Do Rally Drivers use handbrake?

Do Rally Drivers use handbrake? Jul, 25 2023

Understanding the Basics of Rally Driving

Rally driving, a form of auto racing that takes place on public or private roads with modified or specially built road-legal cars, is a sport of high speed and precision. It requires a combination of driving skills, technical knowledge, and strategic thinking. Before we delve into the specifics of whether rally drivers use handbrakes, let's understand the basics of rally driving. It's essential to grasp the fundamentals of the sport to comprehend the use and importance of the handbrake in it.

The Role of the Handbrake in Car Control

Now, let's talk more about the handbrake. Also known as the parking brake or emergency brake, the handbrake is a lever that applies a mechanical brake to the rear wheels of a vehicle. It’s most commonly used to secure a vehicle when parked, but in the world of rally racing, it serves a more dynamic purpose. It is an essential tool for manipulating the car's direction, particularly in tight corners. It's all about the driver's control over the vehicle, and using the handbrake is one technique to achieve that.

How Rally Drivers Use the Handbrake

So, do rally drivers use the handbrake? Yes, they certainly do. But they use it in a different way than most road drivers. In rally driving, the handbrake is used to initiate a slide or tighten a car's line through a corner. It's a technique known as the 'handbrake turn'. This is where the driver pulls the handbrake to lock the rear wheels, causing the car to slide around a corner while the driver controls the slide with the steering wheel.

Detailed Process of Handbrake Turn

Understanding the process of a handbrake turn is interesting. As the driver approaches the corner, they apply the brakes to shift the weight of the car to the front wheels. Then, they turn the steering wheel in the desired direction and pull the handbrake. This locks the rear wheels, causing the back of the car to slide in the direction of the turn. Once the car is facing the right direction, the driver releases the handbrake, applies the throttle, and powers out of the turn.

Importance of Handbrake in Rally Driving

The handbrake plays a crucial role in rally driving. It allows drivers to navigate tight corners at high speeds without losing control of the vehicle. It also helps them to maintain a high average speed throughout the race. Without the use of the handbrake, drivers would have to slow down considerably to navigate tight corners, which would impact their overall race time.

Handbrake Modifications in Rally Cars

Rally cars often have modifications to the standard handbrake. Many have a hydraulic handbrake system, which operates independently of the car's regular braking system. This allows the driver to apply the handbrake without engaging the foot brake, giving them more control over the vehicle's movements. Moreover, this type of handbrake is typically a long lever, making it easier for the driver to reach and operate while driving at high speeds.

Training to Use Handbrake Effectively

Using the handbrake effectively in rally driving requires practice and training. It's a skill that needs to be honed over time. Drivers must learn how to judge their speed and the angle of the turn correctly, as well as when to pull the handbrake and how hard to pull it. It's a delicate balance, and getting it wrong can result in a spin or crash.

Common Misconceptions about Handbrake Use

There are some common misconceptions about using the handbrake in rally driving. Some people believe that using the handbrake is a sign of poor driving skills, but this couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, the handbrake is a tool that drivers use to maintain control over their vehicle at high speeds. It's an integral part of the sport and requires a great deal of skill to use effectively.

Conclusion: Handbrake - A Vital Part of Rally Driving

In conclusion, the handbrake is indeed a vital part of rally driving. It's used in a specific way to help drivers navigate corners at high speeds, and using it correctly requires a lot of skill and practice. So, the next time you watch a rally race, pay attention to the drivers' use of the handbrake - it's a fascinating aspect of this high-speed sport.