CONSISTENCY – It’s a racing buzzword, consistency is key and all that.
But if you are not at the sharp end of the grid and hitting times all within a tenth then something must be wrong.
Consistent times means consistent errors.
It is possible that you are making the same error the same way every lap, but in my experience this is unlikely. What is more likely and more mysterious is how consistent drivers tend to make the same number of errors per lap, but completely different errors!
This kind of discovery is usually hidden in the data which nobody bothers with – a driver will usually say:
Look how consistent I am! Whats the point of looking at data when my laps are all within a tenth???!!!
What the data always shows is that the pace IS there, but on every lap a few tenths is lost somewhere. Typically it will be like this:
- Lap 1 – braked too late chicane, lost 2 tenths on exit, rest of lap quick
- Lap 2 – 3 tenths up until final corner then lost traction on exit and dropped the 3 tenths
- Lap 3 – hit kerb for first ever time at esses, went sideways and lost 3 tenths
You get the picture…..
What does it mean when seeming random errors are the problem?
When I quiz a driver on what is happening on each lap then we start to reveal the nature of the problem. For example on lap 3 above the driver hit a kerb that was never used before, it shows up in the data as a lone rev spike. Here’s what a driver will say:
Oh yeah I forgot about that – well I thought I’d give it a try because I saw no 35 do it and he’s quick
Trying things out is essential – 100%
But trying things out randomly and forgetting the result is a habit many drivers have and it murders their lap times.
Here’s what I suggest you try instead. Have a set way of driving the track, have your method for each corner figured out and do that over and over. When you feel the urge to try something random, resist the urge BUT JUST FOR NOW. Instead, decide what you will try BEFORE you go out on track and only try that one thing and try it multiple times.
Now you will discover if something works or not with certainty. And when you drive laps without trying random stuff, you will notice your laps will just get better as you do the same thing better and better. When you add in a new discovery that worked, BOOM, you go even quicker and that’s the route to consistent and fast laps.