Episode 19

“My Ultimate Race Track”

If I was in charge of making my own race circuit, with no limitations, what would I come up with? The result is interesting, to say the least…

Another week in lockdown, and another week of my mind’s creativity running amok. This week’s result? My ultimate racetrack.

The rules for this task are simple: Chop up my favourite corners/sections from existing tracks around the world, and combine them into a single, long mega-track.

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Bonus points are awarded for keeping each section proportionally correct (thus keeping the profile of each corner identical to reality), keeping the speeds of each corner the same as real life (as opposed to putting Eau Rouge 20m down the road from a hairpin, which would completely negate the challenge of the corner), and also for not having to resort to adding sections to make the track fit together (in other words, try to make 100% of the track real, with no made-up bits connecting it).

Before I get into my creation, I should first credit a couple of people for the initial idea: Will Buxton (F1 Media powerhouse, his article is here) and a YouTube channel called Tommo F1 (His video on this subject is here). I will stress a slight point of adaptation on my part, though. Those two tracks were built from F1 circuits, with F1 cars in mind. My course, on the other hand, is built more with GT3 machinery in mind, and has sampled tarmac from all manner of circuits.

A selection of race tracks, to scale, that I had at my disposal…
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Without further ado, my design lifts corners (or more realistically, corner combinations) from twelve circuits, situated on five continents around the world. Specifically, we have:

The twelve circuits I chose to create my concoction…
  • Circuit Of The Americas (Austin, Texas, USA)
  • Interlagos (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
  • Silverstone (Northamptonshire, UK)
  • Brands Hatch (Kent, UK)
  • Algarve (Portimao, Portugal)
  • Spa-Francorchamps (Middle-of-Nowhere, Belgium)
  • Monaco (well, Monaco)
  • Hockenheimring (Germany)
  • Red Bull Ring (Spielberg, Austria)
  • Suzuka (Japan)
  • Fuji Speedway (Japan)
  • Mount Panorama (Bathurst, Australia)

Some tracks, I’m sure you would expect to see on the list. Some of the others, though, are a little more left field. Why have I made each choice? I’ll explain as I walk you through the mighty Clarkodrome. Speaking of which, this is what it looks like:

The Clarkodrome, in its full glory!
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So, initially, you’ll notice that it’s an anticlockwise circuit. To be honest, there wasn’t any specific reasoning behind that, it was just a happy accident that occurred when I was stitching the track together. You’ll also notice it’s quite a long circuit, and I would estimate lap times around the 3-minute mark in a GT3 car.

Racing across the start/finish line then, and your first challenge is the steep uphill of turn 1 at COTA. The rise up allows a late braking point before the apex, and the fall back down the hill into the flat-out turn 2 provides a good acceleration zone.

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After turn 2, you’re racing down into the Eau Rouge-Radillon section of Spa. It’s a legendary combination, and just had to be part of my Clarkodrome concoction. After the little kink at the start of the Kemmel straight, though, there’s a new challenge…

Hitting the brakes hard whilst still applying a hint of lock, you’re onto the legendary Mount Panorama. Up Griffin’s Bend and squirting the throttle towards The Cutting, you’re about to traverse the entirety of the hill. The crest is at Skyline, before the plummeting sequence of The Esses and The Dipper throw you from wall to wall trying to carry as much speed as you dare. By reaching Forrest’s Elbow, you’ve hopefully emerged unscathed.

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It’s not the Conrod Straight that greets you yet, however, as you’ve entered Austria instead. The right-hand double that is Rindt and A1 (the last 2 corners) are, in my opinion at least, extremely underrated corners. The track dips down just before Rindt, before compressing on the apex of A1, giving an uphill exit. The amount of speed that you can carry through these two corners is incredible and provides a good test of a driver’s skills (and cojones).

Rising up out of Austria, we’re suddenly transported to Suzuka, and the run down to Spoon. It’s a tricky corner, Spoon, as it’s quite a long corner with two apexes, but I like the challenge, and that’s why it’s made its way onto the Clarkodrome.

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Out of Suzuka, and we’re back to the mountain. The long Conrod Straight, before the right-left-right chicane of The Chase. A brilliant overtaking spot, as you flick through the initial right before stamping on the anchors.

Out of The Chase, you’ve managed to travel halfway across the world, to a little circuit in Kent. You’re climbing the pit straight at Brands Hatch, where you have to manage the tricky Paddock Hill bend followed by the brilliantly named Druids. Unfortunately, you don’t get the fast Graham Hill Bend after, though. No, you get something even trickier: the last two corners from the Fuji Speedway.

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Much like Spoon and Paddock Hill, these are two more corners that are long and challenging, and I think the number of different lines available presents a good overtaking spot, even at low speeds.

Out of the final turn at Fuji then, and you’re onto the wonderful Portimao Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, with the hugely thrilling hill on the little straight which, at high speed, can lend itself to a little jump, before the wonderful compression of Turn 9 (which, for the purposes of this, is now also a tunnel), and then to top it all off you’ve got the delightfully tricky Turn 10/11, where you almost have to forget 10 in order to maximise your line for 11.

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Sprinting out of Portimao, you enter sunny Northamptonshire, and the legendary Maggots and Becketts complex. No Hangar straight here, though, as you’re straight back onto the brakes with the final two turns at Hockenheim, complete with ice rink run-off.

Admittedly, Hockenheim was not originally part of this, however the corner profile was required to complete the loop and, considering all the action that unfolded at these corners during the 2019 German GP, I’m all for it.

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Out of Germany, you’re transported to the glitzy Monaco, as you deal with the tight Tabac corner, and the fast first half of the Swimming Pool complex, before emerging at the final braking point on the lap, Interlagos’ famous “is that Glock.” Sorry, forgot it’s not actually called that, it’s Juncao.

Out of Juncao, you’ve got the long uphill drag-race to the line to finish the magnificent (if I do say so myself) Clarkodrome lap.

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It’s got everything. Two humongous straights, fast corners, slow corners, a bridge & tunnel, and masses of undulation. Everything you could possibly want from a racing track, this has it. I think drivers would love it, as many points have no room for error, yet there’s plenty of overtaking spots for exciting racing, alongside many challenging twists that would make mastering a qualifying lap virtually impossible. With a mix of long straights and tight corners, I doubt any one car would have an overall advantage around here either.

What do you think? Do you think this would be fun to drive if it were real? Which corners are your must-haves in your own ultimate tracks?

Let me know with a comment below!

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One thought on “Episode 19

  1. This is excellent, a great circuit & terrific read. You’ve included elevation which in my view adds drama as the cars struggle to cope with shifting mass. Love it!

    Like

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