lime green gt 3 car seen from behind going through a left hand corner on a race track

Understeer and Oversteer: Sim Racing Basics

As a beginner in the world of sim racing, there are so many new terms to learn. Oversteer and understeer are just two of them, but they definitely belong to the most important ones.

Photo credit: Kunos Simulazioni

Both understeer and oversteer are fundamental concepts in racing. As such, understanding them will help you to improve very quickly.

That is why in our new tutorial, we explained when and why oversteer and understeer occur, and how you can avoid them.

What are Understeer and Oversteer in Sim racing?

Both understeer and oversteer occur during corners. Understeer is the loss of traction of the front tyres while steering. This sounds complex but describes a very simple effect: because your front tyres do not have enough grip, they will start to slide over the tarmac. That results in your car not turning enough to go round the corner or even going in a straight line.

Note: When your car doesn’t steer enough, you are experiencing understeer.

Oversteer is basically the opposite. In this case, it is the rear tyres of your car that lose grip and try to go in a straight line. But, because your rear is still attached to the rest of your car, your rear will swing out, forcing your car to turn sharper than you wanted it to. In the worst case, your rear will overtake your front, causing you to spin.

Note: When your car turns too much, you are experiencing oversteer.

How to avoid Oversteer and Understeer?

One important tip to fix understeer is to turn smoothly into a corner to slowly load the tyres with force. Another tip is to use weight transfer to your advantage. While braking, your car will dip towards the front which also means that more weight is transferred to the front. Since the car part that holds more weight also has more grip, we use physics to our advantage here. To reduce understeer in the turn-in phase of a corner, you stay on the brake just a little bit longer while you start turning in to have the necessary grip at the front.

Like understeer, oversteer can be caused by going too fast through a corner. Depending on your setup, one end of your car will lose grip if you do not reduce speed enough. We learned that under braking your front tyres have more grip. However, that also means that you rear will have less traction. So, you should not turn in too much while you are still on the brake pedal. To avoid oversteer, it can be helpful to lift off the brake a bit earlier.

You see, understeer and oversteer have to be well balanced while going through corners. Watch our YouTube video to find out how to find the right balance and get more tips on how to avoid understeer and oversteer!

What are some cars that you think should come to Gran Turismo 7? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!

Born and raised close to the Nürburgring.