Advanced knowledge - Racing in the Rain 1

Hey, guys,

as promised, even if a little late, here is something about "Racing in the rain". Today I will answer some of your questions and address the topic of "Racing in the rain" in the first of two blogs.

Question 1: "Without specific tips - is it still correct to search the line beside the dry ideal line?

Basically this still applies. The rubber, which provides a lot of grip in the dry on the racing line, makes it much more slippery in the rain and also the water can't run off so well because the asphalt is sealed. In addition, the asphalt on the ideal line is smoother and it is therefore even more difficult for the tyre to grip the asphalt.

Question 2: "Does the rain line change as the track dries?

Sure, at some stage the point comes where the normal racing line is faster than the rain line. But this point can´t be predicted exactly. On the Nordschleife the track changes so fast that you can still pass through wet areas where a rain tyre is useful, for example on lap 2. Nevertheless, it could make sense to stop for a tyre change to slicks, because with the number of vehicles and the track length this place is dry up to the next round. So - Yes, the rain line changes when the track dries, because then you go back to driving the normal line.

Question 3: "Correct braking in the rain"

With the rain tyres and the ABS that we have available, very high deceleration values are already possible, in some cases the brakes are applied only slightly earlier than in dry conditions. If you just brake in a straight line, you should try to maximise your braking up to a point where the anti lock starts to work. However, as soon as you have to decelerate in curves it becomes a bit more difficult, here the Traction Circle comes into play again. If you compare rain tires and slick tires, a rain tire has more grip for braking than for cornering. Please keep in mind, that all these tipps really depend on your car, your tires, the track, the amount of water on the track etc.

Question 4: "Is it about balls?"

Sometimes it is, yes :D

Question 5: "How much longer does it take to eat through a set of wet rubber compared to dry?

We drive 8-10 laps on slicks in a race on the Nordschleife, depending on how the different stints are going. Rain tyres can be driven much longer because the wear is much less. The biggest problem with rain tyres is not necessarily the tread depth, but how sharp the tread blocks are. The sharp edges on the tread blocks wear out and at some point it becomes harder for the tyre to effectively displace the water. So, purely in terms of mileage, you can drive a rain tyre much longer than a slick. However, performance losses occur significantly before the tyre has no tread anymore as the tread blocks lose there sharpness.

Question 6: "How do you deal with overtaking? Off the wet line or approaching bunches of cars?"

In the rain this is sometimes really a bit more difficult. Especially on the Nordschleife, when the vehicle to be overtaken wants to make room for you and wants to send you on the normal ideal line, which is then very slippery. You have to know where it's slippery and where to carry out the overtaking manoeuvres accordingly. If you have a bunch of cars in front of you at a higher speed you can´t see anything. I try to have a "one-by-one" approach in these cases while also figuring out if I can make a smart move to overtake several cars at the same time.

Question 7: "How do you find all that grip?"

First of all, you have to say that rain tyres really do offer a lot of grip in the rain, so the speeds are of course much better compared to good road tyres. Basically, you find most grip in the rain away from the ideal line, see question 1. A trackwalk for example also helps to look at the asphalt surface, where does the rain water run to, where could puddles form, what does the asphalt look like etc. All these things help when it comes to finding the best line.


You got any more questions? If so, let me know! Next week I will go a little deeper into the specifics of driving in the rain, also with some nice onboard footage ;-)


See you then!