Racing Theory 101 - Track & course assessment
| This is the
planning stage of the what, how, and when before you start your race. For autocross
you can do this during the course walk (a.k.a. walking the course). For road
& tracks this is done during slowly driving the track and the practice lap runs.
Track assessment is an very important part to auto racing because, this
is when you decide what line you will take and how you will drive that line.
A factor to take in account in the assessment, besides the basics (you and your cars abilities) , are surface conditions. Is there loose gravel, water, dips and bumps, tire marks from previous cars, a dollar someone dropped....
Another thing to carefully plan out, are reference points. These are precise physical spots on the track that you pick out or find. These spots (reference points) will represent were on the course you will start braking, turn-in points, apex points, turn-out points, ect.
Imprezas with a modest or stock setup, the ideal line for some autocrosses may not be the traditional one. For some cases, you will pull faster times by basing you line off of taking shortest distance, instead of the trying to maintain the highest speed for that same particular point of the turn. When choosing this type of line your are relying more on your car's quick turning abilities than its power & acceleration abilities.
"So, what line should I use?", you ask? Easy....
....the one that produces the quickest time on the particular autocross course or
track you are running on. (Sometimes I think I should have ran for office. >:).