Driver Theory: The Spectrum

I’ve been teaching people how to drift for close to 10 years now. In my experience, most drivers fall under one of two categories in various amounts. I have never found someone smack dab in the middle. But that unicorn might exist. Most drivers are either aggressive and ballsy or very timid and tend over think things.

 

The Concept

spectrumThe simplest example is corner entry. When first learning to drift, the more aggressive driver will tend to enter too hot and are more likely to have understeer issues and hardly drift at all. The timid driver will likely enter too slow and straighten up several times through the corner. That is, if they can even get the rear end to kick out. Aggressive drivers like to push themselves because you can’t learn without pushing yourself. Timid drivers tend to not want to crash or get hurt. Some timid drivers are just thinking way too much through a corner.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving can only be backed up with pure/raw natural talent. Without natural talent, this style of driver will crash/spin repeatedly and almost never learn. The “push the envelope” attitude only works if they can adapt without over thinking.

Pros

  • Will learn quicker as they are more likely to try new things
  • Sometimes, an ability to hop into any car and “make it work”
  • Easier time committing to new things and trying new ideas

Cons

  • Tend to crash more often (when new)
  • Generally, an inability to verbalize what’s going on to a timid style driver

You might be an aggressive driver if:

You describe yourself as “always on throttle”. Your brain switches off when you drive and you simply feel how to drive. You might believe that driving can’t be learned and it is an instinctual thing.

Timid Driver

Timid drivers (like me) are slow to approach the line of their full ability. They like to drive under their limits until they get their bearings, and then they try new things. This makes them slow learners. I rarely find these drivers with large amounts of natural talent. Maybe they learn weight transfer quickly, but steering management is lacking. What they do learn quickly will stick but what they don’t learn quickly will take time and large amounts of thought to internalize.

Pros

  • Usually crash less often after the first initial stages
  • Easy ability to explain each key concept of how the drive and/or car setup
  • Tend to be fact nerds and study alignment setups (etc)

Cons

  • Learning takes more effort and time
  • Commonly blaming the car
  • Feeling what the car is doing can be difficult (EG: Identifying when their car is slightly understeering)

You might be a timid driver if:

You know you could go faster. Especially on corner entry. You know what to do but you have difficulty making it happen. You think 0.2 degrees more of positive camber will help that corner entry traction issue you’ve been having.

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