There Are Pro Secrets to Learning New Racetracks, and This Video Has Them

How do you learn a racetrack that’s new to you? You undoubtedly have your own method – even if that method is no method at all. The reality is, discovering your way around a new track is something every driver must go through – even the pros. So why not learn from the best?

For Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, he heads online to search for in-car videos. “For me, the first steps I take to learn a new track is really just watching videos,” Rossi says. “Whether that’s previous races or if you’re lucky enough to watch some onboards of the type of car that you’re driving – even if it’s not the type of car, just some sort of onboard from that track.”

IMSA champ Jordan Taylor agrees, adding that those in-car videos help a lot before hitting the simulator. “You can learn a lot of different things from [in-car videos of] practice sessions, qualifying sessions, [and] races,” says Taylor. “You can learn where to pass, where to defend, and then the general line and brake points. And then when you jump in the sim, you at least have that in the back of your mind of what it kind of looks like.”

Taylor also sees the importance in a track walk to pick up on certain elements after watching videos and using a sim.

How do we know? It’s not because we asked them – it’s because SAFEisFAST did.

SAFEisFAST is the world's only free online driver development program, established by the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) to help young drivers and amateur racers reach their potential. With more than 100 tutorial films, including advice from F1 World Champions and legendary sports car drivers, the SAFEisFAST online videos are a robust collection every racer needs to bookmark.

The latest video in the SAFEisFAST driver development program is entitled “Learning a New Race Track,” and features interviews with pro racers Rossi, Taylor, Felipe Massa, Marcus Ericsson, Scott McLaughlin, Paul di Resta, and Scott Dixon.

Speaking of multi-time IndyCar champ Dixon, in the SAFEisFAST video, he puts a number on how many laps it should take you to get comfortable at a new racetrack. “You should be able to learn the majority of it pretty happily and have a good balance idea in the first 10 laps,” he says. “If it’s anything longer than that, you’re fighting a little bit.”

Struggling is a natural part of the process, Dixon explains, adding that there are ways to improve your speed. “Some corners, you may just not get it right until you look at the data, until you look at maybe a teammate’s video,” Dixon reveals. “The process is very different for everybody else. It may be a natural corner that they just have the ability for. So that’s the fun part after the session.”

Check out the “Learning a New Race Track” video below, then head to for more videos.

Photo courtesy SAFEisFAST