Here at the Ford Racing School, working with both new and experienced drivers, we have found that everyone finds lots of lap-time improvement from working on brake-release technique.

As aggressive racers trying to go fast, we naturally wait until the latest possible instant to brake. Many times we end up at the turn-in point carrying more speed than we wanted and continue applying heavy brake pressure as we turn into the turn. Then we suddenly release the brake, resulting in a poorly balanced car at just the moment we need grip and also probably over-slowing and/or missing the proper line through the turn. These are all bad things that result in slower lap times. The initial braking point and pedal pressure are important, but speed through the corner is hugely dictated by where and how we release that brake pressure.

Most drivers generally tend to brake at a pedal pressure (where 0 is off brake and 10 is maximum braking) that looks like 0—7—7—10—10—10—0. Without going into a long discussion on vehicle dynamics or every possible braking scenario, we can say that a better braking profile would look more like 0—10—10—8—6—4—2—0. This smooth release of the brakes allows the car to remain more stable, with less bouncing fore and aft, at the moment that we need it to be most stable for the turn-in. It also prevents us from over-slowing the turn entry and allows us to finely adjust that turn-in speed. When you go to the brakes in a high-speed, long braking zone, try talking to yourself through a brake pressure “countdown” to make sure you are gradually releasing (trailing off) the brake pressure. Even if your brake release is already fairly good, you will add finesse and control to your driving by focusing on this important technique.

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