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Spa Francorchamps

SpaWith all the myth surrounding Spa it is actually quite an easy track to drive.  There are not very many corners and they are all technically fairly straight forwards.  What you do need to be quick around Spa, though, is lots of bravery.  Some of the corners, Eau Rouge-Radillion, Pouhon and Blanchimont for example require a third Shredded Wheat before really attacking them.

La Source

The hairpin at La Source used to be a junction on the road from Stavelot as it joined the road between Francorchamps and Malmedy.  Now it is the first turn of the permanent circuit of Spa.  It is a fairly simple hairpin with a wide entry and exit with a steepening down hill exit.  Brake in a straight line, turn in late and on the brake upto the apex, use a bit of the flat apex kerb if you want to then power on out to the exit again using the kerbs if you want as they are flat and smooth.

Eau Rouge-Radillion

Eau Rouge is the simple left flick at the bottom of the hill leading down past the endurance pits, the difficult part of this corner sequence is the climbing Radillion curve.  Eau Rouge sticks as a romantic name however as ‘Red Water’ has all sorts of dangerous connotations.  In fact it is the name of the stream that runs under the track here, so called because the mineral deposits in the water turn the rocks coppery in colour.  Now I’ve shattered you illusions lets look at the corner properly.  Approach down the hill slightly away from the pit wall on the right.  If you get too close you will experience aero drag off the wallwhich will slow the car a touch.  As you approach the bottom of the hill, move over to the right, skim the wall then bring the car over to the left aiming to use all of the kerb on the left.  You want to open out the right hander as much as you can so don’t turn in too early or you will run out of road as you climb the hill.  Nibble the bottom of the kerb on the right and be careful here in a powerful car as there is a slight crest at the apex which can make the car go a bit light and get you in trouble.  Pick up the kerb at the top of the hill and use all of the left kerb as you exit and some of the right kerb on the Kemmel straight as well.

Les Combes-Malmedy

Brake late as you approach Les Combes, the circuit is heading uphill here so you will loose speed more easily.  The ‘S’ is quite quick, not like a modern chicane.  Turn in just before the end of the kerb on the left and use the apex kerb on the right if you want to.  It is high but smooth.  Use the left apex kerb but only try to use 3/4 of the track width to the right as you exit so you can get back over to the left for a good sweep through Malmedy.  It is a short straight after Malmedy but carry as much speed through and out of this corner as you can.  Again use all the apex kerb and flat exit kerb.

Rivage

As you brake down the hill for Rivage it gets a bit bumpy but head almost straight for the inside of the corner.  This is a long hairpin and down hill all the way so get the nose into the bend early to avoid taking too long of a line on a more traditional late turn in.  also by getting into the corner earlier you are fighting less of the downhill camber in the first part of the corner making it easier to turn in.  Brake deep into the apex and get on the throttle about 2/3 around using all the exit kerb

No-Name

The following left hander has no name (that I’ve ever heard) and is a tricky down hill left.  The car will want to oversteer as you turn in but treat it like a ‘textbook’ 90 left.  Brake in a straight line, turn in a bit late, get on the power as early as you can, use all the exit kerb and maximise your exit speed for the run down to Pouhon.

Pouhon

A tricky double apex left which is quick and blind on the way in.  Turn in quite early, a good couple of car lengths before the end of the kerb on the right and aim to apex half way round the first 90 left.  Let the car run out to the right in the middle of the 2 turns, using some kerb on the right here if you need to, then continue the arc with the steering as you come back into the left.  Stay off both apex kerbs but again you can use the exit kerb here if you want as it is flat and smooth.  the second part of the corner is all about building speed so aim to carry speed into the first part but with the slowest part at the turn in then build all the way through to the exit.

Pif-Paf

Its proper name is Les Fagnes but everyone refers to it as Pif-Paf.  A quick ‘S’ bend.  The tightest part is the second corner, the left hander so approach the ‘S’ on the left, brake and bring the car into the right hand kerb.  Don’t overdo the speed here as you need to to keep the car right of centre as you exit to get the best line through the left.  You can use the right hand apex kerb but I suggest staying off the left.  Exit using the flat kerb on the right.

Stavelot1

Another fairly ‘text book’ right hander but one of the slower corners on the track.  You can get away with using the apex kerb here and on the exit, particularly in a well damped and powerful car, use all the exit kerb and stay on the kerb until you turn into the second part of the corner.

Stavelot2

An opening right which leads back up the hill towards the start.  Its important to carry speed through here and not make any mistakes as any lost speed here will hurt you for the next mile up the hilll to the bus stop.  Use the exit kerb if you need to to flatten the exit.

