Circuit Driving In The Wet

wet racing  - FEV

Anyone who has ever been on a track in the wet be it in a kart, on a track day or racing in anger will know that the fear of rain is prevalent among drivers. This can be especially the case in the UK but also across most of Northern Europe and many other parts of the world.  However, just because some drivers are worried about the weather does not mean ever driver is. Most racing drivers will know of a few souls who look forward to changeable conditions and racing in the wet or perhaps others that are just happy to put up with them. These drivers are not all bonkers, many of them are just well prepared and have come to terms with the fact that you cannot change the weather but you can change how you drive. So here are some top tips for anyone likely to have to drive on a track in the wet.

Track Walk

It is always good advice to take a track walk whenever you are going racing but this becomes even more important in the wet. By getting up close and personal with the tarmac you should be able to see areas that naturally drain or that naturally flood. You may also see points that might be quick to dry out thus giving you the edge over someone who assumes they are still wet. These points might not be so noticeable at speed and could end your race before it is really started. If you can’t actually get out on the track because another race or session is running then walk around the circuit. It is amazing the amount of info you can get from watching other cars on the circuit but whatever the situation, try and at least look at as many parts of the track as you can.

 Wet Lines

There is a huge amount more to choosing the right line in the wet than can be covered in this post but never the less there are some major points to keep in mind and hopefully practice.

Most drivers know the “racing line” and from now on that will be referred to as the dry line. What a lot of people do not know is that the age old, rubber covered dry line changes characteristics a lot when it gets wet. As the water covers the track the dry line actually gets very slippery indeed, so much so that it becomes the part of the track with the least grip. Rubber and water do not mix too well so the water just pools on top of the rubber making it impossible to get any traction. The best line in the wet is round the outside of the corner; essentially as far off the dry line as possible.

The aim is to go deeper and wider than normal and come across a little earlier than usual. Make every move smoother so start your journey to an early apex sooner, go wider then aim to come in and meet the dry line on the exit. But be aware, as you meet that dry line you will struggle for traction so make sure you get yourself as straight as possible before getting on the throttle otherwise things will not end well.

Be Smooth

Every move can be exaggerated in the wet, especially when it comes to the throttle and brake so be smooth and be gentle. Squeeze the peddles, do not hit them like you might do in the dry. Be happy to sacrifice some entry speed by braking earlier and more carefully, you should then get round smoothly. Apply the same thought to the throttle as you exit the turn and get that power down evenly. You will get the drop on people who insist on being rough in the wet even though you may feel they are carrying more speed in than you.

Visibility

OK, so its obvious you will not be able to see as much as you would on a clear day. This could be down to the air being full of water, mist or it might be due to the fact your screen or visor is covered in rain. What is not so obvious in the heat of battle is that your visual references like braking points might not be visible and so leaving you ironically high and dry in terms of when to hit the anchors. Try and select braking points that are close the the track like the start of a curb or a highly visible marshal hut so you can see them even in bad conditions.

Keep Calm and….

Unlike the saying says, do not just carry on. But do keep calm and have fun! Racing in the wet can be highly rewarding, especially when you get it dialled and start beating people who are normally pretty fast. Use these tips and use your brain and do not let a fear of a wet track affect your performance, use it to your advantage and get yourself on that podium.

If you need any information about our racing fire extinguisher systems for track, circuit or even historic cars then get in touch today.

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