Racing 101: Using Understeer to Your Advantage
Written By: ayam
April 10, 2019
How can you use understeer to your advantage in racing?
- What is understeer?
- How to control understeer
- How to take advantage of understeer
In the world of racing, understeer has garnered quite a reputation in the industry. Because of this, most, if not all, try to avoid it. Even if your car is equipped with the best metal parts from the Philippines, there will always be a chance your vehicle will understeer under certain conditions. But one should know that understeering can bring benefits to your performance as well. Whether you’re stuck in Philippine traffic or blazing through the race track, you can use understeer to your advantage. Here’s how:
What is understeer?
Understeer is a simple concept. Essentially, it means that the front tires lose grip before the rear right at the limit of traction. The problem is, you’ll always want to be right at the limit. If the car won’t steer enough, you won’t make it around the corner with a clean line. You can lose a great amount of time or you may even go off track if it fails.
When there’s no understeer, the car is balanced through a corner. This allows you to take the perfect racing line, resulting in blistering lap times. If you understeer, it may be difficult to plow through the racing line because your front tires won’t respond to your inputs and force you wide.
How to Control Understeer
In racing, understeer is often loathed. Many drivers prefer a car that predominantly oversteers. With understeer, it’s extremely difficult to get the car to point to the direction you want it to turn compared to oversteer. But to understand how to control understeer, you have to know that it has nothing to do with your steering inputs.
Understeer is a problem that involves your gas and brakes. Steering excessively will do nothing to recover from understeer. You could crank the steering wheel to full lock and absolutely nothing will happen. What you’ll need to do is slowly ease off the throttle and squeeze on the brakes smoothly, applying a load to the front tires. Everything must be done slickly or your car will snap-oversteer.
How to Take Advantage of Understeer
Vehicles with a front-wheel-drive layout are more susceptible to understeer. Though most race car drivers prefer oversteer, understeer could be your best friend in dozens of racing situations. It is generally safer than oversteer since you won’t risk having to slide about a corner. You can simply correct this and continue on.
Understeer is also generally quicker than oversteer when one needs to make cornering corrections. A predominantly understeer setup is more predictable for drivers around a corner, making drivers much more confident with their drive.
With the right techniques and car setup, you can use understeer to your advantage. Not every driver prefers an oversteer setup. With the right tuning and proper metal parts in the Philippines, you can adapt your driving style to a predominantly understeer car to set some quick times on the lap board. Understeer is not only for the safety of drivers in Manila traffic. It’s to hone the skills of those on the race track as well.