Forum Home / Ask the Experts! / Trail Braking

19/01/2008 22:40:24
While reading the Dunlop Circuit Guide I have come across the term Trail Braking... 40 years ago at Brands an instructor told me I should be braking HARD or have my foot to the floor ACCELERATING .... Can someone explain the term Trail Braking to me please ???? Thanks Gary :confused:
20/01/2008 10:09:09
[b]Here ya go.[/b] From [URL=""][/URL] [quote][FONT=Arial,Helvetica]In practice, trail braking works like this: You brake on the approach to a bend in the normal way. Instead of releasing the brake before you turn in, you continue to brake during the turn in phase, and perhaps all the way to the apex. As you travel through the bend you gradually blend out the braking and smoothly transition to the throttle. Typically you might well be back on the throttle after perhaps 1/3rd of the bend.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial,Helvetica]Trail braking is a difficult and subtle technique. [B]It is dangerous to try to learn it on the public road.[/B] If you brake too hard or at the wrong time, trail braking can (and does!) easily cause a spin. The only way to learn trail braking is under instruction on a circuit or on a proving ground.[/FONT] [/quote] If you ever go to one of our activity days at North Weald, Andy Walsh teaches the technique.
20/01/2008 12:57:58
And there was me thinking 'trail braking' was something you did on a horse !!:D
20/01/2008 13:00:44
What a wonderful quote Norman, as this is EXACTLY what Andy Walsh teaches at North Weald on the 'High Speed Bend' activity. You can only enter the bend at (say) 65mph without hitting the imaginary brick wall (stress imaginary). With trail braking you can enter the bed at (say) 75mph and still get around safely. Andy Walsh teaches this as a solution to a common road traffic accident situation - entering a bend too quickly. However, he also explains that this is the fastest way around certain bends on tracks (hairpins being one IIRC). I guess the skill is not only being able to master trail braking, but also deciding which bends would benefit from it. I certainly find that a bit of trail braking helps the MGF with its rear wheel drive and rear engine. This puts the weight on the front wheels to get a better turn in and then once pointed in the right direction (towards the apex) you can bring the power in earlier transferring the weight to the rear to give more grip to the driving wheels. The trick is to do it smoothly transfering weight from front to rear without upsetting the balance.
20/01/2008 13:15:44
And being good at left foot braking, which I'm not, helps too.:)
20/01/2008 13:51:44
Very true - I can only cope with left-foot braking if I don't have to gear change as well. If you see the footwork on Andy Walsh's DVD (or get the chance to passenger with him at North Weald) you can watch him manage left foot braking and clutch/gearchange at the same time - it's awesome. According to Andy, there are F1 drivers who can't left foot brake!
20/01/2008 14:02:21
[URL=""]This [/URL]clip (3.67mb) has a view of his feet. Impressive.
20/01/2008 14:11:55
[quote=norman][URL=""]This [/URL]clip (3.67mb) has a view of his feet. Impressive.[/quote] And a brief glimpse of the High Speed Bend at North Weald - equally impressive!
20/01/2008 16:55:16
[b]Left foot braking ...[/b] Many thanks for your answers to my question ..They have been very informative and the video clip is awesome.. Think I will wait untill I have a sponsor for my tyres before trying out this style of driving ...:eek:
18/07/2008 07:40:24
Hi, I recently did a track day at Silverstone and took the opportunity to have an instruction session. The instructor told me to stay on the brakes slightly when turning into the faster bends to get the nose turned in and kill the understeer. To be honest it goes against what you are first taught "Brake in a straight line". And you get this fear that you are going to snap into oversteer if you keep on the brakes. But when you get used to it you can feel when the front bites and that is the point to release the brakes. It does have a big effect. I was able to carry a good 5mph more speed through a corner without excessive understeer. It also puts a lot less heat into the front tyres and reduces their tendency to grain. Very useful thing to learn to do. Shaf
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