Winter tyres: advice for safe driving - Driving a sports car well in the winter

Driving a sports car well in the winter

Winter tyres Published the 09/12/2010

Advice for safely driving your sports car on winter roads, from Philippe Ullmann, racing driver with ASP Compétition and instructor.

Picture of Philippe Ullman, a pilot Copyright © : Etienne Crébessègues

With a powerful and nervous car, you need to be extra vigilant at all levels. Both for acceleration and braking, the risks of losing control are even greater. More than with an ordinary car, you need to anticipate braking and adopt a light driving style. Look far ahead to gather as much information as possible about the road conditions.

Be aware of your limits
A good driver is not one who can regain control of the car, but one who avoids losing contact with the road. From the moment you start to slide and leave your trajectory, it is you who made a driving error. In motor racing like on the road, this error could cause a serious accident.

Anticipate braking
On a slippery surface, sudden braking will most likely lead to a loss of control. So, keep a sufficient safe distance and avoid sudden changes in direction which could lead to emergency braking.

Softly on the accelerator
To prevent the drive wheels from slipping, accelerate gradually. If despite this precaution you feel you are losing grip, shift up a gear. The force applied to the wheels will immediately reduce and you will recover grip. Do the same on steep slopes. 

Lightly in the bends
Once again, anticipation is key. Always slow down on approaching the bend, when the road is still straight. Take the bend at reduced speed turning the steering wheel lightly. Accelerate gradually out of the bend with no sudden jerks. 

What to do if you lose grip?
To make up for a driving error, you should do as follows without ever taking your eyes off the road. Remember: if you set your gaze on an obstacle, you will probably hit it.

> Rear wheel drive vehicle

  • If sudden braking is the cause of the skid, release the brake pedal completely.
  • If the rear wheels have lost grip, play on the accelerator and the clutch until you recover it.
  • To regain the control of the car, turn the steering wheel gently in the direction you want to go.
  • Once control has been regained, drive at a more reasonable speed! 

> Front-wheel drive vehicle 

  • If sudden braking is the cause of the loss of control, release the brake pedal.
  • If the wheels have lost contact with the road, release the accelerator slightly and press the clutch to transfer more weight to the front axle.
  • Once control has been regained, drive more reasonably!

This advice is given for information only and in no way shall incur the liability of rezulteo. 

Further reading

Winter tyres for sports cars

Philippe Ullmann, an experienced racing driver

 What is the ideal way to drive in winter? What should you do if the vehicle loses grip? To answer these questions, Rezulteo went to Philippe Ullmann for advice, a racing driver with the ASP Competition team. In GT since 1998 and V de V, the team has clocked up numerous wins, namely in the Coupe de France (2003).

As well as his racing activity, Philippe Ullmann organises track driving courses. More information at