Original article from TeamMatrix.com.my 2001 by Suffian Yim
Before we even step in to traction, let’s take a look at what it actually is first. As you all should know, traction (or friction) comes by having two different surfaces going against each other. In the case of a car, that would be the tire having to go against the road.
To make it easier, we draw a simple circle and put in the forces acting on the car when we drive. Traction has two components which consists of the straight-line component and the lateral component as illustrated in this simple diagram. The vertical line depicts the friction associated with accelerating and braking whereas the horizontal line depicts the traction associated with left and right turning.
While driving, when we take a corner to the limit point of the car, soft or maybe familiar skidding sounds can be heard. This shows that the car is right at the end of the limit in the circle. If we actually exceed the traction circle limits while turning, loud skidding sounds will be heard. In short, in order to drive fast, we have to drive within the limit, which means taking the car as smooth as possible and right to its traction limit.
Anything within the limit of the circle does not take full advantage of the tires’ traction capacity and anything outside of the circle will induce slipping, and tire locking that increases the braking distance. If the limit is exceeded while turning, the car may not be able respond as efficiently to the steering wheel, causing it to go into a spin.
The points not on the vertical or the horizontal line are a combination of acceleration or deceleration and turning. Let’s put it now that the traction circle represents 100% of traction capacity, if we use 100% for braking then we would have no room to turn the car. In order to actually turn the car while on the brakes, then we would have to ease our leg on the brakes according to how much percentage we wish to put in turning.
In order to drive as fast as possible while taking it smooth, then the limits must not be broken but instead the car is driven to its highest performance limit.