You hear lot of people saying you have to “rotate” the car in a turn. How exactly do you rotate car?
To answer the question, we must first define what rotate means. Rotation is a change in the vehicle’s attitude toward oversteer while cornering. It is generally induced at the entry of a corner to point the car toward the exit for early throttle application. It’s a technique that also can be used midcorner for long sweepers or to counteract early throttle or early turn-in, but the end result is slower. Rotation does not require countersteer as in the case of an oversteer drift. The objective of rotation is to bring the steering closer to zero-steer, where the steering wheel is straight but the car is still turning. Now, let’s answer the question of how to rotate a car.
Corner entry: After slowing the car with heavy braking, carry a bit of trail-braking into the corner with a quick steering input. The increased front grip and rapid change in direction will cause the back to start to slide, exaggerating the turn-in. Since we’ve provoked the rotation we are able to anticipate the slide. Once the front end is pointed at the apex, we can start to unwind the steering and apply the throttle. This stops the rotation and allows the car to power out of the corner.
Midcorner sweeper: In long sweepers where throttle application is needed to maintain speed after turn in, a quick lift of the throttle can help rotate the car to a late apex. Throttle application will stop the rotation.
Midcorner recovery: If you make a mistake in corner entry such that you feel the car is carrying too much speed or running out of track, we can induce a rotation to help the car take a tighter radius and get back on line. In the case of early throttle application, a lift of the throttle should be sufficient to transfer weight from the rear to the front and induce the rotation. In the case of early turn-in or excessive entry speed, it may be necessary to apply a dab of brake while increasing steering input slightly. This becomes a delicate maneuver because too much braking or too much steering will induce understeer and make the situation worse.
Corner exit: This is typically not the place to induce rotation. If it becomes necessary to rotate the car in an attempt to stay on track, then it is better to straighten the wheels to maintain control when the car ends up in the dirt. Make the necessary adjustment on the next lap and get those eyes looking farther down the track.
Keep in mind that inducing rotation also has a slowing effect on the car. We can use this to our advantage if we consider that the early throttle application afforded by the rotation results in a net increase in speed at corner exit and down the next straight.