I’ve gotten much better in pretty much all aspects of my driving but something I can’t seem to grasp is looking farther ahead. I catch myself looking too close ahead of me and then when I lift my head/eyes up I can definitely tell an improvement in my driving. I can’t quite seem to keep myself looking ahead for the whole practice session/race. Has anyone else struggled with this and is there something I should/can be doing? I definitely drive better when I look ahead but find myself reverting to essentially looking down and am really struggling with it.
Overdo it. Look around, actively, not just ahead. There’s multiple places ahead that can be noted, briefly. It takes effort but becomes easier.
Try to be looking one step ahead while referencing when needed, near term stuff. Don’t linger looking at a thing. Move on, refer back if you have to but trust your brain.
Its alot like stuff we take for granted. Think of the process when you go to pick up something on a table. Do you stare at the object? Do you stare at your hands? What are your brain and eyes doing when you do something like that? Apply that to your driving. It’s the same thing but with consequences.
I guess handling a chainsaw would be more analogous, danger wise, but you get my drift. It’s the lack of danger that allows us to unthinkingly act in the picking up off the table. We aren’t on “high alert”. We look at what needs to be looked at, we observe rather than fixate. Set your eyes free and your kart will follow! Or something.
Right, so I started in 2017 in 206 but I’ve only done about 7 races. Always been kind of embarrassed to say it lol, I’ve been essentially practicing on and off for 6 years. This is going to be my first full season, I’ve already done one race (racing x30 senior). Life and other stuff always pushed actual races to the back. Good news is i am really consistent but still about 2ish seconds off the leaders. This year I’m really determined to just get out there and improve.
OK, so when we start driving, there is so much to do (especially mentally), so we tend to break the ‘process’ of a lap down into ‘points’ (braking point, turning point, apex point, etc). This is an effective way of dealing with the mental overload to get started, but it tends to create a very digital, sequential and choppy driving experience.
Many drivers naturally transition away from this point-based driving model in favor of a more task based approach (for example seeing and dealing with a turn as an entire entity or process instead of a collection of points to be connected. That way of driving tends to be smoother… like flowing around the track on the line of your choice. To do this, you need different types of visual information, for example you may need clarity and sharp focus for an important point that is timing critical (e.g. braking points), but for the apex or exit of a turn, you want to open up your vision (focus your vision on awareness instead of a specific thing or location). When using this less narrowly focused way of seeing, you free mental resources (attention), which can be used to improve your sensitivity to traction, racecraft, etc.
That said, some drivers have a hard time naturally making this transition from sequential to flow based driving, but for sure it can be developed. I would recommend imagining how flow based driving would feel to you at your track(s), and then train that feeling every night as you fall asleep with imagery.
I have an article about concentration here, that describes this idea in more detail.
If you have a buddy who has similar pace, you could follow him/her from a couple seconds back. For me that naturally takes my eyes farther up the road, simply by having a moving target. About 1.5-2 seconds would be a good gap. If this is successful then you can do the same thing just with static targets on track.
There’s some deeper stuff that I do that probably goes into @speedcraft’s area of expertise. I’ll expand on that once I have time to organize my thoughts clearly enough to articulate lol
When I raced motorcycles I would practice looking at a blank wall and try to expand my peripheral vision. It was somewhat successful. I’ve heard of autocross schools blanking the bottom part of windshields to make the drivers look ahead.
This is a good point. It’s a bit odd on screens since it’s 2d. However, you can still mess around with it and your brain adjusts. VR is more natural.
My experiences with this are such that going “broad” and using peripheral plus center vision to try to capture everything all at once leads to being ahead of kart. You are too “in the distance” and have poor info about the near term stuff.
This is why I’m always screaming about active scanning. See a thing, note it, move on. Refer back if needed. Small slices of specific visual inputs. They combine together in your head as the map.
Here something from Secrets of Speed, maybe applies to cars more, that integrates all what we’ve instinctively do after repeated lessons on the track. I don’t think anyone could learn and execute all of this.