High Performance Principles

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Explore essential techniques in our 7‑step‑guide toward total car control

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Safe speed into bends

This is all about ‘reading the road’ and understanding visual limit points. The limit point is our furthest uninterrupted view of the physical road ahead; usually where the road enters a bend. Visually, it is where the two sides of the road converge: if the right side of the road curves to converge with the left side, the bend is to the left.

As we approach and move through a bend, the limit point will go through 2 or 3 distinct phases. To begin with, the sides of the road may appear to close together more (albeit briefly), effectively foreshortening our vision. Depending on our distance to the bend, and what it appears to do next, determines if and when any braking is needed. A limit point that remains static as we approach it indicates a tight corner: the closer we get before the limit point begins to move further away, the tighter the bend and the lower the speed required. Once the limit point starts to recede in to the distance (the hedgerows on either side of the road pulling apart again, for example), it’s time to smoothly release the brakes and accelerate through the corner.

Conversely, if the limit point opens up, extending our view when we are still some way distant, we know the bend to be modest and can potentially commit to the throttle much earlier and carry greater speed into and through the bend.

When the limit point moves away from us at a constant speed it indicates a constant radius corner and therefore requires a steady, balanced throttle. And when the limit point moves away from us quickly, the bend is ending right there and a progressive throttle can be used to match speed to vision and safety. In short, we can chase the limit point: when it slows down, so must we; and when the limit point speeds up we have the opportunity to do likewise (ever mindful, of course, of other control factors such as available traction). The overriding factor here is always driving at a speed from which you can stop safely in the distance seen to be clear.

This is just one of the many skills we help drivers perfect, both on Millbrook’s amazing Hill Route and On Road. Gain the most from your sports car with Total Car Control.