Nurburgring Grand Prix

Nurburgring-GPsm

Castrol S
As you approach the first turn you will be travelling very quickly on the left hand side of the circuit.  The corner is blind,over the slight crest that is adjacent to the pitlane exit.  Over the brow of this slight crest the road kinks to the right so as you brake for the corner arc slightly to the right as if you are aiming for the centre of the track, thi s will bring you alongside the left hand kerb as you get to the turn in for the corner.  Be very gentle on the brake in the last part of the braking zone and into the corner as the front of the car is very heavily loaded with the extreme braking and the down hill approach, it is easy to overload the front tyres here by asking for too much braking and turning at the same time which will cause you to run wide.  Turn in late, approximately 2 car lengths before the kerb on the left ends.  The apex has a sharp downhill drop on it and in a stiffly sprung single seater or GT car you should run a little wide, a front wheel drive car is more stable through here as you try to get the power down but it can still be a benefit to miss the apex a bit (a cars width wide is fine) to avoid picking up too much wheelspin.  On the exit let the car run out wide, minimising the angle of the exit as much as you can.  Use some of the tarmac run-off/extra track on the left at the exit along with the full width of the kerb and a little of the grasscrete beyond.

Mercedes Arena

The Mercedes Arena consists of 3 corners, the first two to the left and the third to the right, I’ll refer to them as 1, 2 and 3.
1: After exiting the Castrol S on the left of the circuit aim almost straight ahead as the roadstarts to turn left.  As you get approx a third of the way out from the left hand side squeeze the brake and bring the car back into the left hand kerb.  This corner has a long apex where you will hold the kerb for a while before moving out to the exit.  From about half way along the inside kerb start to let the car drift out to the right but try to stay off the kerbs on the right on the exit.
2: Follow the kerbs on the right as you approach the downlill entry to the left hander.  Brake hard initially but then immediately start to roll out of the brake as you balance the steering and brake as you start to bring the car into the apex.  This is another long apex and the corner tightens half way round, this is where you want to pick up the apex on the left kerb and hold it until the kerb ends.
3:  Turn into the right hander at the end of the apex kerb for corner 2.  This is the most important corner in this section as a good exit here will determine your speed down the long straight to RTL and Ford Kurve.  The key is to maximise the track width on entry, apex and exit to minimise the angle allowing you to carry as much speed as possible through the corner .  Use all of the apex kerb and some grasscrete beyond if necessary and on the exit use the tarmac runoff, grass matting, kerb, basically any real-estate you can get your car onto to minimise the exit angle.

RTL and Ford Kurve

The turn in point for the left handed part of these corners is approximately 1 metre before the grass stops and a strip of old tarmac (for an old access road) starts at the edge of the road.  Come into the apex but stay off the kerb.  Use the positive banking in the corner to allow you to get on the throttle and carry speed through the bend.  Use the full width of the track on the exit.  Bring the car back to the middle of the track then brake for the right hander.  This has a downhill entry but a positive bank again so you can use this to help get the car turned in (the wider you go the less banking there is so the less help it gives).  Get the car into the right hand side and hold the apex for a couple of metres without using the apex kerb.  Accelerate out using the full track width including the kerb and the concrete strip beyond.

Dunlop Kehre

As you approach the corner bring the car out to the middle of the road to allow yourself a straight-line brake into the left of the track before you turn in as the track gently arcs to the left as it drops down the hill to the corner.  Turn in late and on the brakes but be careful of overloading the front tyres as you are also traveling down a hill.  Bring the car into the inside quite early (but stay off the high kerb) and hold the apex until about two thirds of the way around the corner.  This bend promotes understeer so it is important to make sure you have the nose working well for you and pointed around the corner before you get on the power.  The exit kerb and the concrete beyond can be used unless you have a very low car as the kerb is quite high.

Michael Schumacher S

If you have a VERY well damped car you can use the high flat kerb on the right as you turn in to give you a little bit more of an open angle, otherwise stay off this and also stay off the apex kerb on the first left hander.  This is the slowest of these two corners and you should do all you can to maximise your speed through here as this determines your speed back up the straight to Kumho Kurve.  You can use the gradient of this uphill corner to allow you to carry a bit more speed in than you first think.  The exit point for the left is the apex of the right hander, use all the kerb and the grass matting beyond it to straightline this bend as much as you can and use the full track width on the exit.

Kumho Kurve

You approach this corner uphill and the circuit plateaus at the corner so the braking can initially be a bit difficult to judge.  Brake in a straight line on the extreme right of the circuit and turn in just before the end of the grass matting on the right.  Try to use the camber of the corner to carry as much speed as you can into the bend.  Clip the apex halfway around the corner (staying off the kerb) and run out to the full width of the track on the right (and a little bit of kerb) on the exit.  Immediately point the car back over to the left ready for the Bit Kurve.

