Late apexing is a driving strategy
one would use when racing or trying to kill oneself on public roads. It is apexing because you are hitting the apex
of the curve to raise the effective radius
of the curve
, making it easier to travel through faster. It is late because you are hitting the apex after what would seem like the ideal point for apexing.
Now it doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that cornering on a track is easier if you follow the outside edge of the course, then aim for the inside edge (apex) and then continue back the outside edge. So while the corner may have a radius of 200ft, your turn has a radius of 250ft, which means you can take it faster because it's wider.
But, this is so easy that everyone always does it, resulting in faster times for no one. So, to beat your competitors through the turn, you'll have to start looking deeper than this. Deeper in this case means using a late apexing strategy in cornering.
Why late apex?
Late apexing basically divides the tasks in a corner into three distinct segments with smooth transitions between each. This makes it easier on the driver, because with a regular apexed turn, the driver slows down, begins entering a turn, continues slowing down, then holds a constant speed until she gets near the end of the turn, then she can finally accelerate. Late apexing turns more of the turn into acceleration area, which results in better times.
It also simplifies the weight transfers through the turn. The weight transfers in a center apexed turn push weight to the outside for much longer, lowering traction on that side and thus lowering turn speed. In the center of a late apexed turn, one does all the turning necessary at a low speed, then accelerates out of the turn.
How to late apex
Yes, friends, time for some ascii art:
/ , 5
/ , '
/ , '
| . 4 ___________________
| . ' ,-
| ' /apex
| 3 |
Here is an asciiized late apex path. Your focus should be on doing most of the turning between 3 and 4, before
you hit the apex. After the apex, you start increasing your acceleration and follow through the turn. Now the turn radius of this turn is not as wide as a turn radius of a center apexed turn, so between 2 and 3 you need to slow down more. But you should be done slowing down by 3, so your weight transfers
are much simpler. First, the front wheels will have all the weight. Then the outside wheels. Then the rear wheels as you accelerate away.
What you will end up with is a higher exit speed. Exit speeds are very important, because no matter how much you accelerate, you are stuck with your exit speed, particularly if you're driving identical cars. Assuming the end of the corner has a straightaway long enough to accelerate each car 60mph, then obviously exit speed will decide who gets passed in the straight. Exit speed is a driver's advantage, a faster car is an idiot's advantage. Of course, if you are too close to your competitor coming into the turn you will have to follow his line through the corner, so you can't pass him and your exit speed will be basically the same as his. Many amateur races do not allow passing in corners, so you must use your exit speed advantage to pass in straights after turns. Of course if you enter a long string of turns, you're screwed for a while.