Mazda Team Joest drivers explain that late braking isn’t always the best braking
“I have to say, I’m one of those drivers … I want to brake as late as possible everywhere; but it’s definitely not always the quickest way.”
That’s Oliver Jarvis, one of Mazda Team Joest’s ace drivers in the No. 77 RT24-P that competes in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He speaks to the racing driver’s instinct that carrying speed as long as possible, and spending as little time on the brakes as necessary, is the ideal. For some corners it is. For others, there’s a bit of finesse involved.
“Sometimes I’ll look at the data with my teammates, and I’m 10 or 15 meters later on the brakes, gain two-tenths on the way in, but lose two-and-a-half on the way out. The thing you learn is it’s always nice to be late on the brakes and, once you get used to that mentality, it’s hard to step away from that. Sometimes when I brake where I see teammates or other competitors, for me it doesn’t feel right; I feel like I’m not pushing it into the corner. But you’ve got to appreciate when to brake late,” Jarvis continues.
There are many nuances to braking that can make a huge difference in lap times, or come into play in getting a fast lap time vs. racing against other competitors. There’s the classic brake-late-and-hard-in-a-straight-line that many racers start with, and for many corners, it’s the right technique. But there are others ways to work corners, like trail braking, light braking with an early release, releasing the brake sharply to add rotation, stabbing the brake to set the front on turn-in – it depends not only on the corner, but also the corner that comes next.