27.02.2023Von: Nils Naujoks
Budapest is one of the most tricky circuits. Many corners and none of them easy.
If you want, there already exists a video guide for the LFM License on Hungary, but we'll review it written here again.
The Qualifying lap we're looking at is from this Audi R8 Evo II data pack - a 1:42.295.
A total of 5 near 180° corners define this track. Yet, they differ in radius and want slightly different approaches.
The other defining sections are the chicane followed by the esses where each corner depends on the one before and the right compromise will be the key to lap time.
As always, track limits are rather wide and extending as much as it is allowed will allow you to carry more momentum onto the straights.
The first hairpin of the track wants a single apex approach, pretty much in the middle of the turn. The slowest point however is already slightly before the car is the most inside. This means the ideal way to drive is to be harsh on throttle here, which will bring the car further to the inside even while already increasing speed. Note that there's barely any coasting.
Trail braking is very important as the car will become rather slow without any downforce supporting the front grip in the late stages of braking. Roughly 30m out of the 145m braking zone are characterized by decreasing the brake in line with an increasing steering angle. 90° of steering are enough for most of the track. This will be even less with lower steer ratios.
Let's work this section backwards as those 2 corners are already connected - which means that the exit of turn 2 will define the entry of turn 3. The target is to smartly choose where to be fast and gain time. Here the smartest way is to be fast on the straight which means you need a good exit from T3, which means you want a wide entry - wide enough so that T3 is just about flat out!
The problem is that there's very little time to reposition after T2. In order to still make it back to the left side of the track you cannot run wide out of T2. Instead the widest position after Turn 2 is pretty much the middle of the track. This now requires to be tight late in turn 2 - so a late apex. Because we have a very long turn 2 with almost 180° to cover we can do some sort of double apex. This means we will be tight early in the corner, run wide in the middle where we will also be the slowest and come back to the inside on throttle for the late, 2nd apex. Because we are slowing down so deep into the corner, the brake trace shows a much longer trailing phase than for T1 - pretty much 80% of the entire braking will be trailing as we require the front tires to be able to rotate the car already and are almost never braking in a straight line.
The same principal applies here: Little time to reposition for T5, so you need to be aggressive after T4 to make it across. Don't become lazy here. For T4 focus on the cone on the inside of the kerb while the kerb itself is still invisible - this way you'll have a good idea where you are heading. You can usually take the entire inside kerb. As the corner is rather fast, we don't want to brake deep into it and instead be done with braking before coming towards the apex and use the throttle to stabilize the car. You'll also need to be aggressive to keep rotating it.
Turn 5 starts with a very short straight braking phase followed by long trailing that itself is split up into the initial brake release phase and the very low level brake holding into the turn until the inside line finally provides grip. There is absolutely 0 grip on the outside. We are looking at an apex that is last third of the turn, while the slowest point is already after one third of the corner. Due to the wide track limits the corner opens up, allowing us to accelerate quite early. However, the bumps will challenge the rear and this is where you can see a bit of taking care with the throttle after an initial aggressive throttle kick to start the car's rotation.
Turn 6-7 (Chicane)
The most crucial info here is that you are done braking before the first kerb and immediately back on throttle to lift up the nose and allow the car to fit the sausages underneath you. This means the slowest point in that corner is before the corner. The track limits are very lenient here and the entire car can be on the kerb. This will need a few attemps to get a feeling where the sausage needs to be placed under the car, but once you get the hang of it, there's a ton of lap time. The 2nd kerb is less flat but there's a way to fit this sausage, too. You need to be on throttle, once you lift the throttle or brake the car will crash into the sausage. Additionally the throttle provides stability while the car is bouncing.
Turn 8-11 (Esses)
Take a close look at the compromises. The apexes are always in the middle of each turn, while the slowest point is only in the middle in t8, but before the corners of t9 and t11. The most important compromise is to not run wide after turn 8 (similar to turn 2), in order to rather have a wide entry and good exit in turn 9 out of which you need to carry the speed more importantly than out of 8. Only very little braking (and all of it low level trailing) will be needed if you positioned correctly. While the kerb of 8 can be used, turn 9 has a more tricky kerb. If you use it, try to climb up to the flat part on top, else the angled part will push the car out of the corner (you won't always manage that, just be aware of the impact the different parts of the kerb will have on the car). On exit of 9 the track limits again are very wide which allows to build much more speed.
