There it is, you’ve been stalking those two cars in front of you for 8 laps now. You’ve been gaining steadily. They’ve now started scraping amongst themselves and are now 2 wide into Turn 1 and 2,
here’s your chance to be the one. It’s go time as you get a monster exit off Turn 2, it’s definitely go time or is it ?
In Racing decisions are made in fractions of a second and one must admittedly be fully committed once the decision is made. One thing we don’t talk about in all this is the ability to gauge risk vs reward before we make a decision. This is something the best of the best develop as they progress through their racing careers. In my case here’s how I got caught in the red mist during some intense action.
Now’s my moment I thought to myself. They exited side by side off T2 and both were compromised, leaving me no choice but to join the fray or so I thought. I instinctively jumped into the drag race down the straightaway that leads to turn 3. Now here we are 3 wide halfway down the back stretch with me surging on the outside. I am anticipating braking late, sweeping around the outside, or so I thought.
This is the red mist in action, and it’s not a positive it’s more often than not a negative. Let’s look at why, #1 as I mentioned previously I had been behind these two competitors for 8 laps at this point and even though I was gaining a bit they were ahead and had qualified ahead. I had run an intelligent race up until that point, keeping my car clean, gaining several positions off the start, was maintaining my pace, and staying within striking range. But…. there was not a whole lot of pace disparity with my other two fellow competitors and we still had allot of racing ahead of us before the checkered flag. Another key detail that “ The Red Mist “ tends to do is exaggerate your self confidence and diminish one's common sense. What I casually ignored as I blasted into this fight was the driver pushing the action and trying to set up a pass ahead of me had been driving extremely erratically to the point where he was all over the track trying to intimidate the driver ahead of him. These tendencies in your competitors are to be noted and stored in your memory banks, word to the wise if you ignore these details things may not end up roses and butterflies for your race.
Three wide down the back stretch we are barreling into the braking zone, and just as I pull up side by side my ultra aggressive counterpart decides now is a good time to pinch me and try to get me to back off. This quick aggressive squeeze sends me into fight or flight mode, so I natural do not back off the throttle ( The Red Mist ….. ), but instead keep it pinned and dip two wheels into the grass to avoid contact. At this point my mentality is full kamikaze, I’m not only arriving at T3 ahead by a nose, but being on the outside I’m anticipating out braking them as well. Well…. Not quite as it turns out, remember that diminishing common sense part. That part where I know the guy in the middle of the action is hyper aggressive and fed up with having to hold his place, willing to do anything and everything to get around. It turns out that exact same behavior characteristic was to be implemented both on the offensive as well as on the defensive. He never stopped squeezing me off the track, and eventually we touched wheels ( open wheel | Formula Renault 2.0 ) sending us both around and me straight into the wall ending my race before I even arrived at my moment of glory.
The Red Mist, is a common issue for both Sim Racers and Real Life Racers alike. It’s critical that they we maintain our cool and learn to weigh out multiple variable in a short period of time. Whether you are diving into turn 1 on cold tires and brakes, pushing erratic drivers into compromising positions,
Or just plain trying to get a measure of revenge on a driver who got into the back of you it’s simply of no benefit to lose your cool and more often than not lose the race. It’s been said time and time again, and for good reason, in order to finish first, first you have to finish.