On the skidpad, we do this on purpose,
for learning. Every tire has maximum grip
at a certain amount of slide. Too much,
grip is less, and it only gets worse.
3(a). How to correct for understeer.
(trying to correct with steering)
If understeering already, the front tires
are already over their limit and any more
steering will only slide more. They’re telling
you they need some load. Slow down a little.
3(b). Correcting with pedals. (putting
more load on front tires)
Give the fronts what they are begging
for: more load. Ease off the gas, or ease
on the brake. Small changes make a big
difference. This is why smooth is fast.
3(c). Correcting with power
oversteer. (the last resort)
In a rear-drive car, enough power can
cause more slip angle than in the front:
steering with the throttle. But, not enough
will only increase your push. It’s tricky to
be consistent and it’s hard on the rear tires
on dry pavement. Best reserved for dirt,
snow, and drifting, where it’s wonderful.
4. How to correct for oversteer
This is big. It will prevent many spins and
crashes. Fast hands fix slides. Stay away
from the pedals. Keep eyes to the inside,
on circle. Steer into the slide. Catch it? The
slide stops? Then recover the steering back
to straight as fast as you can. Correct-catch-
recover. Eyes are always where you want to
go; they tell your hands and feet what to do.
5. When to bail out (damage control)
If you’ve lost it, jam the brakes and clutch. If
you run out of steering, or simply don’t know
what will happen next, stop the car. Great
benefit: it keeps your foot off the gas, and gas
will only make it worse. The clutch keeps the
car running to escape when the spin is over.
SECTION 5: HOW DO YOU WANT
YOUR CAR TO HANDLE?
The skidpad is a good way to feel how
much your car understeers, if any, and
adjust and test changes immediately.
However, it is only steady state cornering,
no corner entry or exit, no esses.
SECTION 6: MAKING ADJUSTMENTS
ON THE SKIDPAD
1. Tire temperatures.
Race teams often use a pyrometer to
measure the temperature of each tire,
usually inside, middle, and outside per
tire, showing how the tire is working. The
skidpad shows realistic temps, right now.
On a racetrack, you can only read a very
deceptive compromise of the last section
you were driving before entering pit lane.
2. How tire pressure affects balance and grip.
Tire pressure is critical because it shapes
and supports the tire’s contact patch,
Camber, caster, toe, Ackerman ratio,
and more, all dynamic, under load,
and all are important to tire grip.
SECTION 7: TAKING WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED
FROM THE SKIDPAD TO THE RACETRACK
1. The skidpad teaches you to catch
slides, saving you from many crashes.
2. But also! Skidpad training applies to every
corner you will ever drive, drifting or not.
It trains your eyes to continue to look into
the turn even when you get sideways, or
when you cannot get slowed down enough.
3. It also teaches the driver the primary
job of a driver: weight management, and
how it determines where you will go,
more than the steering wheel does.
4. You learn that slow hands are smooth
for normal fast driving, and fast hands are
for catching slides that are too big – and
your eyes tell you the difference.
5. You know when to bail out and
jam on the brakes and clutch.
Do skidpad car control training with
a knowledgeable instructor. It will not
only save your race, your car, and your
neck, it will also make you faster!