The flyer. It’s that qualifying lap when a race car driver realizes he needs to push past what he thinks the car is capable of achieving. There are more tenths of seconds to be found, and this is where they sit waiting to be discovered. A flyer is the qualifying lap that sets the tone for the racing weekend ahead of you, and lets the other drivers know that you’re capable of going as fast or faster than they are. Take a flyer on a great flyer and it can set you up for a much better position in the race. It can also come back to bite you if you are too aggressive.
Honda sat a number of drivers in front of a camera to talk about the mentality and setup required during a qualifying session. Graham Rahal, Sage Karam, Patrick Long, Jordan Taylor, and Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato all have bits of wisdom to share in this informative video that will help race fans get into the heads of racers.
You’re dealing with a race car that is set up to run its fastest laps all weekend. It has more aero so it can rip through corners. The tires are fresh and the on-board fuel is low to save weight. You can se up the rear so its softer, which helps the car rotate more easily but leads to oversteer situations that could be a bigger issue in the race. The race car is ready for its more raw lap, which means it wants to go fast.
The driver in charge of the car knows this and has to push past perceived mental and physical limits to match what the car is capable of achieving. The flyer is an intense experience but it can lead to a tremendous advantage when it puts you and your car at the front of the pack come race day.