The turn 10 kink is important, too. Don't run too wide here and it can be beneficial to be very quick with the steering into 10 in an attempt to force the rear around, using the kerb additionally helps to rotate the car and be back on the outside quickly before braking for 11. Again exit of 11 is the important part, as a straight follows afterwards. A short sharp braking while changing direction (this will help to get the rear to come around) followed by a bit of coasting and potential corrections on either brake or throttle are very typical and ok here. Rather carry slightly too much speed initially and use the brake again in small doses to pull the car further to the inside. Once you notice the car will get to the very inside of the kerb, slam the throttle to exploit the additional rotation coming from the kerb.
The last 3 corners are more or less individual. Again T12 has the apex placed right in the middle, you can use or avoid the kerb - both ways are fine. Just be sure the slowest point is already before the turn and the track on exit again is really wide.
Turn 13 needs a slight double apex (don't go too wide in the middle), very similar to turn 2. The only difference is that you can run wide on exit as there's more time to reposition for the last corner (but don't get lazy doing so).
Turn 14 however is a bit faster (about 20kph more than T13) and on entry downforce already plays a role, which makes the car rather pitch sensitive. The initial sharp braking will be challenging as the rear tries to step out, so small steering angles are needed here. It helps to almost diagonally brake towards the first early apex and then trailing VERY carefully until about the middle of the turn, where you will run ever so slightly wide, before coming back onto the throttle to pin the car to the inside and accelerate through the 2nd, late apex. Track limits again wide and then you're done - hopefully faster than before this guide!
31.01.2023Von: Nils Naujoks
Nürburgring is the other very technical track after Barcelona. We again have high speed, medium and low speed corners. There's on design pattern that sticks out: There are several sections where two corners are tied together. T1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11.
We'll look at what appears to be one of the quickest cars here currently: The M4 with a 1:52.3 on the AOR servers (23°C). As always recommended do compare yourself directly to the benchmarks in your car - there's literally no way you will not benefit. Free to try using my Snetterton M4 GT3 Data Pack, as always.
T1 has a very traditional approach, apex and slowest point in the corner are right in the middle, the car grips up nicely as you drop down the step right after the apex, so can mostly floor the throttle. The key now is to take T1 slow enough to still make it across just in time for a good entry position into T2.
T2's key is to not brake and to turn in before releasing the throttle (you want to load up both right side tires before shifting the weight onto the front). You can safely be a little too quick initially and maintain a stable car with SLIGHT forced understeer (=turning more than the front tires will take) and keep reducing speed with TINY brake inputs until the car gravitates towards the kerb for a late apex (last third of the corner). A higher gear might help with traction and predictability.
Again its all about the line. You can use the paved inside behind the kerb and go for a very late tight line. The target here is to be fast on the straight after T4 and building speed through T4 already, which only works from a very wide entry. Your throttle position through T4 will be key. The throttle controls the differential which, if opened (=low/no throttle), allows the car to rotate. Only lift enough to get the turn in, but do not lift all the way as the weight shifts will be detrimental to your line and minimum speed. Over the kerb dont full throttle it, as the rear will snap or you can get "stuck" in understeer. Patience is needed and gently accelerating until the car stops bouncing.
Same Idea here. Go only as wide after T5 to still get into a good position for T6. So dialing speed back in 5 can help, aim for late apex. Then in T6 many lines are possible, the best certainly is somewhat of a double or single late apex. It's worth it to use the F7 came to investigate the shape of the T6 kerb - whoever built it was drunk, as it changes its radius very often, which can make driving in reference to the kerb quite confusing. Just take those shape changes into account and don't be deceived into thinking you're going wide or too tight suddenly when its just the kerb's weird shape.
T7 is the prototype double apex. Deep and careful trail braking through a first apex, into a wide position in the middle of the turn where you will be the slowest and from where you start accelerating through the 2nd apex.
Deliberately posting the image like this: Take the corner as if it was only a left hander. You'll never no manage the right. The key on entry is to lift the throttle only a tiny amount. Sometimes it will be flat out even, but its just more consistent with a tiny and maximum of 30-40% lift off the throttle. The timing for that will be just as you come off the entry kerb and the car has settled.
Same pattern as in 1-2,3-4,5-6. You want to come back across before T11. More importantly you want to have the car almost or fully straight as you hit the brake. Else you will be scared to run into the grass and leave a security margin on the left. The turn itself needs minimal braking. Everything else will make the car rather sensitive on entry, just reduce some speed, then coast and make corrections along the way to hit a late apex once more. No shifting during the turn, it will ruin your corner.
The key is to saturate the front end quickly on entry. This will lead to a balanced, if anything slightly understeery car as you trail off. Brake early enough to reach your slowest point already BEFORE the the first apex. Being on throttle through the chicane is crucial for stability in the transition and over the kerbs. With throttle applied to can through the car around more aggressively as well without loosing the rear.
