Vision On The Racetrack - Where Are Professional Racecar Drivers Looking
Where To Look On The Race Track?
It is impossible to go to any type of track day event around the world without hearing drivers speak about where they are looking while on the track. “Eyes Up” is most likely the most used phrase among the high performance driver education (HPDE) instructor community.
So, how do we know if our eyes are actually up? Where exactly should race car drivers be looking on the race track? In this video and this article Racers360 pro racing coaches break down exactly where we want our eyes to be focusing.
Let’s go to Sebring International Raceway’s Turn 3 to show exactly where we want to look.
Approaching The Brake Zone
We want to pick out our braking marker as early as possible, so it is important to be actively looking for it. You can see in the photo above we are still more than 10 car lengths away from the initial brake spot and the green box highlights where our vision should be focusing on. Here it is focusing in on that initial brake spot at corner entry.
Closing In On Initial Brake Application Spot
Here we see the green box (where the focus of our vision should be) is now looking farther down the road. We are showing that before the driver hits the brakes they should already be focusing in on their turn in point. The red circle shows the drivers peripheral vision. They are picking up the brake marker they were focusing on before with that peripheral vision to know where to brake.
Approaching Turn In
As the driver is working on releasing the brakes slowly off of peak brake pressure and approaching the turn in their focal point of vision needs to shift from the turn in point down to the apex of the corner before the turn in actually happens. Once again we are picking up the turn in point with peripheral vision.
Turn In Point
You can see here directly after the driver turns in and starts trail braking towards the apex their vision is completely on the apex.
Here you can not long after the turn in point and before we arrive at the apex we want to pick the focal point of our vision up and look towards corner exit. As a driver, I want to find the exit curb as early as possible and ask myself, “How early can I start unwinding the steering wheel?” and use all of the road on corner exit to maximize the drive out of the corner.
Here you can see the focal point of the driver's vision is still looking at corner exit and their peripheral vision is picking up the apex point (yellow arrow is pointing at the apex) they want to hit.
This Is True For All Forms Of Motorsport
This break down of what it really means to have our “eyes up” will be true for any form of motorsport. If you compete in autocross this will be even more critical. The corners on autocross courses arrive much quicker with autocross so if you are not disciplined with your eyes it becomes very easy to fall behind the car!
Road racing or oval racing allows us to have more time approaching corners, through brake zones and corner exits, but the speeds are much higher so the risk of falling behind the car with our eyes is higher.
Another great article and video we have on trail braking can be found here: What is trail braking & why is it fast.