Everybody loves a close race, nobody loves being wiped out in the first corner. To win a race you must at least finish the race and all can be lost in the first hot seconds if care is not taken. Let's take a brief look at some important considerations when a race starts and a swarm of cars goes thundering towards turn 1.
- When the lights go green there is always going to be a mad dash for the first corner, all drivers want to make the best start they can. - Rarely will all cars launch from the line evenly, a car in front of you may be slow getting away. - Very few (and perhaps none) of the drivers will have a perfect line into the first few corners as all cars jostle for position and get settled. - Everybody's tyres are cold, grip levels are low. - Most drivers would now have opponents close by them but sitting in their blind spot, requiring a head turn to check their actual positions. - The greatest potential for lag in LFS is when a large field of cars is bunched up together.
If there is ever a recipe for a multi-car pile up, Turn One (T1) of almost any race track is the mixing bowl and a bunch of racers hungry for victory are the ingredients. Let's take a look at and discuss ways to avoid T1 pile-ups and increase your chances of finishing the race in one piece so you can enjoy your victory cake.
- When the lights go green, apply the throttle smoothly (don't stomp) and try to get away cleanly with as little wheelspin as possible. - This is a good time to quickly glance left and right to see where your nearest rivals are and see how well they have launched from the start. You now have a better idea of your relative positions and are less likely to end someone's race through a poorly-timed move. - It is best not to throw your car into T1 with wild abandon, if someone is beside you entering the turn you should leave them room to corner, you want to avoid car-to-car contact. Better for both of you to corner carefully than to cause a 6 car pile-up. - Be prepared to back off or brake, don't rely on luck to get you through. Be aware that other cars are prone to error in these first few turns and get ready to evade an accident ahead. - Cars in front may brake heavily, avoid contact. Shunting the current world champion out of the race in the first ten seconds is a rather embarassing way to end your (and his) event or championship. Public races should be treated the same way. It is a common error that we have all made or will make early in our training and, as you will find out, it is the worst way to be taken out of a race. No matter if it's the first or last corner of a race be very, very wary of rear-ending another car.