goes outwards, the greater the reduction in cornering ability. All this does is reduce the cornering force available from the tires.
What is really happening is the car is sliding on the tires, nearing the limits of grip. Run out of grip and the car is going to slide to the outside, change the line and develop a tight condition.
There is only one SAFE way to correct a slide. Ease off the throttle a bit! Reduce the acceleration forces on the tires so the tires can increase the ability corner! Now you can make any needed changes in your steering input. You don’t need to lift off the throttle a great deal. Just sufficient enough to allow the tires to have the ability to corner. All this will lead to better weight distribution, thus better tire management.
Do this correctly and you will be able to gain better car control. Be able to correct the line when the car gets in a tight or loose condition! Allow you to gather the car back up on a higher line without any great loss in speed. Most importantly, running out of track and hitting the wall.
Slow In and Fast Out
Try lifting off the throttle the slightest amount going into the corners to maximize the ability of the tires to accept cornering forces. Back up the corners, means get off the throttle and brake sooner later in a tire run. You will be amazed at the benefits from doing this. It will also greatly help with tire management.
Remember each tire can only deliver 100% of any of the 3 forces. Go beyond what the tires can deliver and your tires will wear out quicker, thus producing poor tire management. Generally you can almost always recover the car by simply reducing any one of the 3 forces acting on the tires.
• Tires – Front and rear tires are separate entities
• Forces – Tires will only accept 2 of the 3 forces at any one time, while cornering
• Rear tires – Subject to a minuscule amount of deceleration forces due to friction induced drag, very minor.
All of this will lead to faster lap times and better tire wear and management. While the competition uses up their tires, you will be turning better lap times later in the run. This will allow you stay on the track longer with better car control, resulting to better tire management.
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Written, Composed and Illustrated by Michael Schrader
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