Car control with Catie: how to jump a racing car
Extreme E driver, TV presenter and British rallying star Catie Munnings shares some driving wisdom
WHEN IT GOES WRONG, IT GOES WRONG
The take-off angle will determine how high you jump. The higher you jump, the longer the landing slope you need. During the first practice lap at the UK round of Extreme E last year, I was first on the ‘knife-edge’. What happened in the air was a shock – a stream of swear words as I took off and started to tip forward, all I could see was the ground. The only thing I could do was slam the throttle and let the front wheels pull me forward as I landed.Advertisement - Page continues below
KNOW YOUR CAR
Different cars jump with different attitudes – try to figure out what yours will do in advance. One of the most impressive ramps I’ve seen is the jump in Nitro Rally Cross. A 40m gap where the road drops away, and the race lap loops back so that cars drive underneath you in the air. The drivers are full throttle in the air, and in the middle of the jump shift up a gear to lower the rear and lift the nose slightly to land at the right angle.
THE SECONDS BEFORE ARE KEY
There’s a moment in the air after a long run up, switching between brake checking and accelerating, where the only thing in your mind is the completely innocent question “I really hope I judged that right!?” The most important part of a jump is the preparation. A textbook approach would be accelerate up to it normally as if it were just a corner, brake to kill the speed then accelerate at the last minute on the take-off to lift the nose.Advertisement - Page continues below
As is often the case with racing, what looks slow is actually faster. Take oversteer – looks like fun, is fun, but actually scrubs all your speed. It’s no different here, when you’re in the air you’re not accelerating; what you gain by carrying a bit more speed on the take-off, you will lose on the acceleration that you miss by hanging out longer in the air. So for better lap times, fly low, get your wheels back on the ground and get on the throttle!