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Road Atlanta In a 125 Shifter Kart

Beaverun With ITRCA

Talladega Gran Prix in an STi

Road Atlanta In a 125 Shifter Kart
On the out lap, you obviously need to be careful on cold tires. Specifically, 3, 5, 6, and 7 by 10a the tires should be warm and you can take it pretty deep.

Going down the front straight there are plenty of lines in the pavement that run parallel to the straight, allowing a long, full, duck (as in kiss the BOTTOM of the steering wheel.) Make sure you take the swing left at the end of the straight. The turn-in for 1 feels a little early. From turn-in to apex the track is flat so smooth turn-in is key. From apex to track-out it runs uphill so you can leave some turning for later in the corner. Turn 1 is so wide that taking it flat is easy, that said, if you miss the apex you can be off the track quickly near mid-corner, if you are within a foot of apex you are okay. You are doing well over 100mph, so make sure you don’t jerk it at all, ¼” jerk at this speed will step the tail pretty hard. If you are by yourself you can use the whole track, and at least how we were set-up, the kart would pull 6th. If there is traffic in 1, be careful because some people lift pretty hard in 1. You can still take it flat and pinch the exit, but you might need to drop it to 5th to pull the hill.

Turn 2 is really a non-issue “ease” to the left. That said; make sure that you line up to the left (sacrifice track-out of 2 completely) to set up for the “tight” turn 3. Depending on how you got out of 1 and how much traffic there is going into 3 there are numerous options. If you’ve got enough grip, passing going into 3 is easy. Many people seem to go way out before turn-in for 3, passing under breaking there was easy to do. If you get 3 by yourself you can do it right near 80 mph minimum corner speed. We were doing it 5th with room, or in 4th if you had to make passes in 3.

Turn 4 is the esses. The esses are completely straight in a kart. That, said, be careful of closing speed through the esses. There is not room between apexes to make it fully by another kart unless you have a BIG run going in. If you are catching somebody fast early in the esses, you might want to back off and make the pass going into 5, so you don’t get held up through 5, which will hurt your run to 6.

If you get out of 5 well, and have a good motor, you will be making lots of passes on the way up to 6. It’s so wide, just make sure that as you pull alongside people they know you are there. Sometimes it’s easiest to run along the inside, but a lot of other people think that too. If you do run down the inside, as long as you get outside some to set-up for 6, it will require a short stab on the brakes. There seemed to be few people that could take 6 flat, so running down the outside should let you get by people when they go to the brakes, and you don’t. If you get it by yourself, you should be able to take it flat. Just be considerate of just how wide it is at after the apex. There’s lots of grip down on the apex, but you don’t need to over-pinch it as it goes uphill even harder after the apex. If you don’t quite have it flat in 6, you might go down a gear because the loading is so high you will likely bleed a good bit of speed. Even if you are flat, you might have to go down a gear on the way out. If you are dicing, you might even need 4th.

However you get out of 6, you will be braking hard into 7. 7 is actually as tight as 10a. At least that’s how we found it, both 7 and 10a were at 13,000 rpm in 3rd. The data acq shows that to be right at 65 mph, but we’re not sure how accurate the tire measurements were. The motor that we had that weekend pulled to 13,9 in every gear, including 6th. We were running 18 front and 21 rear gears, which is the largest front and was the smallest rear we could find with the 50mm axle. Anyway, 7 is similar to 6, very straightforward, classic 90 degree corner, wider on the “track-out” straight. Obviously this is the corner before the longest straight, so this is the key corner to get right. We may have been set-up a little tight because this was the only corner where we were really fighting wheelspin, then again, it was 13k rpm and heading downhill.

On the back straight, get out your bread, mustard and choice of cold cut, you’re going to be here a while. Again, getting out of 7 well, and a good motor means a good bit of passing. Anytime you’re not running up on a group, ducking will produce a noticeable gain in MPH. Plenty of lines on the track, just make sure you know how long you can duck. There were a lot people off the track on the way down the hill, make sure you’re not ducking when they stick it in front of you.

Be aware of WIDELY varying brake points going into 10a. There were a few laps were we passed 8 people going into 10a. You must truly be careful; some people are lifting and or starting to brake at the second braking line, which is likely near 200 meters. If memory serves, we were going well past the last braking line, and the data acq shows us braking for approximately 200 feet, which would be near 70 meters. All the front guys are going to go this deep, but be aware of lappers braking or at least lifting at the first lines.

