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If you are new to the world of high performance driving, there are certain things you need to know.  It would be a great idea to review this page prior to hitting the track.  If you have an instructor, he/she will be using this terminology etc. while giving instructions.

Knowing this will also increase your overall level of safety.

Terminology

APEX

The point during the corner where the car comes closest to the inside edge of the turn.


APEX "Early"

An early apex occurs when the car touches the inside edge of the track too soon which will cause the car to run out of track at the corner exit unless you slow the car and/or increase the turning of your steering wheel.

Remember though, your tires can only do so much at one time.  If you slow the car and turn at the same time, the car must be going slower than if you did either function alone. 


APEX "late"

A late apex occurs when the car touches the inside edge of the road further around the corner than necessary, leading the to the car to use less than the full track width at the exit of the coner unless the driver begins to unwind the steering wheel and/or accelerates the car.


BALANCE

The mix of front vs. rear end grip.  In cornering, the aim is to get a balance of front and rear cornering traction.  In braking, it is a matter of having the front and rear ends of the car do their appropriate share of braking in proportion to their different downloads.

Proper balancing of the car is essential in roadracing.  It is a main factor in obtaining safer / higher speeds.


BLIP

In order to perform a proper downshift at higher speeds, a throttle blip enables an increased engine RPM to allow smooth engagement of the next lower gear.  This is usually done while braking which means you are using the brake and the gas pedals at the same time.

This is NOT something you learn at the track.  You should practice this technique,  often called "heel-toe" downshifting at lower speeds on a clear highway.  You perfect it at the track, but learn it elsewhere.

Missing a throttle blip and downshifting while turning will cause you to spin.


BRAKE POINT

This is a specific point prior to corners where you must be on the brakes, slowing the car for the turn.  If you go past your brake point at a high rate of speed, you will not make the turn.

You are best served and it will be MUCH safer to begin your laps by braking EARLY into a turn and then slowly gaining the skill and confidence to brake later.  Besides, you have more to gain by working on your exit speed.


CONSTANT RADIUS CORNER

A corner which can be defined by a single radius throughout the entire corner.


CORNER ENTRY

This is the area where you are decelerating while making your turn into the corner.  Once your begin the corner, you will then slowly begin to apply throttle, all the way through the turn.

You may also hear your instructor refer to this as your "Turn in Point".


DECREASING RADIUS CORNER

A corner where the first section of the turn has a larger radius than the second part.


DEEP "into a corner"

This is where you delay your corner entry "turn in" as long as possible.  This allows for several things, one of which is a "late apex".


EXIT SPEED

The speed a car can attain at the "track out" point of the corner and consequently the speed carried onto the following straight.

Ah Yes,  this is one of the most important part of road racing, working on obtaining higher exit speeds.  This will where you can greatly decrease your lap time.


HEEL and TOE DOWNSHIFTING

This is where you "blip" the throttle i order to synchronize gears while downshifting, and at the same time continuing to have constant pressure on the brake pedal.

This is not something you will learn quickly.  In fact, it could take a very long time to master it, but if you never start practicing it, you will not get proficient at it.


INCREASING RADIUS CORNER

A corner where the radius of the early section of the corner is tighter than the radius of the later section.


LIFT

Lifting off the gas pedal, even if a small amount.

Be cautioned,  Lifting while in a corner can be very dangerous.  It can cause the rear of the car to get light and spin around to the front.


LINE

This is the "best" path around the course.  The "line" can vary with track conditions and the type of car you are driving as well as the type of tires you are using.

You are looking to find the "fast line" around the track.

Oh is sounds so easy. 


LOOSE

This can also be termed "Oversteer" and can cause the front of the car to turn in more than you thought it would as the rear end comes around.


PINCHING

Adding a bit of steering, usually in the second half of a turn to make up for and early apex.

Don't pinch if you have to. let the car track out to the edge of the track.


REFERENCE POINT

A point on or off the track that you can visualize in order to know when to turn in etc.

NOTE:  If you are going to use a reference point that is off the track, make sure it is not something that can move such as a parked car or spectator.


TRACK CAMBER

Camber is the same as "Banking"

Negative camber is when the track "leans" away from the inside of the corner.

Postive camber is when the track "leans" into the inside of the corner.  

Negative camber works agains you and Positive camber works with you.


TURN IN

This is the point at the start of a corner where the driver begins to turn the steering wheel into the turn.


TRACK OUT

This is the point of exiting the turn where the car gets as close as it can to the outside of the track.


TRAIL BRAKING

Caution,  you will hear this term at the track.  It is NOT  for beginners.

Trail braking is the art of continuing your braking while turning into the corner.  If not done correctly, it will cause you to spin.

Save it until you get some more experience !!!