Calm! Slow! Smooth! Ahead!
If you feel no progress in the race, or there’s a growing fear and/or feeling that your racing is about to get out of control, or you see contenders reducing gap to you, say to yourself:
It’s important to stretch the “o” here. More rigourously:
- Calm down!
- Slow hands, don’t cramp!
- Smooth feet!
- Look far ahead and where you want to go!
Condition yourself throughout the race with respect to that list. Use it as a checklist: Calm, slow, smooth, ahead!
Personally, I realized that I often forget about looking ahead, instead concentrating and fixating on the braking point, apex or contender ahead. I would love an eye tracking device that would then alert me visually “Look ahead, look far ahead”. Without such device, you have to condition yourself.
Conditioning yourself works best by relaxed repetition. Enjoy your hotlaps in practice, loosen your hands on the wheel. Or even, follow the wheel, instead of dictating it where to go; let your wheel find it’s own way. I promise you that you will learn your car and the track better. I think Michael Schumacher once said something similar, about letting your car go through the corner, basically just being a passenger.
Okay, of course if you implement this 100%, you will crash; without input, your car won’t magically turn into the next corner and go straight instead. You don’t want that while going 200 mph. It’s more a mental countersteer to being too crampy on the wheel. Let’s say you are 11 on the crampiness scale, then you want to let the car go for itself at -11, such that you reach a perfect 0.
This mentality will also help you when oversteering or understeering. In simracing, it’s sometimes difficult to judge if you are at the optimal turn-in angle. If you want to test if you can go faster through a corner, try turning in less (let car go a bit more), or try turning in more. If you don’t cramp, your force feedback may tell you a sweet spot for every corner.
Was this really worth a post? Yes! Because I often see racers failing late in the race (totally including myself), or in situations of pressure. Plague yourself a motivational sticker onto your wheel or even into the center of your screen (for myself I went for the wheel sticker option), preaching The Checklist:
Condition that list into your synaptic apparatus. You probably know already, but Racing is approximately 97.235574% about mental conditioning.
Here’s a book recommendation about more mental techniques, Ross Bentley’s Inner Speed Secrets:
He’s got more books, and even if there’s some redundancy, they are all worth the pragmatic read.
Typically Top 2%-5% racer. Tries to not be slow.