Once around NHMS
- Published: 23 February 2009 23 February 2009
Turn 11 (a&b) - North Chicane (Esses)
The esses here are really a slight jog into a left-hander that takes you back onto the front straight. From the center of the track, look ahead and see a straight line into Turn 11. The left wheels should touch the left-hand apex of 11a at the low berm, then point the right hand wheels straight at the turn in cone for (11b). Brake here, in a straight line. The turn in cone for 11b, at another shallow painted berm, is also the track out cone for 11a. Wait to turn in until your right front wheel is at this berm, a late apex through 11b is safer and ultimately faster.
Looking left, turn in decisively and run over the 11b apex berm on the left. The pavement in 11b tends to be slippery, and there is a thin strip of old pavement right along the apex berm that rewards accuracy with superior grip. Track out fully under acceleration, running over the exit berm and look ahead for the apex to Turn 12 on the left.
Cars intending to enter Pit Lane will have raised their fist out the window just before Turn 11b (or earlier). The Pit Lane entrance is on the left just beyond the 11b apex and before Turn 12. Be aware of slower cars and adjust your pace through 11a&b in accordance. Cars planning to pit should make sure to signal their intentions both very early and very clearly.
Turn 12 is the transition from the infield esses back onto the main track. The apex is the end of the white concrete pit wall on the left. Check your mirrors in anticipation of the upcoming passing zone, run close to the apex wall and track out to the right and along the wall onto the straight.
Move to within 3 or 4 feet of the wall on the right hand side and proceed down the main straight. This is a passing zone for all run groups, where passing is done only on the left. All passing should be complete before entering the braking zone. This is the time to check both the status of your gauges and the flagging stations.
Brake and downshift using the descending numeric markers along the wall as a guide. Adjusting according to speed and traffic. Complete all braking and downshifting before turning in to the infield Esses.
Turn 1 (the Chicane or Esses)
New pavement in 1999 has changed the angle of entry to this left-hand corner and there are two popular choices. Once again the issue is the pavement transition from the main oval to the infield chicane, and the dip which tends to unsettle the car. Observe the flag station on the left at the end of the main straight, and be aware that cars will be entering the track midway through the esses.
The traditional approach is to follow the right hand wall into the braking zone, and turn in at or near the number 1 marker. This will take you over the pavement dip at a right angle and position you in a fairly straight-ahead entry to 2a. Another approach, often favored by 911’s with very firm suspensions, is to angle over to the left side of the track shortly after entering the braking zone, to end up very close to the flag station. Looking left, you will cross the dip at an oblique angle, and turn left into the turn, hugging the left side. Consult with your instructor regarding the best path for you and your car. For both approaches, enter Turn 1 with a steady throttle, and place the car parallel to the series of cones along the left side of the track.
Turn 2 a&b
Of this series of cones, the last cone is the turn in cone for 2a, tap the brakes lightly to steady and slow the car, and at this last cone jog right fairly quickly, crossing over the track to the right. 2a is best late apexed, touch the apex cone berm at midpoint or slightly beyond. Drive the car parallel along the very short section of pavement just beyond this apex cone. Look left and turn in at the last cone, near the end of the painted berm.
Having looked left, see the 2b apex cone located trackside at the dip in the pavement back onto the main track, and turn left, angling across the pavement transition as you accelerate and track out to the wall. A late apex is safer here, as has been the case throughout this infield section.
Congratulations, you have just completed your first lap of New Hampshire International Speedway’s road course! Have a fun and safe event.
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