Fast Lap with Billy Johnson – Circuit Of The Americas


Turn 13: (The Increasing Right “Switch-back”)

When you’re new to the track, Turn 13 looks a lot like the entry of Turn 16.  On top of that, both corners are coming off of hairpins and short straights so they both have the same entry speeds and feeling before you have to commit.  This is bad because the entry of Turn 16 is flat-out while the entry of Turn 13 requires threshold braking.  I force myself to remember: “Brake for right-hander after the back straight; Full throttle for right-hander after ‘switch-backs'”.

Threshold brake with a 9-10 pedal on the left side of the road and trail the brakes down to the apex of Turn 13.  Track-out to the left and set up for the Turn 14 kink.

Turn 14: (Transitional Kink)

Once you track-out of Turn 13, immediately turn-in for Turn 14.  This will be full throttle in lower powered cars but in heavy high-powered cars it may require a slight crack out of the throttle to prevent the car from understeering too far to the left.  Bring the car back to mid-track to set up for Turn 15.

Turn 15:  (The Decreasing Left “Switch-back” aka: The Left-Front Killer)

This is an awkward double-apex, decreasing-radius, left hander which unloads the left front tire as you struggle to turn the car while trying to slow it down.  It’s easy to lock up and kill the left front tire here, especially if you have too much front brake bias (or over-activate the ABS causing the car to push badly).

Careful, it’s easy to lock up and the kill the left front tire here.

Start from the center of the road and make the braking zone as straight as you can aiming at the ROC side of the road.  You can apex the first curbing on the left or miss it completely as you straighten your braking zone.  The proper balance will depend on your car and how straight you can get the brake zone.  From here, release or trail the brakes and rotate the car to get down to the apex.  Pick up throttle at the apex and power-down to full throttle.

Turn 16 &  17: (The Sweeper)

The entry of this corner is the same speed as and visually looks like the entry of Turn 13.  I again try to remember: “Brake for right-hander after the back straight; Full throttle for right-hander after switch-backs”.

Start off on the left side of the road and turn-in full throttle.  Like Turn 2, your turn-in point will depend on the grip and balance of your car.  It’s important to have the car quickly take a set with the weight on the left  and arc the car in to the corner with a turn-in that will get you down to the apex.  Depending on the car, you can apex both Turn 16 & Turn 17 or you can miss Turn 16’s apex by a car width or two and treat the two turns as a single late-apex for turn 17.  Lift as necessary to keep the line and not push off the track on track-out, which will not be a problem in light weight high downforce cars.

Michael Schumacher exiting the turn 16-17 Sweeper.



  1. Interesting how time and experience changes things. Everyone does 16-18 now and ignores 17 for example. Fun read anyway!

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