Famous for its Corkscrew corner, a three-story near vertical drop that sends both cars and hearts a flutter, Laguna Seca is a favorite among many drivers and ranks not only as one of North America's, but indeed the world's most famous racetracks.
Famous for its Corkscrew corner, a three-story near vertical drop that sends both cars and hearts a flutter, Laguna Seca is a favorite among many drivers and ranks not only as one of North America's, but indeed the world's most famous racetracks. Starting today's race from tenth on the grid, Barber Dodge Pro Series driver of the No. 4 Serta Mattress Dodge Reynard, Brent Sherman takes around the 2.238-mile 11-turn track.
Exiting turn-11, a first gear corner, we come up the front straight past start/finish. After that, you come up over a small crest and grab fifth gear as you turn left for turn-1, which is a little kink in the straight. We take that flat with no problems.
Then we come into the Andretti Hairpin, which is turn-2. It's a downhill, very tough braking zone that we enter at about 140 mph. We go from fifth to first gear, braking downhill all the while and trying to get deep into the first part of the corner, then try to flow some speed through it.
Turn-3 is a right hander where you have to continue flowing speed as it leads onto a short straight followed by a fast corner. We get up to fourth gear right before the turn in to turn-4, and not use the brakes but rather squeeze off and on the throttle. We hit about 95 mph at the apex of the corner, which is a fast right-hander.
Next is another short straight where we get up to fifth gear, before selecting third gear for turn-5. The exit of this corner is a little off camber, and you have to get to the power as soon as possible to flow as much speed trying to see about 75-77 mph at mid-corner.
Then we go uphill under a bridge grabbing fourth gear just before the turn-in to turn-6. This a dipping corner that catches the car at the apex, again attempting to flow as much speed as possible using little or no brake at all for this 90-mph left-hander.
This continues to take you steeply uphill going into the famous Corkscrew. Coming into the braking zone, we hit the rev limiter in fourth gear and start to brake as you crest the hill. That makes it a tough braking zone as the car gets a little light, and may start locking up if we enter a little too deep.
The Corkscrew is a first-gear corner, turning in with a blind exit. We have to guess the line and hope that it's right, then get on the power as soon as possible. We fall of the hill and try to catch the apex on the right if possible.
At this point it's downhill into Rainey Corner which is turn-9. Short-shifting through second, third then fourth gear, trying to slowly squeeze on the power down the hill and under a bridge where you hit the apex of the corner. The entire time we are squeezing on the power, holding fourth gear all the way to turn-10.
At turn-10 you lift on the throttle slightly again, not using the brakes much if any at all. It's a downhill exit with the road falling away. We probably see about 95 mph through this corner.
Finally, we come into turn-10, the tightest corner on the track, a first gear corner, where we hope to get good exit speed back onto the front straight.
For this track the car has to have a stiff set-up while still allowing it have grip at the front. They are long sweeping corner and the stiffness is needed because as you come off the throttle, the car wants to pitch forward turning into the corner. If the front end is too soft, the back of the car gets a little loose on turn-in. If that happens you have to pick up the throttle to eliminate the exit understeer. There are four critical corners at Laguna Seca. Turn-11 is critical because of the long front straight, turn-2 presents the best opportunity for passing, and turns-4 and 6 because they are so fast and require flowing a lot of speed.
Round 10 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series takes the green flag at 4:15 p.m. PDT, today, Sept. 10.