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If you’re not trail braking properly when sim racing, you’re leaving lots of time on the table and making the car more difficult to drive. In this video, I’m going to explain why trail braking is so important in sim racing and how you can improve your performance by trail braking properly.

Hi, I’m Scott Mansell from Driver61 Sim Racing, where we teach you to better your technique, improve your performance, win races and fulfil your driving potential.

To view our Driver’s University tutorial on trail braking, click here.


Now, first of all, we’re going to be looking at some footage where the trail braking could be improved slightly and there’s some room to actually soften off how we work on the brakes.


So let’s take a look at this footage. And what we’re looking for here is, is actually to look at the braking trace just down here.


Now, in a moment, I’m going to slow the footage down so that you can see exactly what the process should look like when we’re when we trail braking with the whole point of trail braking is to control the front of the car and not to let it pop up too quickly.


The braking pressure just down to the bottom left of the corner, you can see we’ve got brake pressure here and then all of a sudden the brake pressure disappears. So let me just rewind it slightly. You can see here as we’re coming down into Stowe at Silverstone, we’ve got a constant brake pressure, which is correct. We should be using the brakes as much as possible when we’re in a straight line and because the car isn’t needing to turn. So that means that you can use all of the tyres grip for deceleration, for braking, because we’re not needing to do that turn.


Here he very quickly releases the brakes. Now, if you think about the dynamics of the car, what’s happening is we’re breaking in a straight line at the maximum force.


So the front is being driven into the track, it has got lots of grip, but then all of a sudden he just pops up off the brake pedal and the front of the car – because of the spring, pushing the body back up again – it lifts the front up and takes all of the weight and therefore the grip out of the front of the car.


Now, what you find here when this happens and the car would generally understeer, you might turn it in. And if the nose is still down and quite heavily, you’ll have some oversteer. But then when you pop up off the brakes, the car will probably understeer. And the issue with this is, first of all, we’re not using all of each tyre’s maximum grip as we’re entering the corner.


We will be getting lots of understeer, but also it makes that car quite difficult to drive because all of a sudden when you pop up off the brake pedal, the balance shifts very quickly.


Imagine we’re kind of we’ve got more grip at the front where we’re breaking in a straight line and then all of a sudden pop-up and the grip actually moves to the rear of the car the way and the grip moves to the rear of the car.


Therefore, it shifts very quickly, which makes the platform of the car very difficult to predict as you’re entering the corner. So what do we do about this and how should we be trail braking into a corner when sim racing?


Well, we’re going to jump into some other footage now to really try and understand how we how we should do this and what the trail braking process looks like. So here we are on board with another one of our subscribers in their sim race.


So we need to look at the trail braking down here. But watch the red display at the bottom just down here. And you’ll see that when this driver is coming out with the brake pedal, they’re doing it in a much more smooth way. So that was a great example. They’re coming into the left hander here. Let me just rewind the footage just slightly. You’ll see that we’re braking quite heavily here. But as we turn the car into the corner, the brake pressure is releasing, to quite a light point, maybe 40 per cent of the maximum pressure. This is excellent sim racing technique.


Now, this is controlling the front of the car, is keeping the front of the car nice and tight, keeping the load there. And most importantly, isn’t just removing all of the grip from the front of the car. And it’s keeping that brake pressure on all the way down almost into the apex.


And that keeps the car nice and tight all the way down. If you were just to jump on the brake pedal and the front would release and would understand. Now, this point in the trail braking as you’re entering the corner dictates the balance of the car.


For example, here we’ve got maybe 30 per cent brake pressure. If the car’s understeering as it’s coming into the corner, actually the next lap or isn’t even within the entry phase of this corner.


If you just increased very, very gently the brake pressure, it would drop a little bit more way and a little bit more grip to the front of the car. And it would give it more grip. It would give it more from balance.


However, if you turn the car in and it oversteered at this point, it actually need to get out the brake pedal just a fraction. We’re not talking jumping out of the brake pedal. We’re talking just easing up off the brakes a little bit.


That would then distribute more grip to the rear because it would allow the front of the car to come up very gently and unbalance the car. So what we’re looking for here in the sim is the maximum braking in a straight line and then easing up off the brakes to this magic point where the car’s perfectly balanced as we’re turning the car into the corner.


And then that allows us to use all of each tyre’s grip all the way through the entry to the corner.


You do this and you’ll find a massive amount of time on the brakes and into the apex because you will actually have generated more overall grip for your car.


Now that you understand how to trail brake in sim racing, check out this short playlist that I’ve put together that includes other information about how to be faster on track. You can check out the video just up here. I’ll see you in the next one.

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