Advanced driving techniques are a set of skills and strategies that allow you to operate your vehicles at the highest possible level of performance while maintaining safety and control. These techniques are used primarily by professional and competitive drivers, but can also be beneficial for anyone who wants to improve their driving skills.
Examples of advanced driving techniques
- Heel-toe downshifting. This technique involves using the right foot to brake while simultaneously blipping the throttle with the heel of the same foot, in order to match the engine speed with the transmission speed during a downshift.
- Trail braking. This involves braking while entering a turn and gradually releasing the brake as the vehicle turns in, in order to transfer weight to the front wheels and improve traction.
- Weight transfer. This involves shifting the weight of the vehicle forward or backwards, depending on the situation, in order to improve traction and stability. For example, when accelerating out of a turn, the weight should be shifted to the rear wheels to maximize traction.
- Throttle control. This involves carefully modulating the throttle to control the speed and acceleration of the vehicle, particularly during cornering or other manoeuvres that require precise control.
- Vision and scanning. This involves looking ahead of the vehicle and scanning the road for potential hazards, in order to anticipate and respond to changes in road conditions or other vehicles.
- Smooth inputs. This involves making smooth and gradual inputs to the steering, brakes, and throttle, in order to maintain control and stability of the vehicle.
While performance driving techniques involve a range of skills and strategies designed to optimise a car’s performance and achieve faster lap times or better results in competitive driving. Here are some techniques that are commonly used in performance driving:
- Braking technique. This involves using the brakes to slow the car down as quickly as possible without losing traction or control. It is important to use the right amount of pressure on the brake pedal and to modulate the brakes smoothly.
- Acceleration technique. This involves applying the throttle smoothly and gradually to avoid wheel spin and maintain traction. It is important to use the throttle judiciously, especially when exiting corners, to avoid losing grip and control.
- Cornering technique. This involves taking the optimal line through corners to maintain speed and minimise time spent turning. This requires precise steering, smooth inputs, and proper weight transfer.
- Shifting technique. This involves shifting gears smoothly and quickly to maintain the car’s momentum and maximise acceleration. It is important to use the clutch correctly and to match engine and wheel speed when shifting.
- Vision and concentration. This involves focusing on the road ahead and anticipating upcoming turns, corners, and obstacles. It is important to maintain concentration and avoid distractions while driving.
- Vehicle setup. This involves adjusting the car’s suspension, tire pressures, and other settings to optimise performance for specific driving conditions. This requires knowledge of the car’s mechanics and how different settings affect its behaviour on the track.
By mastering these techniques and incorporating them into their driving style, performance drivers can achieve faster lap times, better results in competition, and a more enjoyable driving experience.
Driving a supercar like a Ferrari requires a high level of driving skill, as these vehicles have a unique set of characteristics that can make them challenging to drive. Here are some of the special skills that are important for driving a supercar:
- Advanced driving techniques. Supercars are capable of high speeds and have powerful engines, so it’s important to master advanced driving techniques like heel-toe shifting, trail braking, and weight transfer to control the car’s movements at high speeds.
- Precision and finesse. Supercars are designed for precision and finesse, so it’s important to be precise with your inputs and to have a delicate touch when it comes to acceleration, braking, and steering.
- Spatial awareness. Supercars have a low centre of gravity and can be wider than a typical vehicle, so it’s important to have good spatial awareness to avoid curbs, other vehicles, or other obstacles on the road.
- Confidence and focus. Driving a supercar requires confidence and focus, as these vehicles are designed for high-performance driving and can be challenging to control at high speeds. Drivers must be able to maintain concentration and focus on the road ahead while navigating curves and other obstacles.
- Technical knowledge. It can be helpful to have a technical understanding of the car’s components and systems, as this can help you identify any issues that may arise while driving and make adjustments to optimize performance.
Driving a supercar requires a combination of advanced driving techniques, precision and finesse, spatial awareness, confidence and focus, and technical knowledge. By mastering these skills and approaches, you can get the most out of a high-performance vehicle like a Ferrari.
I do read books on advanced and performance driving and here are some of the good ready materials by Ross Bentley. Ross Bentley is a highly respected driving coach and author, and his books are widely regarded as authoritative sources of information on high-performance driving. These books provide a wealth of information and advice for drivers looking to improve their skills and technique and can be a valuable resource for both amateur and professional drivers.
- “Speed Secrets: Professional Race Driving Techniques.” This book covers a range of topics related to high-performance driving, including driving technique, car setup, and race strategy.
- “Speed Secrets 2: More Professional Race Driving Techniques.” This book expands on the topics covered in the first book, with additional advice on vehicle dynamics, handling, and driving techniques.
- “Speed Secrets 3: Inner Speed Secrets.” This book focuses on the mental aspects of high-performance driving, including concentration, focus, and visualisation.
- “Ultimate Speed Secrets: The Complete Guide to High-Performance and Race Driving.” This book combines the content from the previous three books, with additional advice on car setup, data analysis, and race strategy.
My advice for those who want to learn fast driving is to prioritise safety and seek out professional instruction. Here are some specific tips.
- Start with the basics. Before attempting any advanced driving techniques, make sure you have a solid foundation of basic driving skills, such as braking, steering, and accelerating.
- Seek professional instruction. Consider taking a course in high-performance driving from a reputable driving school or instructor. Professional instruction can help you learn advanced driving techniques in a safe and controlled environment, and provide valuable feedback to help you improve your skills.
- Practice in a safe environment. Don’t attempt high-speed driving on public roads or other unsafe environments. Instead, practice in a safe and controlled environment, such as a racetrack or a dedicated driving course.
- Use proper safety gear. Always wear appropriate safety gear, such as a helmet, driving suit, and gloves, to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
- Learn from experience. As you practice and gain experience, pay attention to your mistakes and areas where you can improve. Use data and telemetry tools to analyse your performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Respect the limits of your vehicle. Always drive within the limits of your vehicle and your own skill level. Pushing beyond these limits can be dangerous and result in accidents.
By following these tips, you can learn advanced driving techniques safely and effectively, while enjoying the thrill and excitement of high-performance driving. Happy Driving and remember my mantra below on driving that you might find useful.
“Safety First, Last & Always”