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ALF short track guides

 
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Alf McQueef
Supercharged

My Car: XFR / C Max 1.6T Ti

Joined: 05 Jan 2007
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Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: ALF short track guides  Reply with quote

Hi chaps, this thread will contain short guides to common UK tracks. I'll post the couple I've done already, If you have a trackday coming up, let me know and (assuming it's not Croft, Knockhill, Oulton, Thruxton or Cadwell) I'll write something up. The level of detail should be fine for a first day, afterwards you may want to invest in a Circuit Guide or the Mark Hales DVD's, but these tend to be useful after a day somewhere.
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Alf McQueef
Supercharged

My Car: XFR / C Max 1.6T Ti

Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 6827


Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:32 am    Post subject: DONINGTON NATIONAL Reply with quote

DONINGTON NATIONAL

The pit straight leads to Redgate - quite a quick right hander, probably upper reaches of third gear for most. Critical you get a good exit here for the high-speed section that follows, it's a harder turn-in and earlier apex than many realise. Apex at the kerb (usually with flapper boards like at Copse) on the right, then hard on the power if you apex correctly as Hollywood that follows is flat. Exiting Hollywood, get over to the right for Craner Curves.

Craner Curves is a very fast left-hander. It's always been flat, or the slightest confidence-lift to help turn in before throttle back to floor - in the stuff I've driven there. It may not be for road cars, and for many it is flat because they've not worked out how fast they can take Redgate/Hollywood and are bimbling along when they reach it.

Craner Curves lead into the Old Hairpin, and if you have to sacrifice some speed through Craners to get over the the left approaching the Old Hairpin (right hander), do so. This corner is critical to a lap time as it's a lot faster than many expect and leads to a long uphill flat-out stretch - for me this (more than Craners, which has a brake zone shortly after it) is the make or break corner for laptime, followed by Coppice and Redgate. The Old Hairpin is much faster than you'd expect with a really long run-off to the left. As always, if you're not forced to use all the track here on exit you're too slow. It's off camber and needs a delicate touch on brake/throttle/steering to carry momentum through.

The two lefts - Starkeys and Schwantz- that follow (up the hill, under the bridge) are flat IME. Get over the left for Mcleans, which is a short hard brake (uphill, which helps) and just a pretty standard 90 degree rmedium speed right hander. This leads onto a short straight, with Coppice ahead - unsighted due to a crest. You pop up over this crest and Coppice is ahead - use the brake distance boards to stop it beign a suprise! Coppice is a bit like Redgate, you need to apex early and not go in too fast but then can be hard on the power for the rest of the corner - it lasts a long time and you may apex a second time, but it's critical to get a quick exit here for the main straight. If you go in too fast, you'll be scrabbling around on the outside of this long corner unable to get the power down and your speed along the long straight will be heavily compromised.

Then at the end of the main straight a simple right/left chicane leads you back onto the pit straight. This is just a case of picking your brake point and focusing on exit, not entry, speed. It's quite quick again- for many Doni will be 3rd-5th gear the whole way, unlike the GP circuit the National has no slow corners.


Last edited by Alf McQueef on Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alf McQueef
Supercharged

My Car: XFR / C Max 1.6T Ti

Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 6827


Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:33 am    Post subject: BRANDS INDY Reply with quote

BRANDS INDY LAP

Take the straight near the RH wall, then rise up the track as you approach Paddock, turning in from the start of a pit exit road to apex the kerb quite late. From the apex it's heavy on the power down the hill, letting the car run out - right out across the kerb in the compression if really on it, though it can screw the car (( I took a sump key and half the bottom of my exhaust off on that kerb and was still never much good at Brands!). You'll see loads of people apex Paddock too early and not power-on afterwards.

Druids is a simple hairpin, the ideal line is a very late turn-in then apex the kerb 2/3 of the way around it. I never used that as it meant braking and turning in very high up the hill towards the gravel, where no-one goes in a race (because they'd be overtaken) and the track lacks grip up there. As a result there is a more common line hugging the inside kerb most of the way around. Let the car run right out on the exit then straight over to the RHS for Graham Hill - this is now an odd double apex bend, ignore the first part and aim to get the second part right, it's a later turn-in that you'd think and you must apex it right, drift wide and it's v slippery.

Hard on the power for the back straight, then the next left (Surtees?) is very fast, just a dab on the brakes and in, grab a bit of the kerb on the left. Then flick right - still fast - and aim right up the hill for the advertising boards at the top of the gravel trap beyond the clearways entry. Clearways should be taken by running right out to the track edge at this point then making quite a hard, slow (2nd or 3rd gear) turn-in to the right after which you'll be hard on the power all the way around the bend - if you got the line right! You can turn in a little faster by not running so wide into Clearways but you'll then have a poor line and a slower exit onto the straight. Measure your performance here by seeing how many revs you are doing as you pass the marshall's post on the RHS on the way onto the straight, then tweak the entry to maximise this exit speed.

