Fast Lap: Willow Springs International Raceway



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Turn 3 (Entering : “The Omega”)

This corner has two forms of compression: a good amount of on-camber banking as well as the turn goes from flat to uphill.  Both of these greatly increase vertical load on the car and increase grip.

Find a good braking reference point and threshold brake in a straight line on the right side of the road.  Trail off the brakes to an early turn-in to effectively use the banking and compression of the corner to turn the car.  I see a lot of people brake too early and turn-in on throttle and accelerate up the hill.  It is better to carry more entry speed into this turn off-throttle and use the banking and uphill compression to slow and turn the car.  It is important to get a lot of the turning done at the apex since you loose the added grip from the banking and the uphill compression at the end of the turn (there seems to be a theme here).  While entry speed is good, it is important to not slide the car and scrub speed here with excess entry speed because it is a pretty steep hill heading to Turn 4.




Turn 4 (The Balcony/”The Omega”)

While accelerating up the hill, apex the right curbing at the entry of the Omega and keep the wheel straight to drive to the middle of the road.  The road straightens briefly between the two apexes at the top of the hill.  It is not necessary to track all the way to the left side, but it’s important to not hug the right side of the road which will give you a poor exit going back down the hill.  The middle of the track is a good compromise.  Be patient to get back down to the second apex.  It is easy to turn-in early and run out of room when tracking-out.  Be sure to have a good late apex and release the car to track out while accelerating through the apex and down the hill.




Turn 5 (Nameless)

Turn 5 is a pretty busy section of the track and is one of the most important corners because it leads down the long straight to T8.  Like T3, this turn has two forms of compression that increase grip: a little on-camber banking and elevation change from downhill to flat. 

While accelerating downhill from T4, there is a kink to the right at the entry to T5.  Be on the left side of the road with a late turn-in for this kink.  Make sure the car is straight, stable, and not loaded up on the left side when you go to brakes.  It is important to get the car slowed down for a good exit.  The exit is far more important than a fast entry. 

In a lower powered car, it is important to maintain a high mid-corner speed through T5.  Make the radius of the corner as large as possible by tracking-out earlier and following the outside edge of the track up to T6.  In higher powered cars, it’s more important to get the car pointed straight as soon as possible to put the power down more effectively.  This is best accomplished with slightly more entry speed and a tighter line through the corner, off throttle, to get the car turned.  Once the car is rotated, straighten the wheel and the car will hook up much better.

Turn 6 (Monroe Ridge)

This corner is blind and has a ‘crest’ at the apex where cars get light, but should be flat in most cars.  Lower powered cars will be further to the right of the road entering the corner, making T6 a much sharper corner than higher powered cars that kept a tighter line through T5 and have a straighter shot to T6.  It is important to emphasize a later apex in this corner to not run out of room at the exit.  If you turned in too early and are going to drop tires on exit, don’t try to jerk the steering wheel to get the car back on the track or lift off the throttle which can cause a hook-spin.  If you are going off, straighten the wheel and slowly ease the car back on the track.  Dropping tires is not the end of the world and probably won’t hurt your car, but if you panic and are aggressive with your inputs, it could in a much bigger way.

Turn 7 (Wing’s Leg/”The Kink”)

This is not much of a corner but rather a slight bend in the track.  Stay to the left side of the road from the exit of T6, through T7, to the entry of T8.



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