the trouble starts, when it can moveweight back. A little power makesa car more stable if it’s hooked up.
Staying on the gas helps keep itstable. Unless something gets you allslideways, then you’ve got to backoff. Snapping abruptly off the gascan get you in trouble, too, of course,but if you’re already too sidewaysthen it won’t matter any more, sostay away from the loud pedal. Catchit with your hands, your steering.
I have not yet encounteredelectronic controls that correct andrecover steering for us, but they dooften use the brakes to straighten acar. Just last year I saw a driverlessprototype from Stanford Universitydrifting a skidpad at ThunderhillRaceway, so it’s a safe bet it’s coming.
So, never think to power outof trouble, you’ll just crash harder(except front-drives). Remember,does your stability control everadd throttle? Absolutely not.
require the driver to ease off thethrottle. You will definitely findyour electronic driver aids cuttingback on power if you get greedy;that’s traction control, but you’llnever find them rolling power on.
Power in times of trouble: “If youare not sure where you are going,why go there faster? When you’rein trouble, throttle only makes youcrash faster. When in doubt, bothfeet out.” Quotes from my mentorand hero Terry Earwood and the SkipBarber Racing School, once again.
I’ve got to complete the set:“If you spin, both feet in.” Also, aTerry and Skippy phrase, just incase you missed some of my earliercolumns. If you totally lose it, jam thebrakes, and hold ’til stopped. Clutch,too – evermore rare in today’s world,I know – to keep the engine running.
I know, I know, you say you have“saved” the car many times by jammingon the gas to “power out of it.” Well, ifthat worked, then you weren’t reallyin trouble, or God saved it, not you,my fortunate friend. Here’s why: If youare at or beyond the limit of tire grip,then what happens when you add
“If accelerating made your car more stable,
then the rear tires had enough traction to
transfer weight back and improve rear grip”
GOING TOO FAR(ABOVE) Computeraids are generallyturned off for mostSCCA performancedriving events –which can result insituations like this.
power? You make it worse, becauseadding power can only make it slidemore. A sliding tire cannot handlethe increased torque. Drift, anyone?
What you need is less siding to regaincontrol. Reduce the slide by counter-steering, not with power. Fix it with yourhands, not your feet. Make sense?
If accelerating made your carmore stable, then the rear tires hadenough traction to transfer weightback and improve rear grip, andyou just got lucky. Or maybe youhad all-wheel drive or front-wheeldrive, and the front tires had enoughtraction to transfer some weightto the back. All-wheel drive couldhelp or hurt a slide by accelerating,depending on the torque split. Frontdrive will actually help it, but if youcounter-steer and don’t recoverthe steering, it’ll hook-slide andshoot you off into the next countyanyway. It’s risky for that reason, buteven if backwards in a front-drivecar, throttle can still straighten itout – sometimes. I’ve done it. Testthis hypothesis at your own risk.
To be your helpful friend, powerhas to come into play early, before