What Jackie Stuart said on Top Gear a little while back is right - the best corner is where you can just make the apex and then get hard on the power and only just avoid having to lift again. If you get on the power then need to lift, that's worse than leaving it a tad longer and not having to lift....


Last edited by Alf McQueef on Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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LittleSwill
Motoring On

My Car: Integrale 8v, Mx5 mk1 1.8s

Joined: 28 Dec 2006
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Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alf - Do you know anything about Goodwood. I'm toying with losing my track cherry but I haven't got a clue what to expect and I'm petrified.

cheers
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Alf McQueef
Supercharged

My Car: XFR / C Max 1.6T Ti

Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 6827


Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:36 pm    Post subject: GOODWOOD Reply with quote

Goodwood is, besides Thruxton (which is banned from most use by nimby's who seem to think a tad of trackday noise is worthy of a ban despite it being on the A303) my local track and possibly the one I know best. I love long, fast laps and tracks with a sense of history and Goodwood has all of that in spades. I've done maybe 7 trackdays there and one of my Caterham Academy rounds was there (a sprint as so little racing is allowed there) from which I have good memories as I won by 2 seconds from the guy in second. Not sure how much slower the 25th guy was

First things first - I rate Goodwood as a good beginners track for two reasons - it's not heavy on brakes and thus likely to destroy your road car, and it's a long lap with a lot of straight bits, wide tarmac, and very few cars allowed out at once so you barely see anyone. On the shorter tracks with few straights and say 30 cars out at once, a beginner can quickly end up in a train fretting about letting people past and learn nothing. That said you need a degree of sensibility because it's a fast lap and has very little runoff in places.

THE GOODWOOD LAP THEN:

The first corner, Madgwick, is an absolute snorter, and what Goodwood is all about. It's a double apex right hander with a very fast entry speed - some cars I've driven at Goodwood need only a confidence lift here,in a road car it is likely to be a short, hard brake. It's typically fourth gear or the upper reaches of third in a high-geared car. The turn-in point (marked with cone on trackdays) is slightly after the outside edge of the track curves to the right. Personally I brake in a straight line to this point then turn in, some follow the edge of the track. From turn-in keep looking to the eventual exit and you'll know when you get it right when you need no steering correction but just kiss the apex twice then the exit cone. Hard on the power from the first apex.

There then follows a long straight with a right-hand curve called Fordwater. This has always been flat in the dry, slight confidence lift in the wet, for me but in some road cars of a high bhp/poor grip disposition it might need a short brake. Sutters nearly span a 348 here, for example...

Then the there is another straight into "no name", the right hander before St Mary's. The wall comes ominously close to the track here and again it'd a very fast corner, anything from flat to a short brake. No need for heroics here as what matters to your lap time - especially on a track with such long straights - is corner exit speed and the crucial thing with no-name is to be able to get over the the right in time for a stable entry into St Mary's. This is an off-camber left hander which will require a short hard brake and is probably upper reaches of 3rd gear or 4th for most. Trim your line and entry speed until you can just make the apex and be hard on the power from there or just before, with no lift after coming onto the power (good general corner advice, that.)

Next comes a gentle flat right curve into Lavant corner, a relatively slow right hander (by Goodwood standards), usually third gear. This corner requires a very late turn-in (I think a bit later than the cone) then hard on the power after the apex and stick with it - you will feel you're running out of track but it comes back to you. In the wet a surface change on Lavant gives you far more grip than you expect, in the dry it's too easy to go in too fast, wash the front out, and miss your apex. It leads onto an epic straight so exit speed is again critical.

There then follows Lavan straight, with a kink in it, before Woodcote Corner, a tightening right hander of medium speed. Best to use the exit road on the left here as some kind of guide for the brake point as speeds will be high and you want a consistent point. Woodcote has two parts to it, and on trackdays they will mark out two cones for two separate turn-in points. I ignore the first and just drive straight to the second turn-in cone then treat the second, tighter part of the corner as the corner. Careful here... It leads onto a short straight then into the chicane so no need for heroics here, and it's this corner and the chicane where accidents seem to happen. The chicane is faster than you'd think, and it's important to get hard right in the early part to give yourself a favourable exit (the left part) onto the pit straight. The kerbs on the exit are a killer in the wet, generally people often take the first part of this chicane too fast and with the wrong line and run out of room for the left, which is the bit that matters.

Back to the start/finish line Goodwood is only an hour from me so I may be enticed into coming along to help/instruct for a Saturday day if I'm free...
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LittleSwill
Motoring On

My Car: Integrale 8v, Mx5 mk1 1.8s

Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 604


Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's on Saturday 29th April and I've sent the cheque so no backing out now!

I'm not really sure you'd want to get in a car with me though!
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Alf McQueef
Supercharged

My Car: XFR / C Max 1.6T Ti

Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 6827


Location: Winchester

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are a) reasonably sensible and co-ordinated and b) not wanting particularly to die young or wreck your car, then I might be able to get a pass

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