May 14, 2021

The line that you take through a corner is one of the most important aspects of performance driving and it is not as simple as turning in, clipping the apex and tracking out. For the most part, the late apex line is going to be your best bet, especially in rally. The problem with using an early apex line or a traditional racing line is that it doesn't always set you up well for the next corner or leave you room to fix mistakes.

An early apex line can be problematic for many reasons. Firstly, it makes the radius of the corner much tighter. This means you have to slow down to make it around the corner, otherwise you are forced to track out early. This isn't ideal because it doesn't leave you room to fix mistakes or react to things like changing road surfaces or camber. You will also find that this line doesn't set you up on the right side of the road for the next corner.

In a perfect scenario, the "traditional racing line" can be a good option but, rally stages are never perfect scenarios. Using the very middle of the corner as your apex means you are still turning and tracking out as you exit the corner. Once again, this can create problems if the edge of the road is off camber or you run wide. With a late apex line, you can minimize these risks by staying out wide and finishing the turn earlier.

This means you are finished the turn before the exit leaving you space to fix mistakes and adapt to aggressive road camber and slippery road surfaces. It also sets you up for another late apex line for the next corner, assuming it turns the opposite direction. Another benefit of a late apex line is that staying out wide longer gives you a better sightline through the corner allowing you see further and better interpret what is coming up.

With all that said, at the end of the day, grip is king. You might find that slowing down and hugging the inside is faster because there is a little snow on the inside and the "correct line" is more icy. You don't want to be hard on the brakes turning in out wide if the road is off camber or really slippery. Sometimes you'll even see drivers go way inside and dip a wheel in the ditch to help the car rotate. Ultimately, the best line is the one with the most grip.


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