When most people think of the world’s greatest racing drivers fighting to be first at the checkered flag, they think of speed, guts and bravado, of brilliant overtaking moves and the car’s raw power. What is often not realized is that the real challenge for a driver is not posed by the other drivers but rather by his own constant effort to find the best racing line.
The racing line is the most efficient, fastest path around the track. In short, drivers do not think of racing in terms of always going at top speed, but of finding the most economical trip around the circuit and shaving as many tenths of a second off their lap times as they can.
“You are trying to find the shortest way around the track,” said Heikki Kovalainen, a reserve driver for the Caterham team and former driver at several other teams. “You are cutting the corner when you can, going from side to side when it’s beneficial.”
“You don’t think that you are trying to go as fast in terms of kilometers per hour, as fast as possible,” he added, “but as fast in terms of lap time, as efficiently as possible.”
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