Driver Skills to Master
Be smooth Your car’s transmission, its tires, its chassis — they don’t like abrupt inputs.
Slamming on the gas throws the car’s weight to the rear, unsettling the front tires (hey, you need those to steer).
Diving on the brakes hurls the car’s weight forward (now your poor front tires are overloaded trying to brake hard and steer, and the suddenly light rear tires just might decide to swing the tail around on you).
Driving well is all about weight management, controlling the ever-shifting mass of the car so the tires are never overloaded.
That means rolling the steering wheel gracefully into turns, squeezing on the gas and brakes, moving the transmission lever (if you have a manual) as if the shift knob were an egg.
A passenger was lucky enough to ride once with three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart in an original Ford GT40. The guy made that clattering old race car move as if it were swimming in Wesson Oil. Even though they were blazing around Laguna Seca, the passenger retold how he wasn’t being tossed around inside the cockpit.
Instead he was gently pushed from side to side, eased forward and back, as the Maestro conducted a ballet at the wheel. The sensation had much more in common with riding in an expertly driven limousine — don’t spill our champagne, Jeeves — than with the typical Hollywood portrayal of "expert" driving.
Trust me on this: Smoothness at the wheel is the single biggest indicator of driving skill. (Conversely, driving like Rambo, as many drivers in Las Vegas do, is a dead giveaway your are an amatuer.)