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Speed Secrets: Professional Race Driving Techniques Paperback – August 13, 1998
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"Read a good book. Anything by Ross Bentley is a good bet; I start my students off with Speed Secrets - Road & Track
About the Author
Ross Bentley is the author of the popular Motorbooks Speed Secrets series. He is a racing coach, race car driver, author, and speaker. Bentley grew up in a racing family in Vancouver, British Columbia. He raced in the CART Indy Car series in the 1990s before moving on to endurance racing, where he won the 1998 GT3 United States Road Racing Championship and the 2003 SRPII Class Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Bentley currently resides in Redmond, Washington. Official Website: www.speedsecrets.com
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Bentley, who does still race, is easy to read and talks in terms of real world driving, on the street. Yes, he covers a lot about on the race track and the finer points, but her relates that to the street and the "practice" of feeling the car and understanding what is happening at all times in order to become a better driver... and it actually works, I have started to become more aware of the fine movements of weight distribution in my commute to work!
If you think you have too many books on driving, splurge a little and buy this one, I think you'll be happy you did!
Full disclosure: I don't race cars. If I'm on a track, it's on two wheels. But I am an avid sim racer, and the stuff Bentley talks about in this book applies just as much to the digital racetrack as it does to the real one. if you're a competitive driver or just a fan of the sport, put this book at the top of your list.
The best way to use this book is to do a lot of lapping days but read it the night before, and right after your lapping day is done. I personally don't refer to it DURING my lapping day but I don't think that would be a bad idea. It is something that I may try this year.
It is very easy to read. Keep in mind that some techniques can be considered quite advanced and may be hard to understand. But don't mistake that for being a difficult read.
I really enjoy the highlighted and bolded "Speed Secrets" throughout the chapters.
My best advice is to continue to refer to this book as much as you can. I find that exponentially helps me to grasp certain techniques and mindsets on what it takes to push your car to the limit. (Something that many of us will never be able to do) This book will however help you get as close to that as possible.
It's not a big book. There's absolutely no filler or wasted words. It's not in-depth either, so if you're looking for a more technical discussion about the hows and whys, this is not your book. If you're looking to take a tenth of a second off your lap times, you probably already know all the information in here, and it probably isn't your book either.
However, the information inside is the most important stuff you need to know about going fast. It's organized well, summarized well, and explained well. If you can't do the 20 or so things this book talks about, and do them both expertly and consistently, you will never be fast. Guys in lesser cars will always beat you. But if you can do these things, everything else is only going to make a minor difference at best.
Easy to read, and not too far into the weeds about technical items about the car. It's enough about the physics that can get you enough into trouble. Hopefully that as the reader, you are able to grasp the concepts.
The beginning of the book was familiar to me and easy to read, but it quickly got into new territory. A lot of people here say this book has application on the street, however, it is not directly 1:1, as you shouldn't drive at the limit on the street because you will have nothing left in the car to prevent an accident. It did help me corner better and smooth out my heel toe downshift, which I was very grateful for when I applied what I learned driving up the mountain roads last weekend.
I've had this desire to do autocross/solo amateur racing just recreationally and after reading this book, I feel more comfortable with the idea and will look forward to pursuing it. I might look into Bentley's Autocross Techniques if that were the case.
I like the short length of the book so I can use it as a reference and quickly reread concepts. I also like the length because I am not a big book person and might have lost interest if it were a lot longer. lol