NOTE: Legendary sports car endurance racer Hans Stuck of Austria has competed in many events over the years at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., site of the Sept. 9 American Le Mans Series Monterey Sports Car Championships ...
NOTE: Legendary sports car endurance racer Hans Stuck of Austria has competed in many events over the years at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., site of the Sept. 9 American Le Mans Series Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Mazda. Stuck and co-driver Boris Said won the GT class in last year's ALMS event at the 2.238-mile circuit and will seeking another win in the BMW Team PTG BMW M3 GTR. Stuck was a member of the first BMW factory racing effort in the United States in 1975 driving the famous 3.0 CSLs in IMSA Camel GT competition along with teammates Ronnie Peterson, Brian Redman and Sam Posey. Stuck won the Laguna Seca round that year, and had another IMSA win at the track in 1989 in a GTO class Audi. In this narrative, he describes how he drives the famous California racing circuit.
"Laguna Seca is a very demanding track requiring a proper set-up of the car and a great physical effort from the driver, as there is little time to rest in between any of the eleven corners.
"Entering the downhill sweeping left-hand turn 1 flat out is always quite breathtaking because as you fly under the bridge you cannot see what is happening past the turn.
"Turn 2 is a second gear left-hander that has a number of different lines depending on the circumstances. It is a good place to overtake - or be overtaken. The quick line when you are on your own is to try to stay a little to the outside and cut back to the apex at almost a right angle, but this is difficult to do in traffic.
"Accelerating into third gear you enter turn 3 - a right-hander that is very inviting because you can see both the apex and the exit of the corner.
"The right-hand turn 4 is very important to enter and exit properly because if executed precisely you are full on the throttle for quite a long period. It is difficult to see the apex here as the track is at one level so you may have to pick up a little sand at the exit - which is not the best thing for a car behind you.
"Entering the banked left hand turn 5 is another very good place to overtake if you got a good run up from turn 4.
"Going up towards turn six the track begins to get difficult. My driving style during the race is to go slower entering this left-hander and be on the throttle early because if you are forced out of the throttle at the exit you can lose all your speed as you travel up hill towards turns 7 and 8 - the corkscrew.
"Entering the corkscrew can be tricky because under braking the car can get quite light on its inside tires and it is easy to lock one up -- so it is critical to have your brake balance set perfectly here.
"The famous downhill quick left and quick right of the corkscrew is a one-of-a-kind experience that is equaled only by some of the turns of the old Nurburgring. It is not a difficult set of corners, but you must be on the throttle early and drive the car down into the dip changing from left to right very quickly.
"The downhill section through turns 9 and 10 is very demanding. In the left-hand turn 9 you should stay to the inside as best you can and then be ready for a quick brake into the fourth gear right hand turn 10 where you use a bit of the pit entrance lane with the left side tires on exit to get a bit more room.
"Entering the left-hand turn 11 is another good spot to outbrake the car ahead if you've gotten an edge exiting turn 10. Down to first gear here, but it is important not to be too fast on entry or spin your tires on exit. It is most important to be on the throttle early, but smoothly, to get a good run up the pit straight."