It’s vitally important to get your driving position right before driving on the track. Your seat and steering wheel position should be adjusted carefully to…
- Allow grip of steering wheel even in extremes of motion (e.g. when being thrown about it corners)
- Ensure mechanical efficiency of your body (you’ll be tired after 20 laps)
- Maintain maximum visibility
- Prevent any obstructions (e.g. knees on the steering wheel)
- Give you maximum control of the car
Tips for correct seat positioning on the track
If you have harnesses, your back will be pushed firmly into the backrest- so when adjusting your seat, make sure you use this position as reference.
Let’s start with the arms – you should be able to comfortably rest your wrists on the top of the steering wheel without leaning forward (Diagram 1).
Your hands should have freedom of movement around the entire wheel (not just the top half) and if your hands touch your knees at any point (Diagram 2) or if your elbow hits the door, consider investing in a smaller wheel.
Your default steering position should be at the ‘quarter to three’ position so ensure the steering wheel is adjusted to allow maximum comfort (Diagram 3).
If you have an adjustable steering wheel, you might consider bringing the wheel slightly closer than you would have it when driving on the road to provide maximum control. Getting the driving position right means you’ll be able to tackle tight corners easily, and even if you’re fighting to remain in control you’ll be able to keep your hands on the wheel. When you feel like the position is right, try testing it using a series of movements in the ‘worst case scenario’ position (Diagram 4)
Note: If you’re using harnesses, once you’re bolted into your seat it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach as far as usual so make sure you adjust your mirrors and any other gadgets before-hand.
Legs are easier to get right than the arms. The rule of thumb is to sit in a position which allows you to fully press the clutch and accelerator to the floor while maintaining a slight bend in your knee. The brake usually moves less then the other pedals so is less important in this respect. Make sure that your knees aren’t making contact with the steering wheel, and mimic a complete revolution of the steering to ensure freedom of movement.
When driving on the track, most drivers adopt a more upright seat position than when on the road. This ensures proximity to the wheel and good visibility, which can lead to better control than a more relaxed position.
If you’re tall or usually have your seat set high, headroom can be an issue when wearing a helmet. An inch or two of clearance is a must – banging your helmet repeatedly on the roof or on roll bars can cause damage.
Everything else is a matter of comfort – remember that the priority should be to create an environment where you have maximum control over the wheel and pedals, and good freedom of movement.