Blanchimont

Fast but technically quite easy.  Shallow out the bend as much as you can and use the exit kerb if you need to.

Bus Stop

This is now a very severe right/left chicane.  Use the flat kerbing but beware of the ‘sausage’ lumps behind the flat kerbs.  Sacrifice the first corner by exiting tighter to the right to open out the left hander to give you the best run onto the start straight.

The following hot lap video should be watched in conjunction with these notes.

Snetterton 300

Snetterton300The majority of the Snetterton Circuit is covered in the Track Guides in Race and Trackday Driving Techniques.  Here we will look at the new corners which make up the ‘300’ variation of the circuit with a Circuit Guide Video covering the whole track.

Montreal

Approach on the left of the circuit and brake hard.  Turn in adjacent to the last marker board on the left and carry the brake into the apex remembering the ‘Scale of 10’.  Apex about two thirds of the way around the corner and use the full track width ont he exit.  Exit at the far side of the ‘cut-through’ that joins the Montreal hairpin to the Bentley Straight for the ‘200’ layout and use the kerb here as well.

Palmer

Turn in from the far right and later than you first think.  The corner is slightly longer than 90 degrees and so you need to turn in later to avoid running out of road on the exit.  turn in as you come alongside the last marker board on the left of the circuit.  Apex two thirds of the way around the corner where exit two thirds of the way down the exit kerb.  The kerbing is very flat through here so use it to your advantage.

Agostini

A fairly simple hairpin.  Turn in late, apex late and straight line the exit as much as you can using the kerbs all the way through.  The turn in is adjacent to the last marker board on the right, apex on the last quarter of the kerb on the inside and exit in the end of the kerb on the left, again using as much kerb as you can but be carful of the exit kerb finishing early as there is a drop to the dirt which can upset the car.

Hamilton

This corner always seems to surprise you even though you can clearly see it coming.  Although it doesn’t realy flow from the previous bend it is quite a challenging corner.  Depending on your power:grip ratio this may need a brake or just a lift.  I find a little left foot brake here helps to point the nose into the corner without loosing too much pace.  Shallow out the curve as best you can using all the width of the apex and exit kerbs and come immediately back to the left on the exit for the next corner.

Oggies

Brake hard and turn in late here but exit initially in the middle of the circuit before letting the car drift wide as the corner carries on turning as it opens out.  Use the apex kerb.

Williams

A long, slightly off camber bend, turn in half way between the two marker boards on the left and hold onto the apex briefly.  Let the car drift wide only when the straight is clearly coming into view as it is easy to run wide here and the exit speed here is critical for a good run down the Bentley Straight.  Use the apex and exit kerbs to their full width to minimise the radius as much as possible.

The video below shows a hotlap with notes of the Snetterton 300 Circuit.

Rockingham International Supersportscar Circuit Long

10-13

A guide to most of this circuit is available in the book Race and Trackday Driving Techniques from Veloce Publishing, however this is the small extension of the circuit between Pif-Paf and Gracelands which adds the Kirby hairpin.

Pif-Paf

No need to turn in from the right hand side now as the left part of Pif-Paf is a much shorter corner than on the shorter version of the circuit.  Pif-Paf now becomes a fast left right flick.  Use as much of the flat kerbs as you can here to straighten the corners and carry as much speed as you can through. As you exit keep the car turning gently right over the brow of the hill to line you up for the braking for the Kirby hairpin.

Kirby

This is one of those corners which will require a differing line depending on what you are driving.  The hairpin is actually two, almost 90 degree, left hand turns immediately after one another.  Braking here is down hill so you will need to be a bit earlier on the brakes to compensate. In a car with more grip than power, turn in relatively early, aiming to clip the kerb on the first left hand turn.  Use the brake all the way into this first clipping point, rolling off the brake all the way into the bend.  Pick up the throttle and continue the curve through the second apex, using all the apex kerb and exit kerbs to shallow out the angle of the corner.  In a car with more power than grip go deeper into the first turn, missing the first apex and come back on yourself after the turn to give a straighter run through the second apex hence allowing you to get the power down more smoothly.

Check the video below for a hotlap around the circuit filmed from a Mazda Mk3 Cup car in testing in 2013.

