2023-01-11By: Nils Naujoks
Barcelona is the F1 test track for good reasons. It has high speed, low speed, mid speed corners. You need downforce, power and agility. It overloads one side of the car to bring out its worst behavior. It's a challenging track for material and its a challenging track for drivers. Even with the long straight its pretty much a maximum downforce track - and that means we'll see the typical cars up ahead in LFM this week. For a coaching I took the Porsche for a spin so I had that lap ready to analyze for today. Enjoy! You'll get to compare yourself again on Popometer.io. If you already happen to have the CDA Setup subscription we now have a nice addon with all their laps (collection growing) to review your driving against their laps. We're looking at a 1:42.4 here with a rather stable setup - not a giga sensitive eSpOrtZ setup ;) I've shared the lap here (when you have the subscription)
Barcelone full track
Turn 1-3 must be seen as a unit. Go deep in turn 1 and you'll still be out of position for turn 3 and lose time on the straight towards turn 4. So its important to make the right compromise here. Think the section backwards. You want to enter turn 3 from a rather wide position, slightly more than half track width. This mean's you can't take T2 flat and it also means you have to stay somewhat tight exiting turn 1. Braking is done almost off the track with the car entirely on the kerb and its a good marker for yourself to place the inner wheels behind the sausage of T1. The T2 kerb works in most cars, but will require a slight lift on throttle, just to not get a snappy rear. Turn 3 in GT3's does not need braking except for the tiniest of speed corrections. Going off throttle will be enough and i case of the Porsche going off throttle half way will be sufficient - and needed to not spin. The throttle will keep the diff engaged and also the pitch limited, stabilizing your car. Note the separation of slowest point and tightest point in the corner. Meaning the on throttle moment should create additional rotation pulling you to the inside initially. A tight line often yields lap time instead of running wide, while also saving the tires a bit.
T3 with slowest (x) and apex (grey dot) markings
Again viewing them as a unit as you really have to transition quickly after 4 to still be on the outside for 5. Yet, not as difficult and crucial as in t1-3. In T4 apex and slowest point really fall into the same place and quite early in the corner. We're not even 1/4th into the corner when we already want to be near the kerb (not on it!!) and already lost all the speed. From here the corner opens up so you can get away with ever wider radiuses which equals higher speed. Note the throttle application being a little cautious waiting for the rear to find the traction before flooring it. Also typical for the Porsche is the very subtle, barely existent trail braking as the rear end is so loose already. Another key here is saturating the front grip quickly by steering fast and in fact over the grip limit of the front tire - this will stabilize the car massively - aka "forced understeer".
For T5 make sure that as you brake, you want the car to go straight and not already cornering. It would take the grip from the inside tire too early and cause it to lock up. That's why the aggressive repositioning is important to not be braking with the car already turning left ever so slightly. T5 can be taken with 2 approaches. Double apex, one early, one late, or with a single late apex (that i prefer). The slowest point will be before the tightest point in the corner, meaning you will accelerate through the late apex (with either approach) allowing a straight exit taking lateral load away from the rears.
You'll have to be done braking early as the road has quite a large bump in the braking zone easily locking the fronts on turn in if you still need to get rid of speed. Rather again use quick and slightly too much steering to roll the car into the corner and scrub some speed over the fronts. You use more rear tires here anyway so the fronts will be happy to work a bit more - which will also help your long run balance.I've deliberately cropped the track image like that to highlight that you are essentially only driving a LEFT TURN. Don't even think about the right turn. There's literally no way you are not making the right hander. Getting a good feeling for the track limits here is important because it yields a lot of lap time carrying every tiny speed advantage up the hill.
T6 (ignore T7 really)
Everyone hates it, even those who can do it. It's a blind crest, hard to find braking and turn in points and reduce the right amount of speed while trying to find the apex. Just Porsche things: Brake slightly to not upset the car and still remain on throttle to keep the rear at least somewhat stable. Off throttle the car just wont tolerate the corner. You can see the choppy steering trace indicating a lot carefulness when turning more and more with the rear always on the verge of snapping. Finding the minimum throttle you need to hold here will be key (However, ONLY Porsche and some other mid engine car thing). Slowest point again earlier than the apex. I favor a late apex because it ensures you are rarely running into the sand on exit but still carry decent speed onto the straight.
Finally a corner the Porsche will take some trail braking :) Again several approaches here. Classical middle apex, somewhat double or single late apex - they all work and have their pros and cons. I just like to focus on exists in general - easier on the tire if you don't have to corner much while accelerating.
Very interesting turns. You can clip the kerb on the left quite hard in a lot of cars opening up the long right a little more. Short initial, but not too harsh braking, you still have a lot of time to get rid of speed here. Very pronounced double apex approach, being tight early, then running wide where you will reach the minimum speed. Only make subtle corrections up to this point on brake/throttle depending if you enter too slow or too quick. But definitely be patient. Rather scrub speed with too much steering again. Slightly before the middle of the turn you'll be the widest and slowest from where the car will start to come back to the inside. This is your signal to go onto power and bring the rear around the 2nd half of the turn and clip a 2nd late apex. Be gentle with the throttle if you feel too much TC engagement or you have to counter-steer too much.
Similar to t1-3 you want to compromise speed at the right time here. If you go deep into 12, you won't have a good T13 and neither a good T14. The key is have enough time to make it across before braking for T13, which means you have to leave room on the exit of T12 - which again means go the f*** slower. The braking for 12 is tricky as it's downhill and the rear will get very light. Don't brake too hard to avoid pitch and balance issues. The slowest point in the section is before the entry of T13 (the left hander of the chicane). Stay tight through 13 as well to open up T14 where you will already build part of the speed you'll maintain through the last flat-out T15 and onto the straight. Remember that you spend a long time on that straight, so every additional kph will matter for a long time and thats why the exit of T14 is much more important than a fast T12.
Hope this helps you all and head over to Popometer.io to see how far off the ideal you are. Spoiler: You are also way off what you think you are doing - data always reveals the hard truth so only use it if you are ready to face yourself ;)