Track Terms

Learning some basic track terms prior to a driver education event can help drivers communicate more effectively with instructors, but is not mandatory for participation.

Apex: The area near the middle of the turn closest to the inside edge.

Balance: Don't add more gas, brakes or steering. Just be smooth.

Bite: The amount of traction the tires have.

Bleeding the Brakes: A procedure to remove air and contaminated fluid from the brake lines.

Blipping the Throttle: A quick stab on the throttle to quickly raise the RPM's of the engine in order to downshift without damaging your engine or drivetrain. Done in conjunction with the clutch and brake during heel and toe. Best facilitated by moving your right knee to the right.

Brain Fade: When the driver finds it difficult to concentrate on the driving task.

Cheating In: Moving away from the edge of the track before you begin the turn. This has the effect of making the track narrower.

Curing Brake Pads, Bedding in, Seating Brake Pads: Removing the gases from the brake pad material by alternately heating and cooling the pads. Done before you go out on the track.

Double Clutch: The original way to heel and toe before fully synchronized transmissions became common.

Down Shift: Changing the transmission to a lower gear.

Feeding in...Tracking in: Gently increasing steering wheel input as you enter a turn. Also used in reference to throttle pressure.

Heel and Toe: Using the right foot to depress the brake pedal and blipping the throttle at the same time. Blipping often done with the side of the foot.

Locking up/lock up: Engaging the brakes so hard that the wheels no longer rotate. Normally not a desirable condition because you lose adhesion with the track.

Oversteer: When the car wants to turn more than you want it to and you have to decrease the amount of steering wheel movement to get the car through the turn.

Red Mist: Time to get off the track because you are fatigued or have lost your concentration and are not safe.

Smooth: The style of driving that is without jerky changes in the direction of the car. The smoother you get, the safer and faster you drive.

Squeezing: Gently adding pressure to the brake or throttle.

Suspension: Includes the springs, shocks, and sway bars and determines much of the inherent handling characteristics of the car.

Threshold Braking: Applying the brakes and holding them until the wheels are just about to lock up. The quickest way to slow down. Only done while traveling in a straight line.

Throttle Steering: Increased or decreased throttle to assist in the making a turn. In understeering cars, a quick decrease in throttle will transfer more weight to the front wheels making them bite better and helping to reduce the understeer.

Tighter: Add a little more steering input so that you will be closer (tighter) to the apex of the turn.

Track out Area:  The region on the outside edge of the track where you should be when you finish you turn.

Traction: How well your tires stick to the road surface.

Trail Braking: Holding the brake pedal down just as you initiate your turn (usually after threshold braking approaching the turn). This shifts the weight of the car to the outside front wheel to increase the bite of the tire. (Reserved for experienced drivers)

Transition: A very gentle turn.

Turn In Area: The region on the outside edge of the track where you begin the turning procedure.

Turtles: Those bumpy things just outside the normal track area designed to get your attention to move back on to the track. (Rumble strips, Speed bumps)

Understeer: When the car would rather go straight than turn where you are pointing it and you have to increase the amount of steering wheel movement to get the car to get through the turn.

Up Shift: Changing the transmission to a higher gear.

When you Spin, Both Feet In: If you lose control of the car and it starts to spin, hold the brake pedal to the floor with one foot, and the clutch with the other. Do not release the pedals until the car is completely stopped.

Next Section: Track Flags


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