As promised – though we are two days late in delivering it – we have brought you the second episode of the Mercedes-Benz AMG® Driving Academy’s Performance Series. If you missed last week, you can watch it here: Episode One. Trans-Am Champion Tommy Kendall hosts the series, using knowledge acquired from a long, successful career behind the wheel to help us understand the subtleties of driving. The series also provides a taste of the lessons taught at the Driving Academy.
The first episode reviewed the fundamentals of driving: seat positioning and line of sight. This week, we get a look into effective braking, particularly for the race track. It should come as no surprise that our host emphasizes the importance of braking; however, many people don’t realize there are two types of decelerating. As explained in the video, there is threshold braking and trail braking. Threshold braking is applying just enough pressure so the wheels start to lock. If you cross the threshold, the car will slide; if you fall short of the threshold, the car gives away stopping distance. This is a sensitive balance, so it is important to learn the car’s capabilities. Luckily for us, modern vehicles come standard with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), which monitors the speed of tire rotations to allow for maximum braking. Trail braking is best used for mastering slower corners. As you pass through a corner, the most important factor is keeping weight on the front tires. This will give you the most grip. To do this, you must release some pressure from the brake – determining how much pressure is contingent upon the degree of the turn and your speed.