Racing Line - Hitting the apex



"The apex, in racing terms, is the point on the track where the car is closest to the inside of a corner."

The theory of the driving discipline

The racing line is a theoretical line which defines the position the driver should strive to achieve to maximise their potential to take a corner as quickly as possible. Be aware that this racing line will vary depending on many track conditions and driving situations. These include weather conditions, car class and driving style. So why is it important to understand where the apex is, other than knowing it is where you should be?

When a driver knows they have reached the apex, they can be confident that they can reduce the amount of steering angle applied and start increasing the throttle. i.e. they are 'coming out of the corner'. As the racing line only states that one point on the corner will be the time that the car is closest to the inside of the corer. It doesn't highlight whether this is early or late in the corner. This is where early, geometrical and late apexes are important.

The point of the apex will define where the steepest part of the corner is. In an early apex, the shallowest part of the corner is on the corner entry. If the driver drives an early apex corner when they are trying to out brake another driver. The shallower entry will mean a straighter car, which will mean the driver will be able to brake later in a straighter line. The downside to an early apex is it'll be much harder for the driver to get on the throttle quickly as the exit corner angle will be steeper. Thus the car will be using most of it's grip for latitudinal forces. In contrast to this late apex cornering is preferred for quicker lap times as the driver can apply the throttle sooner as the exit curve is shallower, therefore the steering wheel will be straighter.

Longer corners usually have two distinct apexes. The reason for this is, by definition, you are closest to the inside of the track, twice in the same corenr. On entry and on the exit. This is also know as a double-apex corner in racing.

Different corner types

  1. Fast corners
  2. Slow corners
  3. Chicanes
  4. Esses
  5. Constant radius corners
  6. Hairpin corners
Suggested training schedule
Session Laps Advice
1 5 When you are braking start to look down the track to try and spot your apex. Start to learn which corners are harder to judge than others.
2 5 Make sure you aren't compromising your braking points and start to work out when you need to start turning in to hit the apex.
3 10 Now that you have a plan for your corner entry strategy continue to practice this to increase your consistency. Always trying to understand how your car is turning and how your braking affects the turning of the car.
4 10 Now that you are starting to understand the car and the differences of all the corners you can begin to really test the kerbs and the limits of the track. How much kerb can you use, is the kerb too aggressive, too slippy?
5-7 10 Drive these laps and check back to the reference lap in the analysis to see if there are slightly different lines that could be taken that might save you a little time. Maybe a later apex to get a faster exit speed.
Remember - the instructors will want to see that you are pushing the limits. Don't just play it safe in the middle of the track. Look to get really close to the majority of apexes. Don't worry, if you choose to take a different racing line this will be understood and judged on its potential for improvement.

Understanding the telemetry

Figure 1. 'Missing the apex' shows us how the orange driver is too far away from the apex of the corner. This is forcing the driver to drive steeper angled corner and therefore having to reduce his speed accordingly. In Figure 2. 'The Late Apex' the reference lap driver takes a wide entry into the corner and stays tight to the apex kerb on the latter half of the corner giving them the best opportunity to get on the throttle and exploit the straight run after the corner.


Extra Tips from the Instructors
  • On track, focus your eyes towards where you want the car to be turning. Where the apex is, instead of looking directly in front of your car.
  • Use the free camera angle in the game to see where your apex in a corner is. A good camera angle for this is by placing the camera right above the corner so you can see both the entry and exit. With this angle you will see exactly how you are taking the corner and where you are hitting the apex.