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Balancing the Yin and Yang

Finding Your Balance, the Yin and Yang, through Autocross

EVER WONDER WHY your supposedly racetrack-bred Porsche “pushes” so obviously at the cornering limit? Caymans, Boxsters and 911’s I’ve driven all seem to naturally understeer, at least until you learn how to induce oversteer. After you master inducing oversteer, you can find the perfect balance, the Yin and Yang.

The Taijitu, more commonly referred to as Yin and Yang, is a Chinese symbol originating from a Chinese belief system called Taoism. It is supposed to represent the idea that everything in nature should be viewed as part of a whole, and that opposites are complementary forces that balance themselves out. 

If a Taoist temple is the ideal place to practice the inner balance, Autocross is the perfect event to find your balance between under and oversteer. 

when the car steers or turns less than the steering wheel input (the front end “pushes”). Porsches (and most cars) are designed to understeer first, yes even this GT3 RS, as a safety measure

Understeer – when the car steers or turns less than the steering wheel input (the front end “pushes”). Porsches (and most cars) are designed to understeer first, yes even this GT3 RS, as a safety measure. Understeer is safer than oversteer because with a light tap of the brakes you can slow the car without risk of spinning (although your front tires will continue to “push” or slide until sufficient speed is scrubbed off and the brakes are released).  

Oversteer – when the car steers or turns more than the steering wheel input (the back end slides sideways). This is also called “drifting.” It’s fun, but takes practice to induce and control. Braking during oversteer will cause the rear end to slide out faster, which can lead to a spin – hence the reason why all cars are engineered with understeer naturally.

Perfect balance is achieved when you dance the car between under and oversteer, maximizing grip with weight transfer onto your front tires on the edge of understeer without sliding, then start accelerating when your turning radius can start expanding, on the edge of oversteer without sliding much.   

There are still three more autocrosses at the CAA Centre in Brampton on Sat Aug.24, Sun Sept.22 and Sat Sept.28, so you will have the opportunity to study and play, grasshopper. </>

Story and Photos by Pete Koepfgen, UCR Member

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