I have caught up to a car lapping slower than me. How do I get past without causing a collision?
Overtaking opponents can be done in a number of possible ways, with varying degrees of difficulty and when pulled off correctly, the results can be breath-taking. Both drivers have a part to play and must respect one another's space for the move to take place, as you can't both be on the racing line at the same time…
The best and easiest place to overtake is the straights between corners. Moving off the racing line along the straights does not affect lap time as much as doing so in corners. The car in front will be on the throttle before you out of each corner, so you will need to use the 'Slipstream' to catch and then pass.
What is a 'Slipstream'?
As a car moves through the air around it, the engine is working against the resistance of this air to accelerate forward. It is a similar experience to the resistance felt when walking through waist high water. All of the wings and profiles of Formula cars increase this resistance as they work the air over them harder.
Slipstreaming is the technique of allowing the leading car to punch a hole in the air, so that your car behind receives less resistance. The picture below shows how the air from the leading car is directed upwards and away from the car behind.
So how do I use this Slipstream to my advantage?
The pass starts at the corner leading onto the straight. You need to make sure that you maximise the exit speed from the corner. You can take the normal racing line through the corner and ensure that you do not get on the power too soon, or you can adjust your line to get a straighter exit off the corner by running slightly deep on entry and cutting back to a later apex, squaring off the corner. Once onto the straight, aim for the rear wing of the car in front. You will start to gain on them, but ensure you stay directly behind them for as long as possible. At the very last moment before you make contact, direct your car either left or right of them to maintain the straight-line boost and complete the pass.
I am using the Slipstream, but I cannot complete the pass before the next corner. What should I do now?
A vast majority of all overtaking manoeuvres are completed within corners rather than along the straights. The slipstream should allow you to close up onto the car in front within the braking zone, and hopefully pull alongside them before the corner. This will probably mean being off the racing line for the corner, and you will need to adjust the way you navigate the corner as well as complete the pass. Most passes will be completed by taking theinsideline for the corner, and as the cars aim towards the apex the defending car will have a longer route around the corner. These lines are shown below.
The yellow line is the racing line normally taken through the corner. The red line shows the tighter entry and exit of the inside line, whilst the blue shows the longer outside line.