You’re Doing it Wrong – Common Driver Errors Often Mistaken for Handling Issues
Need wider tires on your Civic because it understeers like a pig on roller-skates? Need a set of slicks on your stock Mustang GT because you can’t keep the ass end from coming around on you? If this sounds like you then read on, it could possibly save you a ton of money on unnecessary mods. What if I were to tell you that there’s a good chance your car is just fine the way it is and that the way you’re driving it may be the cause for your “handling issues”.
I have been to more grassroots motorsports events than I can count and if there’s one thing that never fails it’s that you will hear someone blaming their car for why they’re not as fast as they should be. I am not saying that it’s never the car’s fault, but more often than not it's driver error.
For those who don’t know me (probably most of you) my name is Mike Bonanni. I have been circling around race tracks for nearly a decade now but in the past few years most of my track time has actually been spent in the passenger seat. While I do some private and group driver coaching on the side, four days out of the week I am out at Las Vegas Motor Speedway working as a driving instructor for a company called Exotics Racing.
Exotics Racing is really a sweet place; they let anybody with a driver’s license come out and learn how to drive around a race track. The best part are the cars the customers get to choose from; McLaren MP412-C, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8, you name it. If it’s a “supercar” Exotics Racing has one in their fleet. This is what brings out over 60 people per day on average, sometimes up to 150 per day. What this means is that I get to “coach” a lot of people every week, hundreds of them a month, most of which have never turned a wheel around a race track.
Recently a buddy of mine by the name of Jordan Yost and I were destroying the interior of a pristine BMW E92 M3 that we’re turning into an endurance race car (more on that in future articles) and we got to talking about common beginner mistakes that we constantly see. Jordan used to work out at Exotics Racing with me and has had many years coaching for Ron Fellows and a handful of private clients. That conversation led to us sitting down and writing this article on the most common driver errors that might be the real reason why you think your car is handling poorly.