After a year of focusing almost exclusively on autocross related content, let’s turn our attention to something most applicable for track driving, though still applicable to all forms of racing.

A student of the Beyond Seat Time online course (The Complete Autocrosser’s Manual) brought this to my attention. Some of you may have come across this before, but it was new to me, and definitely something worth sharing!

Race Optimal, conceived of and built by Ricky Vesel, is a website/service that has a library of 100s of race tracks from around the world, and uses simulations and computations to find the best line around the race tracks for different types of cars. If that’s not cool enough, they can also give you a customized simulation of the best line around any of those tracks for your specific car.

Check it out here:

There are some really interesting observations to make from the computed optimal lines. For example…

  • Q1: Why do you think the Miata and the F1 car have the most similar looking lines? If you look at the table representing what happens if a particular car drives on another vehicles ideal line, the Miata and F1 car lose the least amount of time when using each others’ lines compared to when they drive the GT3 or motorcycle line. Why do you think that is?
  • Q2: Why do you think the GT3 and motorcycle lines look more similar? Just as the question above, the GT3 and motorcycle lose more time when driving a Miata or F1 line. Why do you think that is?

Note that the computed/simulated lines are not 100% perfect. For instance, there are instances where it generates a lines where the driver brakes, then accelerates, and then brakes again while going into a corner.

Corner 7 at COTA
Laguna Seca

Despite these minor artifacts, the overall result is astoundingly accurate for most tracks! Let me know what you think about the 2 questions posed above.

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  1. Possibly due to similar HP to grip ratios.

  2. I havent driven that many cars on track (mainly just mine) but at least on the sim world, what happens is that the fastest way to go around a corner depends greatly on car setup. Even on the exact same car, a widly different setup could produce a different line thru corners. It looks to me as if the GT3 car in this example suffers from understeer and has to trail brake deeper into the corner and needs to take corners a bit more “square”, while the miata and the F1 car have very good rotation and can turn in early and get most of the turning done before the apex.

    My 2cents on the matter.

  3. Maybe throttle input to grip ratio…which is basically HP to grip ratio

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