Obviously you are going to sacrifice 10a exit for a better run on 10b, but we were at full throttle in 3rd by the apex of 10a and flat through the exit of 10b. Some laps we were able to only go down to 4th, but with traffic we used 3rd on a few laps that turned out fast. If you are moving well, and/or comfortable on the brakes, it seemed to work well to out-brake people on the inside, go down to 3rd for the jump to 10b and you are still grabbing 4th just past the apex of 10b.

As you top the rise you want to be turning in from the left side to the point where you will be a kart with in from the left edge as you top the hill. Of course at first all you see if trees, then the road at the bottom, well to the right, with no clue of how to get there, but if you stay straight here you will be on-line to end up on the curbing on the left. You’ll grab 5th on the way down the hill. Turn in almost to the end of the curbing, looking well ahead at how much room you have for track out. You’ll apex just after the middle of the curbing. There is plenty of room to keep it smooth to track out.



Talladega Gran Prix in an STi
Running down the front straight you will shift into 5th gear just after the start-finish line. As you approach Turn-1, be sure to glance up at the apex and track-out of Turn-2. This will help you know how much speed and throttle you can carry through. Depending on how well you got out of the skidpad, and how much power you're making, you may have to do some threshold braking before turning-in to the right for Turn-1. If not, you should be able to point the car to toward the Right apex of Turn-1 before going to the brakes. Either way you will be doing the 5-4 downshift before the Right apex of turn one. After touching the apex on the Right there will be room to straighten the wheel up, finish your braking and do the 4-3 downshift. Make SURE you are setting up as wide to the Right as the car will happily go. Generally about 1 car with from the Right edge, and over a car-and-a-half from the Left. This should give you a nice wide arc through Turn-2. A common difficulty is over-slowing the car here. The mild camber and high grip surface will hold a lot of corner entry speed. Make sure that you are looking “over the apex, to the the track-out” as soon as possible. Notice the the track is uphill and slightly on-camber toward the track-out of 2. It will hold a lot of speed and throttle. You will want to apex Turn-2 at 1:30 (looking down on the corner with 12:00 being straight toward HWY 21). You should be able to go to the throttle before the apex, and be at full throttle (depending on mods) by shortly after. Your speed and throttle obviously should take you all the way to the edge. The consequences of dropping a wheel here are generally zero, just ease it back on. If you don’t need the whole track try more throttle earlier, or a higher turn-in speed. As you stay on the right side of the short straight, unless you have serious mods and got off Turn 2 incredibly you should be able to stay in 4th.

The kink is one of those great corners that really rewards looking ahead. Before you get to your braking point glance all the way to your track-out. This will help remind you how much room you have, therefore how fast you can be, and how early and how much throttle to pick up early in the corner. There will be just a dab of braking before turning in for the kink. The turn-in point is much later than you will initially realize. There is quite a bit of camber and tremendous grip down at the apex. This allows quite a bit of turning and a good bit of throttle to be applied near the apex. Make sure you are looking to track-out well before the apex. You will be able to apply heavy throttle and start to free the car up toward the track-out very early as the track is relatively wide here. As long as you are all the way to the inner edge of the track for the apex, and the apex is at least in the middle of the corner, if not slightly past, full throttle at the apex should be no problem. Again, if you don’t need the whole track at track-out try more throttle earlier in the corner, or less braking before turning in. As you get to track-out, if you are having to turn the wheel more, or lift off the throttle, after the apex, you apexed, and likely turned-in too early.

On the back straight you will stay to the right side, up shifting to 5th a little past halfway. The grip on this track is very good, assuming you have good brakes on the car, you should be able to brake quite late. As you approach the carousel, be sure to glance around to the Left to the track-out. It is this glance that sets your mental image of how big, and therefore how fast the corner is. The course goes on-camber shortly after turn-in, so there is room for some pretty significant trail braking. The combination of more grip on the inner edge of the track, being such a long corner, and the power of the STi make this corner better as a double apex than a late single. This corner is one that separates the STi from lower powered "momentum" cars.