Red Bull Ring

RedbullringThe Österreichring has been re-opened as the Red Bull Ring after lots of investment from the energy drink company.  The circuit mirros the previous incarnation of the circuit, the A1 Ring, which was developed out of the Österreichring in the 1990’s after the old circuit was deemed to be too fast to be safe.  The track looks quite dull on paper but the gradients and the technical nature of the corners makes it a real challenge.  The tarmac is similar to Donington in that it is a really smooth surface so tyre wear isn’t a big issue but ultimate grip can be unless you have a really soft compound.  There are a few bumpy braking zones but the track itself is fairly smooth and the kerbs are user friendly and low.

Turn 1

Steep uphill approach to this corner.  Start on the left hand side of the circuit and as you approach the corner you can brake very late as the circuit climbs steeply in the braking zone.  Turn in about 2 car lengths after the ‘50’ marker and aim to clip the flat part of the apex kerb, avoiding the large yellow ‘sausage’ beyond.  The exit is tight as the track comes back in towards you so use the kerbs on the exit but avoid using the grass matting beyond as this has less grip and will drag you off and the tarmac run-off here stops abruptly which will put you onto the dirt.

Turn 2

Again you have uphill braking into 2 but the braking area is quite bumpy here.  Keep to the right hand side of the white line running up the left of the track.  Its tempting to go over it and use the extra foot of tarmac on the other side but this acts as a drainage gully so has large drain grates dotted along its length.  Turn in just before the marshals hut on the left and use the kerb on the inside, avoiding the yellow sausage.  This corner climbs steeply as you go through it so it is difficult to get the car to do exactly as you want it too.  A touch too fast on the turn in and the front will wash wide, a touch too slow and you will get a load of power oversteer on the exit as the weight distribution shifts mid corner.  Getting the power down is important here as the first bit of acceleration out of the corner is uphill.  Avoid the kerb and grass mat on the exit as this will reduce your traction as you accelerate.

Turn 3

You’ve passed the high point on the circuit now so the rest of your braking and corner entries are all down hill.  Brake early onto the left hand side of the circuit ready for the corner.  The braking zone is bumpy here.  Turn in late to the corner, approx 1 car length before the access road on the left of the circuit.  Your turn in is approximately the same speed as turn 2 above even though the corner is more open as the downhill entry makes the car hard to turn in.  Keep the brake on as you turn in to keep the weight over the front and make sure you get the front of the car into the apex kerb then feed in the power as you walk out to the left, coming alongside the exit kerb about two-thirds of the way along its length.  Keep turning to the right to ease the car back over to the right for turn 4.

Turn 4

Come alongside the right hand side of the circuit just after the ‘150’ marker.  As you go over the crest the corner will start to appear. Brake early and relatively gently and keep the brake on into the corner to keep the weight over the nose and to help the turn in.  Turn in about 1 length after the ‘50’ marker and slowly wind the lock into the corner as the car slows on the brake.  Hold the apex for a moment then release the turn and power out as the next short straight comes into view.  Use the kerb on the exit.

Turn 5

Squeeze the brake and turn in alongside the access road on the right.  Use the brake to help rotate the car in towards the apex kerb.  Use the kerb and the grass inside it and get the power on as early as you can whilst making the following right a flat out kink.  Exit the first part of the corner on the right hand kerb and follow this until it ends (and a little bit of dirt beyond) then let the car drift out to the left on the exit.  Avoid the kerb on the left on the exit as it ends too soon which will leave you on the grass.

Turn 6

Keep on the left as you go over the crest.  Turn 6 only comes into view as you are already braking and turning in.  Turn in early for the corner, just after the ‘50’ marker, and carry as much speed in as you can.  Use all the kerb on the apex and run out wide onto the exit kerb

Turn 7

A short straight then a short, sharp brake for the last turn.  Down hill entry again but a really short apex so rotate the car a bit on the brake then grab what kerb you can on the apex getting full on the power before you get to the inside of the corner.  Run out onto the exit kerb then stay on the left all the way down to the first turn again.

Oulton Park International

10-08

Other than the points below you can follow the guide in the book with the video below.

Old Hall
Only use the extra bit of track on the left as you brake if your car is well enough damped as it is much bumpier than the regular tarmac.  As of 2014 this area has been repaved so has smooth tarmac right upto the white line.  Maximise the width of the track on turn in here.

Druids
Depnding on your power to grip ratio it can be better to turn in earlier here and hit the ifrst apex and the second, or just the first or just the second.  Generally the more grip you have relative to your power the earlier you can turn in and carry speed through to the exit.

The following video was filmed in car during a race to give an idea of an ideal line.  View the hot lap in conjunction with the notes here and in the book Race and Trackday Driving Techniques from Veloce.