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A light blue i30N speeding along a racetrack.
High performance N

How to drive a high-performance car

6 minute read

The thrill of driving a high-performance car is not about just the speed but also the exhilaration of accelerating round corners. It's the rush of adrenaline and the gravitational forces pressing you against your seat. One thing’s for sure; high-performance cars deliver in so many different and adrenaline-inducing ways. But, if you’ve ever wondered how to get the most out of your high-performance car, here are some tips for you.

In a race, a fast start is a make or break. For professional drivers, getting off the line and to the first bend in the shortest amount of time is critical. The key to making fast starts is making each gear change as smooth and quick as possible.

It’s not easy to make smooth gear changes in a high-performance car, especially if your car has a manual transmission. Luckily, Hyundai N’s performance cars have a launch control feature to help you get the fastest start possible. This is because the launch control system controls the torque from a standing start and gives you maximum traction thanks to its electronic accelerator that prevents slippage, engine failure, and gearbox problems. You can find this system in all our N models.

How to do a fast start

Two Hyundai N cars lined up at a starting line at the Brands Hatch racetrack.

The key to making fast starts is making each gear change as smooth and quick as possible.

Focus on the road ahead

A common mistake many drivers make on the racetrack is focusing too much on the car in front of them. It might feel natural, but by doing this, you will just end up just following the car in front instead of running your race.

You should look ahead and focus on where you want your car to go. When you look ahead of you through your windscreen, your subconscious signals to your arm and makes your input smoother. And smoother driving equals better balance, which in turn equals more grip.

A rear view of a light blue i30N speeding along a racetrack.
A driver in Hyundai branded gear steers around a corner.

How to steer

When driving on the road, you probably have your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel, but, in a high-performance car on the racetrack, you will get more control and grip by holding the wheel with your hands at 9 and 3 o’clock instead. This is especially true when driving at high speeds and accelerating around sharp corners.

When turning into a corner, try to avoid "shuffle steering," i.e., sliding your hands around the wheel as you turn it. Instead, keep your hands in the same position, even if your arms end up crossing. This might feel weird at first but steering like this will ensure that you always know how to put the wheel back into position to drive straight ahead and head down the track much quicker after a turn.

And don’t forget to hold the steering wheel lightly. While you need to have good grip and control, you won’t be able to feel the wheel’s feedback if you hold the wheel too tightly. You should aim to have a light but firm grip on the steering wheel.

A close-up of a person’s hands on the steering wheel inside a Hyundai N performance car.

How to balance your high-performance car

To reach maximum performance on the racetrack, it’s essential to balance the throttle and your car. When you accelerate, all the weight of your car moves to the back of the car, and when you brake, all the weight goes to the front. The uneven weight distribution can cause your car to lose grip and traction as there is too much pressure on some of the tires and not enough pressure on the others.

Driving fast is about managing the weight transfer. Ideally, you need to keep the chassis flat without exerting pressure on either the front or back tires. So, instead of rushing to accelerate or braking too hard, it’s essential to balance the throttle to balance the car. This way, you’ll be able to accelerate and brake as smoothly as possible.

Driving fast is about managing the weight transfer.

Take your time

When you are driving a high-performance car, you need to be patient. You want to push your high-performance racing car to the limit in speed, but you want to do it in a smooth and controlled way. You should always brake, turn, and accelerate once you’re in a corner. You shouldn’t do any of these things more than once, as high-performance cars are highly capable and responsive.

A light blue i30N speeding around a corner on a racetrack.

How to shift gears smoothly

You need to be smooth when shifting gears because any sharp movements can unsettle the car. So, when driving a high-performance car, you need to take a moment, breathe, and pause before you do anything so that your car moves safely and smoothly, and you learn how to handle increasingly high speeds.

Learning how to shift gears at just the right time will mean you can get maximum torque while you accelerate. However, every car is different, and each one has varying torque curves and gear ratios, making it more challenging to find the right moment to shift gears.

To shift gears, release the gas pedal and then press on the clutch. Then, after changing the gear, carefully let go of the clutch while pressing down on the gas pedal. It’ll probably take some practice before you find the right timing to upshift and downshift, so be sure to practice this until you get a good feeling for it.

A gray i30N speeding towards a corner on a racetrack.
A close-up of the side of a light blue VELOSTER N driving through an industrial area.

To give you a rough idea, it’s recommended to upshift at around 2,500 to 3,000 RPMs and downshift at around 1,000 RPMs. You can see the RPMs on your tachometer, and after a few practice laps, you’ll soon be able to feel the right moment to shift.

Performance cars react very quickly to the slightest touch of the accelerator, making smooth transmissions tricky. Hyundai N cars use an automatic rev-matching feature to synchronize the engine’s speed with an optimal gear speed to stabilize the vehicle during braking to ensure the downshifting of gears is as smooth and as fast as possible.

Learning how to shift gears at just the right time will mean you can get maximum torque while you accelerate.

How to become a Corner Rascal

A lot of the fun of driving a high-performance car is in the cornering. Here are a few things to keep in mind, to master the corners.
Remember to brake and downshift before making a turn to have maximum torque when exiting the corner. You should brake and downshift before the corner — not while you’re in the corner — to keep the car’s balance before you go into the turn.

As you corner, look where you’re going and where you want the car to go. And, instead of hugging the corner, start on the outside of the track and flatten it. This way, you can maintain as much speed as possible while minimizing the steering. Then, once you start driving out of the corner, you can accelerate smoothly to regain momentum.

Hyundai N cars feature an electronic limited-slip differential (e-LSD) which improves cornering ability by stabilizing the vehicle during braking and acceleration. The e-LSD comes to life during hard braking to enhance grip for maximum power in corners and reduce wheel slip and understeering.

Now you’re ready to take your high-performance car on the track and push your car to its speed limit as smoothly as possible. Every car may be different, but with these tips, you’ll be able to improve your performance and enjoy your high-performance car to the fullest.

Find out more by following Hyundai N Worldwide(@hyundai_n_worldwide) on Instagram.


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