You should actually be able to brake late enough that you make this a double apex corner. You will want to be going by your first apex still doing the last of your trail braking. As you pass the first apex, make sure that you are looking "over the 2nd apex to the track-out." This is so important, particularly in a wide corner like this one. After touching your first apex at what would be 1:30 on the carousel, "let the car" / "be going fast enough that the car has to" free up off the inner edge of the track almost a car width. You should be done with the braking just past the 1st apex, approaching the "Slowest and Most Steering Input Point." Yep, the slowest point in the corner will support the tightest arc. Make sure that you are carrying in enough speed that you will be braking all the way to the Slowest and Most Steering point, which is also your turn-in for the second apex. If you have to let the car roll to keep from over-slowing it, you went to the brakes too early. Better too early than too late. At this Slowest and Most Steering Point, you will have to get the car rotated enough to get to the second apex, which is quite late (near 10:30 on the carousel) due to the slight kink after the carousel. As soon as the car is rotating enough to get to that second apex you should be going to the throttle, having already found and planned to use enough throttle to carry you all the way to your track-out point. Track-out for this corner, in these cars is not quite all the way to the edge of the track. The kink to the left forces you to make a big arc through the Left kink on the way out of the carousel. Done right you should be at full throttle before the second apex of the carousel, and be able to easily keep the throttle flat through the kink, up-shifting to 4th shortly after the kink. Be sure to setup all the way to Left for the upcoming U-turn.

Finally, everybody's favorite corner, the U-turn. Running this track counter-clockwise this is probably one of the meanest decreasing radius, narrowing-track corners around. Being perfectly flat and having a tight exit makes this corner slightly more towards a single late apex, rather than a true double apex. In other words, you do not need to get all the way to the inner edge of the track for the 1st apex. You also don't want to run deep out to the left for a classic late-apex, as you will just be adding length to the track. So, after setting up all the way to the left, you will actually turn-in still at full throttle. This corner has slightly different lines in different vehicles. In the STi's you want to point about 2 cars wide of the inner edge of the track, where your first apex would be (near 10:00 on the U-turn). There should be plenty of room to get the car pointed in, straightened and then get onto the brakes. There will be a short period of threshold braking before easing off the brakes and starting to Turn-in (again). This corner will hold more speed than it seems, the downshift to third will have to come late in the braking to prevent overrev by downshifting too early.

As in most corners, particularly those with a late apex, there should be a Slowest and Most Steering Point. For the U-turn, in an STi, this point will be near the middle of the U-turn (12:00, the part closest to HWY 21). At this Slowest point, you should be looking over your apex, all the way to your track-out, then rolling into the throttle. Done right you will be at full-throttle before the apex. If you can't make your apex you either need to turn-in earlier, or slow a bit more. If you make your apex, but have to turn the wheel more AFTER the apex, you apexed too early. If you made your apex and you don't NEED the whole track at track-out, try raising your Slow Point Speed, or backing up your apex a bit. In other words, if you don't have to take the car to the very edge of the track, you slowed down too much in the middle, or you apexed too late. Most of these rules hold for most corners on most tracks.

On your way to the skidpad you will make the up shift to 4th. The skidpad, despite being perfectly flat, is actually quite similar to the carousel. There is significantly more grip on the inner edge of the track, and it's a LONG corner. This means that once again you should be able to turn-in at full throttle. You will do your braking and the downshift to third on the the way to, and slightly past, the 1st apex. This corner is long enough that you really should be on the inner edge for a long first apex. You will be on that 1st apex from 2:00 to near 12:30. You should be able to apply throttle on this apex, increasing speed, and therefore NEEDing to "free" the car off the inner edge as you come around to 12:30 on the skidpad. By 11:00 you should be almost a car width from the inner edge. A nice lift here should let you rotate the car back toward the second apex. As you do this, glance up and see the track-out for the skidpad, which is also the apex for the Right onto the straight. As soon as the car is rotating well enough to make the 2nd apex, you should be able to begin going back to the throttle. Getting to the inner edge of the track near 9:00 should let you get to full throttle pretty early. Realize that as you pass 8:00 on the carousel you can begin to unwind the car from the Left edge toward the “track-out of the skidpad” / “apex of the Right.” Done really well you should need 4th near the apex of the Right. As soon as you pass the powerband of 4th, shift 5th.

This track, in these cars is an absolute blast. You can sling them around for all they're worth. That said, this track and these cars will reward precision with improving lap times. The braking zones for the carousel and Turn-1 are significant enough that even the STi Brembo’s MUST have good fluid to last the day. For those that haven't played with their alignments yet, all the Imprezas are VERY alignment sensitive. To prevent frustrating terminal understeer make sure you have at LEAST 0.4 degrees more front camber than rear, or have stiff sway bars. Enjoy.

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