Motorsport.com asked "Mad" Max Papis to give our readers an insight around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. From open-wheel to closed-wheel, the talented Italian has experience on the circuit.
"A lap at Mid Ohio"
By Max Papis
Turn 1 is a very fast and technical corner, requiring precision into the turn. It is difficult because you will always have over steer coming out of the corner, no matter which type car you are driving.
Turn 2 is very crucial and unique because of its braking zone, going uphill. Braking late is easy since the car slows down by itself, by going uphill. It seems to be a tight corner but it's not, even in 2nd gear is fast.
The back straight is different because of its dog-legged shape. Experienced drivers use that as a defending maneuver because you can get close to the grass and overtaking will be very difficult.
The corner at the end of the straight is very important and demanding. You are braking downhill and in 3rd gear, it's a great overtaking opportunity. You can be either in the inside or the outside and still be fast due to its banking.
The next corner is quite slow but very technical, usually is in 2nd gear. Braking zone is uphill and it's a great spot for the spectators. When you put power down, the car slides around. You can take great photos at this moment, especially if you are in the grassy area just around that part of the track.
Turn 5 is slow but important because the car is set up for the "s" that follows. You are in 2nd or 3rd gear, you start braking in coming out of a downhill section and you set up for a left right quite difficult, where on the top of the hill usually the rear tires come off the ground for a fraction making you feel like flying for a few seconds.
Turn 8 is the most difficult corner in my opinion. Braking is not in line and the car goes uphill again. The driver's technique here will make a difference it is very important to carry lots of speed in the center but at the same time a bit too much braking can really upset the handling of the car.
Turn 10 has an elevation change going into the turn. On the braking zone, you have to run really close to the inside grass and sometimes you put two wheels almost on the grass , and it can happen to go side by side there especially during restarts.
Turn 11 has a bump and if you don't put the car properly, it will move around. This can catch people off guard. This turn is very easy to make mistakes at the end of the race when most drivers are getting tired.
This was my lap of Mid-Ohio. I raced there for the first time in CART in 1996 and I had Alex Zanardi as my supervisor for the Rookie test, can you believe it?!
It has always been a special place for me. I spent a lot of time in Columbus when I drove for the Miller Lite car for Bobby Rahal and I made a lot of friends there and a lot of fans as well.
It is always special to go back there and see the enthusiasm for the sport in general.
This time I especially hope to see a special friend of mine: Mason a 12 years old kid that has been fighting cancer and has been living-strong and he is a real hero for me.
Looking forward to see all of you out there.