Racecar Tech Session – Motorsport Terms And Phrases Made Easy To Understand


I hope you are all doing really well and looking forward to the soon approaching race season.

Today I wanted to give you information and meanings of some common Motorsport terms and phrases.


The term Turn-In is used to describe what the car is doing at the moment you initially turn the steering wheel at the start of the corner. Ultimately you want the car’s turn to be “crisp”. This will result in the car to change direction immediately when you turn the steering wheel.

However the turn can also be too crisp! If the turn is too crisp then that can result in the rear wheel breaking away and result in a sloppy uncontrolled turn. Or the front wheels to loose traction and will result in a slower turn.

Then you can also have a lazy turn-in this means there is some amount of delay from the time you turn the steering wheel until the time the car changes direction.

Corner Entry

The entry of a corner is from just after the initial turn-in to the mid-corner section. If you think about the corner as a section between the turn-in and the point in the corner where the car is in a controlled and steady state. During the corner entry phase you are carrying the motion of winding in more steering input.

The entry point can also be thought of as the beginning just after turn-in and continuing until your right foot begins to apply some throttle.


The mid-corner is the section when you have wound in all the steering input required to get the car aiming at the apex, however you have not started to unwind the steering. In this phase the car is in a consistent radius (not decreasing or increasing).

In some corners you will not experience the Mid-corner phase, this is because as you have wound the steering wheel to aim the car at the apex you will already be at the apex point and where you will need to start to unwind the steering.

Corner Exit

The exit of the corner is defined by where you unwind the steering, increasing the radius of the line that the car will follow. In normal circumstances it is from the apex to the exit or track-out point of the corner. Again the exit phase can be defined as ending when you begin to squeeze the throttle down to wide open.

Approach Braking and Trail Braking

Braking is best understood when it is broken down into two types of braking. Approach Braking and Trail Braking.

Approach braking is exactly as it sounds, this is where you do the braking on the straight before you start to turn-in. The moment you begin to turn the steering wheel into the corner is the precise moment the approach braking ends and trail braking starts.

Trail braking is the physical act of easing or trailing your foot off the brake pedal. Where you finish trail braking and how much you trail brake is a personal preference and will alter depending on the type of corner, the car you are driving and you own style of driving. (Trail braking is a controversial brake technique however I feel it a worthy to include it)


In theory you should never be coasting in a racecar – you should always be braking or applying the throttle. In reality coasting is sometimes necessary, this is a very rare situation but still does happen in a race. When this happens it is called Off-Throttle.

Maintenance Throttle

This is when you are not accelerating or decelerating all you are doing is maintaining a constant speed. It is like when you are travelling on a motorway and you maintain the speed limit. You may not always need to use maintenance throttle this will depend on the circuit and the car you are racing.


Acceleration is when you are progressively increasing in speed by squeezing down the throttle or holding it flat out.

Thank you for reading this article, I hope you have found it useful and interesting.

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