Bit Kurve

Turn in from the very edge of the circuit on the left using a little bit of brake to help rotate the car and get the nose pointed into the corner.  The first part of the turn starts to drop down hill so the car will feel like it is floating down to the apex.  Just after the apex the road climbs again gently, giving you more grip and letting you get hard on the power.  Just before the exit the road starts to drop again so you will run a little wider on the exit but use all the kerb and concrete strip beyond to straighten this exit trajectory.  The corner feels like a gentler version of the Bombhole at Snetterton.

Hatzenbects Bogen

A flat out kink.  Stay off the kerbs all the way through and take the shallowest trajectory.

Veedol

There are 2 differant chicanes at Veedol, the on the Formula 1 cars use is the slowest and tightest where you will need to clatter over the kerbs to straighline it as much as you can for the fastest line.  The first part, the left is the tightest and here you need to use as much kerb as your suspension can take, accelerate through the right using the lower, flatter part of the kerb and run out to the kerb on the left on the exit.
The second version of the chicane gets used more for club racing and for the VLN races, it is much quicker and more open and a much more satisfying corner to drive.  The first apex is blind as you approach, being over a small crest, so spot your braking but note that the chicane is fast so you won’t want to loose too much speed.  Turn in just before the crest in the road (and hence, just before you can see the apex) and be careful of the bumps in the end of the braking zone and upto the apex.  Use all of the apex kerb and the grass matting beyond and get back on the power at this point.  Again use all of the kerb on the right and let the car slingshot out to the edge of the road on the left on the exit.

Coca Cola Kurve

A fairly straightforward hairpin, be wary of making sure you get a good exit as this determines your speed down the long start/finish straight.  Turn in 2 car lengths before the split where the GP circuit turns right and the Nordschleife turns left.  Carry the brake a good quarter of the way into the turn making sure you use the extra weight on the front to help turn the car and get the front pointed into the apex.  The apex is a cars length after the start of the pitwall.  Get on the throttle and let the car use all of the track width, the kerb and the concrete strip on the exit.

Overtaking

There are a few obvious spots for overtaking, such as outbraking into the Castrol S, RTL, Dunlop Kehre, Kumho Kurve and the Veedol, but there are a couple of other corners whre you can surprise your competitor.  The second left hander in the Mercedes Arena is one such place, it can be possible to dive up the inside here as the best line in is a wide approach.  This will mean you will need to hold your competitor up on the apex otherwise they will repass you as you exit the following right having taken a cleaner line.  You can also ovetake into Ford Kurve as alot of people will try to take the corner with a wider turn-in, so will sacrifice their speed through the preceeding left to position themselves for the right.

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Brands Hatch Indy

10-01Paddock Hill Bend

One of the most daunting corners in British motorsport and the first challenge on your lap.  You will cross the start/finish line towards the right hand side of the track and angle yourself slightly left as you climb the hill leading to the top of Paddock Hill.  The track falls from left to right all the way along the start straight so keeping the car to the right along the straight means you will have less of a hill to climb coming out of the last corner at Clark Curve and will therefore be travelling faster.  The start straight also gently arcs to the right along its whole length as well.  The sharp ascent as you move to the left helps to stabilise your car ready for your braking.  The braking is done over the gentle crest of the hill, you will not be able to see the corner or the apex before you brake so you will need to run the corner a couple of times to get the trajectory in your mind so that you can judge the braking point accurately.   Whilst braking try to keep the car as straight as possible but with the track falling away to your right and also gently arcing to the right you will not be able to be perfectly straight.  Also be aware of a couple of bumps in the braking zone which will do their best to destabilise the car.  Aim for the green and white striped board on the tyre wall and your turn in point will be as you get to the edge of the track whilst travelling in this direction.  By the time you turn in you will be already dropping down the hill so you will need to be mostly clear of the brake at the turn in point and don’t pick up too much balancing throttle too early as this can unsettle the car.  The apex is just at the point where the hill is at it’s steepest but stay off of the apex kerb as it is quite high and can easily get you into trouble whilst giving you no benefit in the angle of attack on the corner.  By the time you have reached the apex you should be hard on the throttle.  It’s always a bit of a leap of faith this one as you seem to need to get on the power before the car has fully settled and when your instincts are telling you that the steep descent will make you wash out wide and off of the track.  What you are relying on is the exit of the bend coinciding with the valley bottom between Paddock Hill and Hailwood Hill.  The car will compress dramatically here giving you a large helping of grip just when you are about to run off of the track.  This means you can keep your momentum you gained by getting on the throttle early mid corner and carry the speed up Hailwood.  The exit of this corner is always a point of conflict between the competitor and MSV.  The edge of the track here is marked with a mild rumble strip but has the tarmac of the pre 1976 alignment of the corner outside this strip with the gravel trap placed directly onto the old tarmac.  The fastest line here is to get all four wheels over the rumble strip and onto the old track but MSV would rather you didn’t.  In recent times the gravel trap has seemingly moved a little closer to the circuit but it is still possible to get at least 2 wheels over the rumble strip.  There are limits often imposed on how often you are allowed (?!?) to do this in a race so make sure you don’t fall foul of the rules.