Clean trailing is important as there's quite low grip. The idea is similar to the dunlop corner (T7). Just now we want the double apex to be less pronounced and with the slowest point slightly earlier already - say one third into the corner. There's just no grip further on the outside, so we can't drive a more pronounced double apex. No matter if you hit the first apex or not, the crucial one is the 2nd apex late in the corner, to have the rear end capable of converting throttle into speed.
22.01.2023Von: Nils Naujoks
Generally, Snetterton consists of slow and tight corners, the track isnt very wide and rather slippery and bumpy - in short: Challenging.
There's barely a straight and in any GT3 you will run all the downforce the car can generate without becoming too instable (we'll see later why).
Turn 1 has a very short braking zone, hitting 100% only for a fraction of a second before the trailing takes over. High downforce at rather high speed here, which means the car is pitch sensitive on the brake, which is why your brake foot controls how much rotation you get (more brake -> more pitch -> more ration). You could say it's in fact two corners. with an almost invisible straight in between. However, you'll clip the first apex where you will also be the slowest. Once you notice making the first exit, you will need to slam the throttle aggressivbely, run wide a bit and this should result in keeping the rotation going and bringing you back for a 2nd apex at the end of this opening corner.
Several approaches are viable here: A single late apex, a traditional centered apex or even a slight double apex approach. Personally I prefer to focus on having a straight car for the exit to aid traction, which means having a late apex or double apex. Important to trail carefully here on the brakes as the lack of downforce at that speed reduces grip quite noticably.
Turn 3 sees the slowest point of the corner around one third into the corner and you can see that again the brake is used carefully and never hitting 100%, as you have to turn in right away. Also again the hard throttle should keep the rotation going and bring the car closer to the inside for an eventual apex roughly two thirds into the corner. The exit kerb works, but is insanely bumpy - take care.
Turn 4 is literally turn 2 mirrored and we'll skip that one :D
Turn 5 only needs the tiniest of braking to reduce some speed. It's crucial to turn in right away in sync with the brake, which leads to a sensitive car. However the easier you are on the brake, the more in control you will be. If you are too hard on the brake you will get either under or oversteer and will always have to react - we want to be active, not reactive.
Turn 6/7 are interesting. First you need to reposition and swing across after turn 5 really quickly to straighten up before braking. Again careful trailing as always once you start turning in and hand over the grip to the steering. You can use a lot of kerb on the inside but throttle application needs a bit more care this time as the corner is still lasting for a while with the tightening turn 7 and the track is just not that grippy. Its useful to not go fully wide after 6 and only do so once you exit 7 - there's simply more grip further to the middle.
Again tricky corner as the speed you approach it depends on your T6/7 exit, which can lead to furhter inconsistencies. Either way, there will hardly be much braking needed. Just a quick dash on the brake and then almost roll into the corner with only tiny corrections further reducing the speed (or keeping it up with tiny throttle inputs). The slowest point should be pretty much in the middle of the corner, while the apex comes rather late to have a straighter car for the exit and good traction. Throttle can be quite blunt in the middle of the turn, for the car to rotation on power through the late apex.
You hate that corner, right? Let's make you love it. The key here is to have only ONE uninterrupted braking zone. The car behaves a certain way on the brake as you trail off, leading to pitch while cornering and a lose rear end. In order to not have various car behaviors we always want to be braking - this way the car always pitches forward and your brake foot controls how much oversteer you want. If you let go off the brake and then brake again, you get several behavior changes which will make the corner harder to predict and more inconsistent. Aim to keep it tight through the left hander - the exit of the right yields a lot of time if you focus to build speed there. Going shallow into T10 means being punted pretty much as usually people behind you underestimate how slow you will become.
You don't really need to brake here. Just letting go off the throttle ever so slightly will be enough to get the car to rotate and slow down. Once on the inside kerb you can full throttle it again - the corner opens up with rather wide kerb - but they are bumpy. The less steering angle you will need on the kerb the better.
A brutal corner combo. You can throw the front engine cars in quite aggressively, while still being on full throttle. Only once you make it to the inside let go off the throttle and adjust from there. You can carry quite high speed for quite some time and let the car run wide roughly until the center off the track, where you want to have the speed reduced enough, to come back to the inside will full throttle applied. You can see the double apex approach - which is important to be able to brake in a slightly straighter or even fully straight line for the last corner. The straighter the car, the more in control you will be. Depending on the car it can be beneficial not just outright slamming the brake, but giving the car a few tenths to get to 100%. This way you will still rotate on the brake for a bit, before it becomes rather understeery in the heavy braking. Once out of position it will be hard to adjust - so really aim to get this part right and the exit of the last corner will come all on its own.