Our friends at Racers' HQ posted a podcast about aggressive steering inputs, and how they believe that it's the key to racing. They're sorta right. Here's the full explanation of the theory behind aggressive steering, why it's better, and why you're never taught to use aggressive steering inputs at an amateur racing school.
Above is the URL of the podcast. In the podcast, Matt Covert discusses his opinion on "Smooth is Not Faster, Someone's Been Lying."
Well.... According to whom is smooth driving not faster? A beginner or an expert. That's the question Matt should have asked: who's the sort of driver who can drive at the ragged edge of performance and still nail down a flawless lap? I've seen two very distinct talent levels; the levels of the amateur racing driver, and the levels of the experts. The two distinct talent levels are very remarkably different. Telling both of these two groups to enter a corner at a certain speed, and at a certain braking point produces two results: the experts will tell you that the speed was too slow. The amateurs will crash. The best racing instructors will give the experts the absolute maximum speed through the corner that they can do, as a challenge. "Can you get through Turn 2 at an apex speed of 154 km/h?" which the expert will instinctively match or better, without conscious thought. The racing instructor will tell the amateur "I want you to try to make it through that corner without dropping below 130 km/h on this lap. Get accustomed to the corner and the track."
Neither the amateur, nor the expert crash, in this case. And, that's the true goal of a racing instructor. Following the advice Matt gives without proper practice and due diligence will result in a crash. Sorry, Matt, I'm going to be the first of your critics to mention that you're ENTIRELY wrong to suggest that everyone should focus on finding the ragged edge of their potential, without any idea of whom you're talking to, nor the experience level of the target audience.
Racing is not an overnight change. Racing changes overnight, but racing can not be taught overnight. It takes a lifetime to learn to race, and only an instant to win a race. Knowing the correct time for everything is the true key to winning races.
If you think that you're experienced enough to drive a car at the ragged edge limit of your potential, that's fine. Read below.
Before you go out and prove to everyone that driving at the ragged edge of adhesion, and being in a state of neutral steer as often as you can, during a race, you need to consider the following elements.
P.S., since Matt mentioned iRacing, I'll echo his thoughts here: If you're doing sim racing, yeah, you should be driving with aggressive steering inputs. Definitely! You don't pay for replacing tires in sim racing! You don't pay for crash damage. You don't pay for brake pads. You go out, win, and celebrate. But, real life is not like sim racing. Reconsider whether you *really* want to attack with the 10/10ths steering inputs - and whether you can afford the increased tire and brake wear.
As ever, good luck and good motoring!
Drew Geier is a Canadian petrolhead whose main mission is to make motoring accessible, enjoyable, and affordable well into the future, by improving the art, hobby and lifestyle of motoring. He builds cars, and he writes about other builds. He's built a Subaru WRX and is building a Honda Civic EK.