So there are a number of different steps required. It is always best to get as much information as you possibly can about any track you’re going to race on. Professional racers arrive at the track with many years of experience, including practice taking those same corners multitudes of times.
For those less experienced, it’s worth researching the track you’re about to race on to so that you know what to expect and can plan your corners. This info is on the internet, you can watch YouTube videos of in-car recordings or just talk to the other drivers who are happy to share their knowledge as everyone wants the other drivers to be driving on the best lines to minimize incidents and car damage.
When to Brake and Where to Look
When actually tackling the corner, you need to start by braking to your maximum capacity at your braking point. This gives you the chance to set up for the turn-in point, which is usually not long after you brake. There’s techniques around light initial touches on the brake to transfer weight or more advanced heel and toe braking, so there’s always new things to learn.
When braking you then need to focus your vision on the apex point of the bend. You tend to drive where you look, so always look at the right things! You then turn at the turn-in point until you reach the apex, where you steadily begin to accelerate. You then steer to the exit point, which is not far beyond the corner, and fully accelerate when the car is straight again.
These are all the ideal outcomes you’re aiming for, but they take a lot of practice, so there are a number of other things you need to know about. For example, the tighter the corner, the more steering you’ll have to do, and the less speed you’ll be able to use through it. A mistake many drivers make is failing to utilise the entire width of the track.
You also have to be aware of what impacts the speed you can take these corners with. Generally speaking, the straighter the corner, the faster you can go through it. This is before considering things like bumps and camber, which we’ll leave aside for simplicity here. ‘Hairpin’ corners require much more deceleration than standard bends, and acceleration comes much later as well, which limits the overall speed significantly.