Counter-clockwise Hotlap - HMRC
A HOT LAP OF HALLETT MOTOR RACING CIRCUIT
by John Blocha
Counter Clockwise Hallett Motor Racing Circuit Windows Media Player --> medium/low bandwidth (3.3meg) Real Player --> medium/low bandwidth (3meg)
Hallett is a ten turn 1.8 mile track with a number of elevation changes to it. As tracks go, it is not a very high speed track. It is a driver's track that is technical in the sense that one must apply good driving techniques to negotiate it quickly. As such, it is likely one of the best tracks in the country to learn high performance driving on. The runoff areas are wide and the safety barriers are tire walls, not concrete or Armco steel.
Each of the turns have names as well as numbers. We'll use numbers for ease of recall.
Let's go for a ride!
Coming off the starting grid onto the track just beyond the start/finish line we accelerate up to 3rd gear and move to the far right headed for turn one. This is a medium fast turn so we brake lightly, turn in to the late apex and accelerating let the car drift across the road touching the edge at the end of the concrete curb. It is important to be right on the apex in this turn. The outside of the turn has a slight reverse camber to it. An early apex in this turn can send us into the daisies if we're carrying any speed at all.
Out of one, we accelerate hard on a slight uphill and shift into 4th just before the crest which is about half way to turn 2. Coming over the crest we can just start to see 2, our speed is about 90mph. At the first marker we start braking, building up the pressure quickly, downshift to 3rd, then 2nd. At the turn in point we are down to about 10mph. Turn 2 is a 165 degree left hander tight! The turn in should be very deliberate. We start accelerating hard when the car is settled down and pointed straight at the apex of turn 3 on the right side of the track. We let the car take a natural course across the apex, shift smoothly to 3rd and proceed on the left up the hill to turn 4.
Surprise! As we approach turn 4 the track levels out and for an instant we don't see the road surface. We back off the throttle to transfer a little load onto the front tires just as we begin to crest the hill. Turn 4 and 5 are close together and to execute 5 correctly, we need to sacrifice a little at 4. The turn-in point for 4 is to the far left and almost into the turn. We take a very late apex and exit the turn from the right side across the apex of 5 on the left allowing the car to drift over to the right side of the track heading to turn 6. We are still in 3rd gear. Done smoothly, this series of turns feels like a slalom.
Turn 6 is another one of these that seems to fall off on the outside. On the line through the late apex, there is a slight trough or groove that lets us carry good speed through the turn. With the car pointed down the straight we shift into 4th staying on the right side of the track. Before the turn-in to turn 7 we tap the brake and downshift smoothly into 3rd. It is important to maintain good car balance going into 7 in preparation for turns 8 and 9. The three turns are close together. At the apex of 7 we accelerate for a split second easing a little just before the apex of 8 which is at the brow of a slight uphill. At the apex, as the nose settles down we accelerate smoothly again for split second to turn 9.
Turn 9 is affectionately and officially called "The Bitch". It took me a while to get this turn right. It is a fast uphill right hander and can be taken in 3rd gear if we maintain momentum going into the turn. Slow down and we will have to shift into 2nd. Approaching 9 we see many skid marks heading past the turn-in point and off the end of the track. They are the result of overdoing it coming out of turn 8. If you lock up the brakes, you lose momentum and steering control. Because we're carrying speed we must watch carefully for the turn-in point. By the time we reach the apex we are at full throttle and let the car drift to the left edge of the track. Out of the turn we start moving to the right side of the track, shift into 4th heading down the straight to turn 10.
Turn 10 takes us onto the 3/10 mile start/finish straight. We want to exit this turn with a good head of steam so it is important to hit the apex just right. Braking hard and downshifting to 3rd coming into the turn, we enter late and stay about a 1/3 of the road width away from the inside. The apex is around the other side near the exit of the turn. About midway through the turn we see the apex and start accelerating so that we are at full throttle while crossing it. The car drifts smoothly to the outside of the track. We shift to 4th and flash by the start/finish line heading for turn one again. This time we'll be approaching turn one at a much higher speed so the braking will be heavier than the first time around.
If we do things right we can be back at the start/finish in about 1 minute 35 seconds!
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