Druids Bend

After exiting Paddock Hill Bend you will be on the left of the circuit climbing Hailwood Hill towards Druids.  Initiate your braking on the left but immediately start to bring the car into an early apex.  Be careful with your braking here as there is a slight crest in the road just under the bridge which can lighten your wheels momentarily, causing them to lock up.  Get alongside the apex kerbing early and follow it around the corner using the gentle banking effect of the hill to help you.  Avoid running up onto the kerb as it has large ‘cow pat’ ridges which will throw you off line.  Try to get the power on smoothly and from the middle of the corner, your speed trace should look close to a mirror image with you braking and reducing speed all the way up to the mid point of the bend before accelerating away from this mid point.  Let the car run out to the left hand edge on the exit.

Graham Hill Bend

A shadow of it’s former self, this corner was re-profiled in 1998 and is now a messy, fiddly left hander which rather spoils the flow of the circuit.  Most people make the mistake of rushing over to the right hand side of the circuit as soon as they have exited Druids and following the edge of the track to the turn in point.  Due to the shape of the track, a slight left kink before the bend, and the descent down the hill this action tends to create instability in the car in the braking zone.  A better line is to aim the car half way between the ‘50’ board and the turn in point and as you approach the edge of the track here start to turn the car to come alongside the track edge, this takes you up to the turn in point where you can continue to turn in the wheel to bring the car into the corner.  This line means you will initiate the braking with the car still in a straight line so you will be more stable up to the turn in point.  You will be braking down hill here to bear in mind the extra momentum you will have as you can very easily run a touch wide of the apex.  The apex is at the foot of the hill so you can turn in on the brake to help the direction change without getting the car out of shape.  The following straight is reasonably long so you want to be on the power as hard and as soon as possible and shallow out your exit line.  Use a little apex kerb and a little exit kerb but be warned that these kerbs increase their height dramatically the further from the track you get and are high and sharp enough to cause damage to the underside of your car if it is low.  This extra height will also unsettle your car so for the best lap times don’t get too greedy.  MSV are also particularly sensitive about drivers repeatedly running over the kerbs and onto the grass here so check of any penalties that may apply before you go on track.

Surtees and McLaren

I’ve included these two corners together as the first has such a direct impact on the second, by which I mean that if you get the first one right the second is takes care of itself.  As the track kinks left along the Cooper Straight you will be hugging the white line on the right.  The proximity of the barrier on the left means the approach to the corner is fairly blind and you won’t see the exit until you are at the apex.  Your turn in needs to be fairly early and fast.  A lot of vehicles can turn in here flat or with just a little lift.  Use as much of the kerb on the left as you possibly can (though be aware there is a dip or shallow point right in the middle of the kerb so try to go one side or the other of this point).  If you’ve used enough kerb at the left of Surtees then the right at McLaren should then be almost straight, use the full track width over the white line on the right but not the rough kerb.  You are gently climbing again now so aim towards the outside of the track ready for the turn into Clearways and Clark Curve.

Clearways and Clark Curve

Braking up hill as you leave the apex of McLaren and traversing the track in a straight line towards the left hand side try to get about a cars width from the left before turning in.  At the turn in point the ascent plateaus so gently ease the brake into the turn, it’s easy to out-brake yourself in the last few feet.  The first apex is at the point where the Indy track and the Grand Prix loop meet.  There is a fairly flat kerb on the inside which has it’s shape disguised by a smooth arc of paint on the tarmac.  The point where this painted tarmac becomes kerb is where you want to aim your right front wheel.  Get on the power smoothly here as the moment you want to be accelerating the track falls away from you down hill which will make you run out wide.  You should aim to get to the left of the track just before the white line which runs across the circuit delineating the restart line for pace car conditions.  This line traverses the track and the pit entrance and is at the bottom of the hill, keep the wheel turned in and the power applied and as the track straightens out come into your second apex which is just past the marshals post on the right where there is a small section of tarmac to the right of the white line.  Keep hugging the pit wall all the way to the start line as this is the shortest route and the bottom of the hill so less work for your engine to do.

Below is a video of a hot lap filmed in car to tie in to the text above:

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