Lift and Coast: The Key to Extending Your Stints

Assetto Corsa Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 Pit Stop.jpg
Saving fuel is a necessary evil in motorsport and sim racing - even if it goes against the instinct of going as fast as possible. There are different techniques to squeeze that one more important lap out of a full tank, and not all of them sacrifice a lot of pace: Lifting and coasting is a rather effective way to extend your stints.

Image credit: Kunos Simulazioni

Whether it is an endurance race, a Grand Prix or a sprint where you miscalculated the amount of fuel to take during your last pit stop (let's face it, most of us have been there), fuel saving is a technique any sim racer should have in their arsenal. It can give crucial advantages by extending a stint for an extra lap, or it could simply mean the difference between finishing a race on fumes and running out of fuel with the checkered flag in sight.

Whatever your reason to save fuel may be, the most obvious option would be to adjust either the fuel mix or engine mapping of your car: Turn them down a notch or two, use less fuel per lap, sacrifice some engine power - sounds like a decent tradeoff, right? Well, yes, but it is usally not as efficient as lifting and coasting.

Coast Before You Brake​

On the surface, this technique is rather simple: Instead of going full throttle until reaching the braking point before a corner, drivers lift off the throttle earlier than they usually would, coast into the braking zone and then hit the brakes. This sacrifices less top speed, especially in the draft of other cars, but saves a decent amount of fuel. Not all corners of a circuit are good spots to do so, but it generally works well on long straights with mid- to slow-speed corners at the end of them.

Assetto Corsa Competizione Bentley Continental GT3 Cockpit.jpg

Turning down the engine mapping does not necessarily have to be the best way to save fuel - but it can help in the rain or emergency situations. Image credit: Kunos Simulazioni

On a circuit like Spa-Francorchamps, where the iRacing Spa 24 Hours are taking place this weekend, areas like La Source, Les Combes, Les Fagnes, or the (formerly Bus Stop) Chicane at the very and of the lap can be used to save fuel using lift and coast. Due to the extraordinary length of the combined endurance pits, staying out for one more lap and potentially saving a pit stop in the end could mean enormous gains on the timing sheets.

Slow In, Fast Out​

For drivers with a tendency to overdrive their cars and brake very late for corners, this could also prove beneficial for lap times - think of the good old "slow in, fast out" mantra. By using the technique, they are all but forced to attack a corner less aggressively, which can help with getting on the throttle much earlier. This can also reduce tire wear a bit.

While it takes a bit of practice, especially regarding nailing your braking points, lift and coast can be a life saver that should be in every sim racer's toolbox. And if all else fails, turning down the engine map or fuel mix additionally should get prevent you from doing as Jean Alesi did in Melbourne in 1997 (though, to be fair, that was due to a miscommunication).

Your Thoughts​

What are your experiences with fuel saving? What method have you found to be the most effective for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D


GT3 cars are 500 kg heavier than F1 cars so I have a feeling you cannot gain as much by this technique. I just fill whatever amount is needed for race distance
My thoughts are that at the level I and 90% of simracers operate you can just overfill with 5-10 liters and it will be negligible compared to driver error etc. This is like setups which is useless for 70-80% of simracers and "warming your tyres on the outlap" which is useless for 95% (and 5% actually spin out). Its all roleplaying for most people in simracing (and thats fine if you like it!)
Never ever had to do it, unless I've calculated wrong or trying to make the finish from an otherwise full tank.
I found that extending the top gear ratio gave me a more relaxed top end with most cars on the longer straights (keeping it out of the red/orange), for instance in GT7 at Le mans I'd be a couple of kph down but the fuel saved would allow me 10-20% extra distance when combined with short shifting*, lifting and coasting generally got me rear ended extending my pit time... I guess it's an AI thing there though.
But I've always used the same technique with GTR2 for the longer distance events where fuel use is at a premium.

* I'm an animal into the red in shorter races.
Also, to be noted, engine brake in ACC in the Huracan evo 2 helps masively with fuel saving if you brake later and coast.
thank you very much for the advice... this is going to help me in NFS underground 2 more than you think:thumbsup:
Thanks for the little guide about this. It was a nice read :)
I'm gonna try a little 6h race with a racing buddy in ACC in a few weeks at Spa and our fuel calculations resulted in 5h40m so we're gonna have to decide between fuel mix, engine mapping, short shifting and the magic lift & coast.
Before even researching the topic, this article popped up and was a great introduction :thumbsup:

Lifting a tiny bit before the braking points you mentioned lost us 0.15s per lap, while bringing the fuel estimation up to 5h50m.
ECU changes lost us 0.35s per lap.
Shifting into 6th down the kemmel straight and before the "bus stop" puts us to 6h05m and only losing 0.1-0.2s per lap.
Lifting and shifting down as soon as possible works pretty well :)

I don't agree with one point though:
Lift & coast doesn't result in "slow in, fast out" for me. It rather results in me braking later and trying to carry more entry speed through the turns.
Basically "less braking, faster rolling". It's pushing me quite on the edge hehe
  • Deleted member 197115

Guess that's what what people creeping towards stop lights for few hundred feet and slowing all traffic behind are doing. :roflmao:

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Yannik Haustein
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