Races 23/24 of 26 Oulton Park 'Island' September 11/12
BRENTWOOD, September 2, 1999: A newcomer to the Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship calendar for 1999, Oulton Park's middle-distance layout hosts the second visit of the year to the picturesque Cheshire track and should provide challenging and enthralling action for crowds and drivers alike. Ford Team Mondeo's Anthony Reid takes us on a lap of the circuit.
"I still hold the lap record on the Oulton Park 'Island' circuit from when I was racing in Formula Ford 2000 in 1984. It's a circuit I have always enjoyed racing. Ford Team Mondeo has already gone well here this season - Alain claimed his second podium of the 1999 Championship in the Sprint Race and I was fourth back in May.
"The first corner, Old Hall, is very narrow with only one fast line which demands a lot of commitment from the driver. There is always a lot of action at the first corner. The turn in is very important as this corner is not very forgiving, hence it's easy to make a mistake.
"From the exit of Old Hall, it's up through the gears from fourth to sixth as you go down The Avenue through the right hander (120mph), before dropping down the hill to Cascades - one of the great corners in British motorsport. It's a long, fast, left hander with a plunging downhill entry (120mph). The track is off camber on turn in which levels off before going off camber again through to the exit - a well-balanced car is critical here.
"The fast exit takes you past the lake leading into the approach for the hairpin (Island). The approach is blind as you go over a crest - braking is difficult on this bumpy part of the track. This is a good place to overtake on the inside if the door is left open.
"Island is super tight and must be taken in first gear. Then you enter the fastest part of the circuit as you crest the rise leaving the hairpin where your speed approaches 130mph on the run down to the Knickerbrook chicane. It is important to use the kerbs on both sides of the track here to ensure a good momentum.
"The speed on the run up to Clay Hill is slower than on the Foster's (short) circuit before the run in to the challenging Druids, a double apex right hander taken in fourth. This corner is very important to achieve fast lap times.
"Exiting Druids, you have to be careful not to run out of road. If you get a good exit, there is a second overtaking opportunity at Lodge. For Lodge, a slow corner taken in second, the braking is downhill before turn in, which sweeps round past the clipping point. There is a lot of elevation here, and again it's critical to retain the momentum through the corner as you can make up time in a well-balanced car.