A Lap Of Sebring - By David Brabham Sebring is a fantastic venue to kick off the championship because the place has so much history. My dad actually clinched his first Formula One World Championship at Sebring - so the Brabham's have been doing...
A Lap Of Sebring - By David Brabham
Sebring is a fantastic venue to kick off the championship because the place has so much history. My dad actually clinched his first Formula One World Championship at Sebring - so the Brabham's have been doing battle here for a long time.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the place. The layout of the track is brilliant and the entire event is such a spectacle, but it is one of the bumpiest circuits in the world.
It is very physically demanding for the drivers and extremely tough on the cars - if you can survive Sebring, then Le Mans shouldn't be a problem. The main straight is an old concrete runway and is very bumpy. Turn one is a very fast fourth or fifth gear corner - which gear you use depends on how the car feels.
The entry to the turn is very fast and wide and there are a variety of lines you can use. You try to almost brush the concrete wall on the inside and the road is very rough on the exit - you can really feel the car dancing around.
The entry to turn two leads on to a series of esses, but it is very easy to out brake yourself here. You have to get the first bit right to maintain your speed through turns three and four which have now been resurfaced. It is very easy to rush in there a little quick.
You then run down to the Hairpin near Chateau Elan. You can actually brake quite late for what is the slowest corner on the track - first gear.
The run up through the next series of esses is quite easy as you change up through the gears. Turn ten requires heavy braking and it is bumpy on the exit. You are then flat-out through to turn 13 which is another big push on the brakes. The road is slightly off-camber and it is really really bumpy here. You can gain quite a bit of time through this section if the car is right.
Turn 15 is quite quick, but it narrows slightly on the exit. You take this in third. You stay in third gear for the next left and right hand section and then you set yourself up for a wide entry on to the back straight. You can use the kerbs here, but you have to be careful that you don't get pad knockoff.
You have to give the brakes a bit of a touch before the braking zone to make sure they are still there at the end of the straight.
The final turn - turn 17 - is the toughest on the track. It is really wide and fast and there are only a few lines you can use because of the bumps. The exit is quite wide as you swing back onto the straight to complete the lap.
NOTE: Brabham and the Panoz Motor Sports team will contest next weekend's 50th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring - Presented by Dodge. This weekend's race is the opening race of the 2002 American Le Mans Series.