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The circle of traction

Everyone is familiar with traction: It’s the result of the friction between your car’s tires and the road that allows the car to accelerate, turn, and brake. Losing traction in a corner can be fun for a big smoky burnout or a drift around a turn, but it can also result in some serious pucker factor "Oh Shit" moments the edge of control is a very soft line to walk

Suffice to say that there’s a whole lot of math involved to figure out exactly how much traction is available at any given moment, and the real-world factors involved are too numerous to count, so lets start with basics and then break it down later.


To discuss traction, we’ll first need to understand a Basic concept known as “The circle of traction”. This concept simplifies to the idea that only so much traction is available at any moment for a tire, and this must be split between cornering and braking/acceleration. You can have both acceleration/braking and turning at the same time, but the two added together cannot be more than the total available traction. Increase one of the forces (Cornering or braking/acceleration) and you’ll decrease the amount of available traction for the other.



Notice that North and South represent acceleration and braking respectively, with East being a right-hand turn and West a left-hand turn.

In simple terms, when you punch it at the start thats 100% traction (striaght) you turn right a little, you have now directed a percent of the 100% traction to turn, now reducing the traction, and at this point the car is pushing madly into the corner, and you have to reduce acceleration in order to turn! AH HA! get it now, by reducing acceleration you have increased right turn traction and the car starts to turn in, as you see in the chart above you decrese accerleration till you balance the turn and accerleration together, and now you have the basic under standing of traction.

Now if you want to go faster you have to change something, to increase the limits of both accerleration and turning! the driving part is cheap now you need tires, swaybars, power adders and so on!