I am told to be smooth on the throttle and my steering wheel inputs to avoid oversteer out of corners, but what is oversteer?
Oversteer is when the back of a car breaks traction and starts to slide around the outside of the car, causing the car to pivot and enter or leave a corner sideways. The lateral acceleration is greater than the frictional limits of the car and it becomes unstable.
As much as this may look good coming out of a corner you are losing speed as you do it, so it is better to keep the car as smooth and level through a corner as possible, as mentioned in the previous article about 'Racing Lines'.
So if I do experience oversteer through a corner how do I correct it?
When a car does break traction at the rear and begin to slide round a corner you can do one of two things to bring the car back into a smoother more controlled position. Firstly you can lift straight off the throttle and let the rear wheels regain traction, this does cause a loss in speed but is safer as the car isn't so on the edge. Ultimately you want to be consistent and smooth with the car so you keep the tyres in the optimum zone and can push when you need to.
The second option is to keep your foot down on the throttle and steer into the slide. This method maintains more speed but does come with a lot more risk as the car can become very unbalanced and spin out into a gravel trap. The second option is for more experienced drivers as they will be much more used to the feel of the car and where the limits are. Lifting off the throttle is a more consistent safer way to gain control of your car again after a moment of oversteer.