5 Ways to Have a Great TrackSprint

5 Ways to Have a Great TrackSprint

TrackSprint – the Time Trials format which requires you to get it right, right away. There are not 20 minutes here to get your rhythm down, or multiple sessions to perfect your lap; it's just a few runs to nail the best time.

If you're new to TrackSprint – it's when you run a portion of the track for time, much like HillClimb drivers run a section of a mountain road. TrackSprint begins with a standing start and a "flying" finish, and drivers only get a few chances to see how fast they can go. 

So, with only a few chances and no practice – here are some ways you can increase your chances of a better TrackSprint result. 

1) Know How Many Runs You'll Get

Typically a TrackSprint event will have three runs but may have up to five or six. To make the most of those runs, you will want to know how many chances you will have. Check the schedule or event rules to know how many to expect. 

2) Know the Course

Sometimes you may be running a portion of the track which you have run on during lapping sessions, but other times, you might run short course cutoffs or sections you don't usually run. Sometimes pieces of track will even be run backward for TrackSprint courses. In cases where it's a "new" course, you will want to study and (if given a chance) walk the course. Even if it's a section of track you're familiar with from lapping sessions, you may find the standing start and starting line may change the line or speed which you approach the first corner. Cold tires can mix it up even more. Do what you can to study the course and understand those differences. 

3) Have a Plan

With only a few runs, you'll want to plan your approach to each. The first run is best used as a "recon" run to test your hypothesis on how things will be different and get some heat in your tires. If you're a driver who needs a bit of warm-up, this is a great run to warm yourself up as well. Consider your second run as a chance to put a "safety" run in the book. You want to go fast but not on the ragged edge because a solid, respectable time will go a lot further than if you go off and have to work backward to a safe run. For the third or final runs – decide where you might find more speed and judge how risky it is. High risk, low reward? That's probably not the place to find a chunk of time.  

4) Focus Between Runs

One complaint of the "run, wait, run again" format of TrackSprint and Autocross is that there isn't enough seat time. The reality is the time between runs – though not spent hammering the throttle and on the edge – is competition time in your head. You can visualize your previous run and cement in your mind where you can improve. It's also an excellent time to check tire pressures to make sure they are not changing so much to affect the handling. Use the time between runs to analyze your last run and figure out what you can do to make your next one better. 

5) Focus on You

Sure, you're competing against other drivers, but worrying about what they do for a run doesn't help you. You want to focus on your driving and your plan without letting their runs get into your head. Giving too much credence to their times and styles can keep you from performing your best – and at the end of the TrackSprint, your times are all that's going to matter.  

Photo Courtesy of Rommel Estrada