Guest contributor and real-life racer, Canaan Manley, shares some timeless racing lessons below. Be sure to put them to good use in Forza Motorsport 7!
I had the fortune of meeting and racing with many generous people in the early 2000s. These mentors openly shared their hard-earned tips and tricks. And this information helped me progress to the expert motorcycle class before a nasty accident injured my hand.
When I look back there are five things that made a difference in my racing that I would like to share with you too – pass it forward, if you will. These real-world tips can improve your times in any realistic racing game like Forza Motorsport, Project CARS and others.
#1: Settle the Suspension Before the Corner
As you approach a corner there is a lot to do. We want to take note of our surroundings and braking markers, move to the outside, and get most of the braking done.
The biggest thing is to make sure we do all of that before we start cornering.
We want things to be settled and balanced as we turn because cornering is going to take a lot of traction. Anything unnecessary like last minute moves to the outside or heavy braking past turn-in points will reduce cornering ability.
#2: The 90/10 Rule for Braking
So how much should you brake as you approach a turn? As your driving skills increase you can do about 90% of your braking before transitioning into the corner, and then use a minimal amount of braking to slow until the apex of the corner (the last 10% reduction).
This continued minimal braking in the corner is known as “trail braking.”
For example, if you know you need to shave 50 MPH before you turn, then you’ll reduce your speed by 45 MPH with heavy braking in a straight line, and then use a light brake application to reduce another 5 before the middle of the turn (apex).
#3: Only Apply Maximum Braking While Traveling Straight
The most efficient way to scrub speed before entering a corner (the 90% I mentioned) is maximum braking. And we can only get maximum braking in a straight line.
Heavy braking while also trying to turn will just send us off the track.
One other item to consider will be that the 90% of braking we are talking about is not fixed in distance or length or time. It is going to change depending on surface condition, vehicle condition, and speed at the end of the straight-away. Something like a rainy race could require a longer distance to slow down due to reduced traction.
This tip along with remembering my braking points allowed me to take a podium finish in a race where I had battled for the last few laps with another racer back and forth. He missed the brake marker, where I hit mine as I needed to, and passed him on the inside of the corner and beat him by a few lengths to the checkered flag.
#4: Never Coast in a Corner
Most of racing is focusing on: (1) slowing down, or (2) speeding up. Notice I didn’t mention coasting in there? Coasting costs us precious time.
We always want to be applying some brake or throttle. It’s a simple idea that will save time all over the track.
#5: Practice Before It Matters
A race isn’t the time to hone skills. When I first started to get onto the track, one of the things I would hear over and over was “get more seat time.” Time on the track makes a big difference in your skill level.
In gaming, there are generally career races, practice laps, challenges and many other options to hone our skills outside of a race that matters. This is the time to test different settings, try different lines, and make all the mistakes we need to in order to get better.
If we can’t run our absolute fastest lap in practice, we’ll never be able to do it in a race!
I have always kept a minimum 5:1 ratio in mind when practicing compared to a race. If we plan to run a race consisting of five laps, we need to put in at minimum twenty-five laps of practice. We should be comfortable with all corners and straights, all sections of the track, and be able to see the track in our mind with our eyes closed. We should be able to visualize all our shift points, both up and down, and into and out of the corners.
This is tough because many career modes or multi-player lobbies have us jumping between cars and tracks. But put in the practice ahead of time and you are prepared to run your best lap times and stay ahead of the pack.
Want more tips like this? Be sure to check out The Keys to Speed course.