Posted on , by Rob

Racecraft: Overtaking

Unless you qualifying at the front of the pack in a grid that is close together performance wise and you're competing in a short race, it's likely you'll need to do some overtaking during the race.

Overtaking involves two cars.  It may seem obvious but many less experienced drivers forget this basic fact.  Whenever you're relying on more than just your own control some caution needs to be exercised.  Effecting a clean overtake is more than just noticing the car in front is going slower than you and you might be able to make a pass at the next corner or down the straight.  A clean overtaken is made with knowledge of the overtakees weakpoints, driving style, and your own driving style.  When overtaking for position it's a good idea to first evaluate the driver in front, sizing up their weaknesses before making a pass.  Overtaking a backmarker is somewhat different because typically there will be a substantial speed difference, allowing for an easier and obvious overtake.

Passing on a straight is relatively straight forward.  You use your significant speed advantage to move out from behind the car in front and drive around it.  In the DRS age of modern Formula 1 this has been made much more easy than it used to be.  Once you're in the DRS zone you simply activate DRS and wait for the magic to happen.  Once you're in front of the the car you're overtaking you want to keep it that way so it's a good idea to place your car in track position that will discourage the trailing driver from attempting on overtake at the next corner.  The best way to do this is to overtake on the side that gives you the inside line at the next turn.  If you're approaching a left hander, take the car on the left side.  This gives you options because if you have enough speed in the tow to get up beside the car in front you can use the position of your car to prevent the other car from undercutting you in the corner (slowing down before you and taking the inside line to the corner in the hopes for a better exit than you).  Generally the straight line overtake will be completed before the braking zone for the next corner, or it becomes a corner overtake.

To overtake someone effectively and with respect to racing ethics, good manners, theirs and your life, you need to ensure the front of your car is at least level with the middle of their car when you both enter the braking zone.  From this position you can block the other driver a you both enter the turn.  If you're on the inside line, which you should be, you can use the position of your car to ensure the driver cannot pass and you are entitled to take the racing line into the corner.

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