Car control with Catie: how to do a J-turn
Extreme E driver, TV presenter and British rallying star Catie Munnings shares some driving wisdom
I first learned a J-turn, or as I know it a ‘reverse flick’, when I began grass autotesting when I was 14. Although it looks spectacular, it’s probably one of the easiest tricks. It needs two main components – speed and commitment. You reverse in a straight line, flick the car, rotate 180°, and keep moving without losing speed. Like any trick requiring a slide, I’d suggest practising in a grass field, where it’s easiest to get the grip to break away and there’s loads of room.Advertisement - Page continues below
BACK IT UP
The first step is reversing in a straight line, the more momentum the easier it’ll be to rotate – try 20mph. Next comes the flick. Depending on if you’re rotating left or right, you can hold onto the headrest of the seat next to you and look over your shoulder to get stability as you flick the car. Lift off and simultaneously add a quarter to half a turn of lock to break the grip of the front. If you want the front of the car to flick round to the left, steer right and vice versa.
The trick is to prepare yourself for what happens after the front has rotated 180°. Most first attempts result in a stall as you’re so shocked it’s worked – it’s a strange sensation when it slides, you’re closer to the ‘action end’. The key is to straighten the wheel just before you hit the 180° mark, the momentum will finish the rotation while you focus on quickly shifting gear to be in first or second gear and flooring it to keep the momentum up.Advertisement - Page continues below
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
There are different techniques for front- and rear-drive cars that can be used. Accelerating hard in a FWD car at the point you turn the steering will give you really aggressive results... but that can also get you into a mess much quicker until you’re flicking the front around really quickly. As I said, while it looks spectacular, it doesn’t require a lot of skill, the timing of shifting and steering is key – once you’ve figured that out, you’ll nail it every time.