Traffic during races can be frustrating, but it can also be used to your advantage
Traffic is exasperating in a Miata RF, especially sitting on a freeway — even if you are enjoying the Apple Carplay in your Mazda Connect Infotainment System — when you’d rather be enjoying a twisty country road. It can be challenging in a race scenario as well, but it can also be a racer’s asset.
In our previous discussion of traffic, it was mostly about getting through as efficiently as possible as the leader in a battle. But when you’re the pursuer, the game is different. There, it’s all about pushing the racer in front so that that person hits the traffic in the wrong spot and thus breaks momentum. That’s when it’s time for you to pounce.
“When you’re chasing, you’re looking at the traffic and trying to see where there’s potential for the leader to get slowed up,” says Harry Tincknell, with the memory of the IMSA victory for the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P fresh in his memory. “I passed Ricky Taylor at Watkins Glen doing exactly that. He had some traffic in Turn 7, so instead of going flat out, I lifted off a bit on the way in, got a really good exit, he got balked a bit, and I had momentum on the next straight to overtake him. When you’re the one behind, the car in front is the one the traffic can see, and sometimes they can pave the way for you and you can just follow through. So, it’s probably easier following.”
He advises, though, that sometimes traffic will go your way, and other times you’ll lose several seconds in one corner. You’ve got to be cool and keep your emotions in check, he says.