What is a course or course?
If you don’t have a clear idea of what this is, this article is a perfect read. Here you will learn what it basically is and how to optimize it.
While a racing line is one of the most essential and common observations on a racing track, few people know its function and meaning. In motorsport, the race line indicates the optimal path around the racetrack. In most scenarios, this line uses the full width of the track and further extends the radius of a turn. He begins by entering the outside edge of the turn, touches the top which is a point on the inside and exits the turn by coming back to the outside.
Runners generally choose to stick to the race line because it is the best technique to minimize the overall time needed to complete the course. As this is the best route around the race track, it can easily be seen on the asphalt as tire skid marks from previous cars.
Optimization of the race line
The main goal of any racing car driver is to find the optimal line around the racing track. This will ensure that they complete a trip around the track in the least amount of time possible and do not make any mistakes around it. However, this line can vary depending on whether the driver wants to complete the lap as quickly as possible, save fuel and car tires, or overtake another driver in the race. The race track is quite often separated into different parts, like chicanes, standard turns, straights and double tops. In addition to that, these standard turns can be further broken down into a deceleration phase at the entry of the turn, which is followed by the top and finally an acceleration at the exit of the turn.
This is the first phase of a turn and begins with threshold braking in a straight line. The main objective of the driver here is to achieve the highest rate of deceleration. This phase is followed by the turn in which the driver begins to steer the vehicle towards the summit. Usually, most drivers learn to finish braking before this point and make a more circular turn with a more constant speed towards the top.
However, in recent years, several drivers have started to implement track braking when entering the bend. Drag braking essentially occurs when brake pressure is transmitted to the turn point, allowing the car to decelerate faster due to the forces created by the tires. It also helps the car to turn in a more optimized direction. This further causes the car to travel on an Euler spiral path which decreases the radius to the top. If done right, it will result in a higher average speed and shorter elapsed time than a conventional circular entry.
Simply put, the top, better known as the clipping point, is inside the corner and at the closest point a vehicle passes through. For ease of understanding, this is the point where the vehicle has the slowest speed and minimum radius in the turn.
It can further be classified into an anterior peak and a subsequent peak. While an earlier vertex will reach the inside of the wedge, the later vertex has a larger radius. On top of that, the first peak has a higher speed. A driver primarily chooses his peak based on the car’s cornering capabilities.
This phase begins as soon as the car begins to accelerate past the apex. It is often considered the most important aspect of any turn that helps reduce lap time. A driver must therefore optimize his output performance. The main objective in this phase is to provide maximum acceleration while pointing the vehicle in the right direction for the straight ahead.
Any vehicle that has a lower acceleration potential will do this primarily by applying full throttle from the top and choosing a more circular path. On the other hand, vehicles that have a higher acceleration potential may experience wheel spin and be unable to reach top speed until the turn is completed. This could further create a corner exit path with a higher radius that could mirror the Euler spiral seen in the corner exit.