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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.