Road Atlanta: A lap with Wolf Henzler

Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler -- A Lap of Road Atlanta Braselton, Georgia, October 4, 2007 -- Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler takes a fast lap around the 2.54-mile, newly repaved, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit. The team is in the first official...

Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler -- A Lap of Road Atlanta

Braselton, Georgia, October 4, 2007 -- Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler takes a fast lap around the 2.54-mile, newly repaved, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit. The team is in the first official practice day in preparation for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Petit Le Mans to be run on Saturday, October 6.

"Coming into turn one I use the end of the pit wall on the left side as my braking point. I come down from fifth gear to fourth and roll through the corner carrying a lot of speed as the uphill at the exit will compress the car and give you a lot of grip. I make sure to get early to the throttle at the apex and I don't take it all the way out to the exit, more like three-quarter distance to the track out. This helps me get setup for the entry to turn two.

Turn two is uphill and you need to get back to the right, again this is why I don't go all the way to the track out exiting one. You come up over the crest and get to the left mid-corner so I am setup for the entry to three. The car gets light so you have to be careful not to lock the brakes and flat spot a tire.

Entering turn three I am in third gear, using some of the curb at the apex, getting off the brakes early carry good speed through the corner.

The momentum will carry me to the track out. I drive the car down the middle of the track as the inside is too slow and the outside gets really dirty and falls away to the grass. This is a late apex staying to the left of the track so I am setup for turn four which is taken flat on the throttle.

The esses are very important. You can get through here very fast, but you have to be careful with traffic, you don't want to go side-by-side through this section.

Turn five the braking is tricky because your turning to the right while getting on the brakes, very unnatural. Turn five is also uphill so the car gains grip as you use the curbs at the apex and the exit.

Turn six is fast because it is taken in third gear and is also banked.

You need to hustle pretty good through here to not lose time in between six and seven.

Turn seven you want to make sure not to brake late and miss the turn-in.

You can give up a little entry speed to make sure you get a great launch off of seven to maximize your speed down the longest straight on the track.

Down the straight there is time to take a drink and also check your gauges. You want to watch your mirrors to let faster cars by as well as set the guy in front of you up for a pass.

At the entry of 10a I brake at about the 100-foot marker, go down through the gears from sixth to second and exit staying to the left to get setup for 10b. It is important to get through 10b clean so your in position to get over the hill headed to the last turn.

Over the hill you are flat going through the gears. The car gets light and you let it drift to drivers left. At the entry I short shift to fifth gear, turning in at the same time. This gives you just enough of a lift to balance the car for a good run off of the corner. I am being careful not to hit the curb at the apex because that upsets the car and cost you miles-per-hour at the end of the straight.

Road Atlanta is a great circuit with a lot of challenging corners. The last turn is a great high speed corner that I really like.The repaving of the track has really improved the drivability. They have taken out the concrete patches and this has improved lap times by nearly two seconds.

This is most noticeable from my seat in turns five and seven."

Henzler posted the second fastest time in GT2 today, a 1:21.532 with an average speed of 112 mph. Henzler is partnered with Dominik Farnbacher, the duo will take the track at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday for the start of the 10-hour Petit Le Mans.

-credit: tr

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