Sports Car and Competition Driving

Sports Car and Competition Driving
Sports Car and Competition Driving
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Item Description

Author Paul Frere, Le Mans winner, Grand Prix driver, and Road & Track magazine's European editor, offers an updated edition of his classic, Sports Car and Competition Driving.

Released in 1963, the first edition of Sports Car and Competition Driving, became an instant hit and established itself as the de facto reference on competitive and sports driving.

In this revised and updated edition, Frere builds on the strengths of the original version. But the basic and proven blend of theory and practice, based on his career as a car racer as well as a trained engineer, are still there for your benefit.

With clear photos and illustrations, this book is required reading for those interested in auto racing, or just in learning on how to become a better driver on the road.

Book Excerpt: Sports Car and Competition Driving: How to Become a Race Car Driver


One of the basic requirements of good driving is a comfortable and purposeful driving position. Not many drivers are fully aware of it's extreme importance, for it not only makes long journeys more comfortable but also improves the precision and rapidity of their car control.

The body must be well supported, yet at the same time the position must afford complete freedom to perform those movements which are normally required during driving. The driver must be able to push all the pedals down firmly, without moving the body, and his right foot must be able to move quickly from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal without the steering wheel fouling the knees. Ideally it should be possible for this movement to be carried out without moving the leg at all. The arms must be perfectly free to allow for movements of large amplitude.

In my opinion, the most important point about the driving position is that the distance between the driver and the steering wheel should be adequate. Most drivers sit too near the wheel because, when they were novices, they thought that by sitting near to the windshield they could better judge the width of the car and see the road better, and they have never thought of changing this position since.

In actual fact, it does not matter a bit if can see the road a few inches nearer the car or not, and very soon a driver learns to know where the nearside of his car is without actually seeing it. The latter point, moreover, does not apply to most modern cars where the nearside is plainly visible however far back the driver sits.

If you make a driver sit further back, he will most probably protest that he does not feel as safe as he did before. But that feeling will soon disappear and he will soon become a better driver just because he is sitting in a better position. One of the reasons for this is that by sitting further back he will not be able to brace himself on the steering wheel on corners. This will improve the precision of his control and will give him a finer feel of the road.

However, the main reason why a driver should sit well away from the wheel is that this position gives him a much better freedom of movement. From the normal point where his hands are poised about "a quarter to three" on the steering wheel, he can turn roughly half a turn either way without the lower hand or arm fouling either the back of the seat or his body, and will still keep complete control over the steering.

For better sensitivity and precision, the hands should be lightly poised on the wheel, perhaps with one thumb holding a spoke for a safer grip, but never should the wheel be gripped tightly.

Subject: Automotive: Racing: Competition driving how-to. | ISBN-10: 0837602025 | ISBN-13: 9780837602028 | Bentley GDFR

  • Publisher: Bentley Publishers
  • Author: Paul Frere, foreword by Phil Hill
  • Pages: 156 - 78 b&w photos and illustrations
  • Binding: Paperback - 7 x 9.25 inches
  • ISBN: 978-0-8376-0202-8
Table of Contents
  • Basics
  • Racing on road and track
  • Cornering
  • From slipping to sliding
  • From theory to practice
  • Practicing, qualifying, racing
  • The race
  • Speed and safety
  • Becoming a racing driver
  • Dos and don'ts
  • The effect of banking angle and tire load on maximum cornering speed
  • The effect of down force on maximum cornering speed
  • The effect of all-wheel drive on handling
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Sports Car and Competition Driving
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