December 12, 2005

Let's go for a lap at Watkins Glen

See a newer lap of Watkins Glen and full lap analysis with GPS data recorder here...

I love the the Glen, it's fast, it's long, it's a bit dangerous. What a rush.

This clip starts with me chasing an e36 M3 race car into turn 9. This is a off camber turn of more than 90 degrees which, in my car, requires patience with throttle application, there is not much run-off coming out so you really don't want to be caught wide there.

From there a short straight to the superfast turn 10. You want to brake or lift just enough for weigth to transfer forward and get the car to bite. A common mistake here is to lose nerve coming out, lifting and spinning the car into the inside wall.

The final turn 11 leads you onto the main straight and hard braking into the downhill turn 1. This turn has been reworked since this video was shot, there is now a ton of paved runoff....I like that, paved runoffs are a great idea that should be implemented as much as possible.

After a short straight you rocket up the "Esses" complex of turns. It's quite intimidatind because there is no runoff, and there is crest where the car gets light and you really need to be as hard on the throttle as you can because it is followed by the longest straight on the track. If you do everything right your street car will hit around 140 MPH at the braking zone for the bus stop.

Brake late and attack the bus stop. This is another area that has been changed since the video, the curbs are now lower so they can be really smacked. For optimal fun, entry speed should be between 90 and 100MPH.

This brings you to the more technical section of the track. The long downhill right requires good placement and patience, but it is vital to be on the gas hard coming out to keep the car from wondering outside on exit....there is no room.
Again hard on the brakes and a nice late apex into the downhill left turn 6.

The so called "toe of the boot" turn is great: it is banked and turns uphill. They usually tell you to go very deep into it before turning in, but I like turning in early and trailbraking, rotating the car enough to get on the throttle early before the apex. Throttle steering takes care of the exit.

And finally we are back where we started with the tricky little turn 8, the approach is bumpy so braking can be a little exciting if your car's set up is stiff.

There you have it, Watkins Glen is now an even better track than you see on the video thank to the improvements made for the IndyCar races held there for the first time in 2005.

Do not miss a chance to drive on this fabulous track.

Click picture above or here

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