Young Driver AMR: A lap of Silverstone with Darren Turner

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Darren Turner
The second round of the FIA GT1 World Championship takes place at the home of British motor racing, Silverstone this weekend. The FIA GT1 event will be the first world championship race to be held on the newly-adapted circuit layout.

Darren Turner, the Young Driver AMR official driver, gives an exclusive insight into the circuit changes and explains how he will get his Aston Martin No.7 race car round this weekend ...

I was at Silverstone not that long ago running in a half marathon and already the pit straight is completely different because they've moved the grandstands back on what was the old start-finish straight and this has completely opened up this part of the track.

It used to be like a tunnel going down to the first corner, so it's certainly a different feeling now.

The first corner at Copse is a fast corner, with a blind apex because you have to come to the end of the pit wall before you can see where you are going to aim for. There's a 50 metre board on the left which you use as a turn in marker and then just fire the car into corner and hope for the best.

Copse is a great corner because it is so fast and will probably be just a quick flick down to 5th gear, maybe not even a brake, just a lift off and change down one gear.

The run off on the exit has made Copse less of a challenge, where as before if you made a mistake you were probably going to be on the grass and possibly into the wall, which always kept you on your toes. Now the kerb is pretty flat and there is the fake grass and tarmac again, so if you do run wide you can lose time but the consequences aren't as dire as it has been in previous years.

After Copse you come to what is probably my favourite group of corners on any track in the world, the Maggots-Becketts complex. It is a very high speed entry into it and it obviously decreases as you go through the set of corners. It's probably a lift through Maggots - the fast left, right - and then down two gears.

I imagine it will be down one gear to start with for the left in Becketts and then down another for the final part of Becketts before entering the Hanger Straight. It is a lovely set of corners and very challenging, if you get it wrong here you will lose a lot of time.

Then we are onto the Hanger Straight, which is quite long. It's a good place because if someone has made a small error in the last part of Becketts you can get some momentum and get past them on the way down to Stowe.

Stowe is a good corner, the braking is very late because you tend to brake and fire yourself in and slow yourself down throughout the corner because the apex is a long way round. It's over a crest as well so the exit can drop away from you but there is a good supporting kerb which you tend to aim for and use as a way of controlling the car.

Then it's downhill into the Vale, a very tight corner with a tricky kerb. It's flat on the initial part and then it ramps up quite high which can upset the rear of the car but if you don't go high enough on the kerb you lose the grip on the right side of the car which is in the groove.

It's one of those places you try to brake very late but quite often you can just miss the groove and end up losing a lot of time. Club has been re-profiled on the new layout. The old Club was a challenge all the way through and I hope they haven't too much of the old Club because it was a good section through there.

It's then up to Abbey and the new circuit profile into the Arena section. From the circuit map we've all been given I imagine it will be a 4th gear approach into Abbey and up to Ireland, probably back up to 5th.

Arena itself is a section of three corners and I see this as quite slow in and then building the speed up as you exit onto the National Straight, hopefully it is going to be a challenging set of corners. Having moved away from Bridge corner, which is one of my favourite corners, I hope that the new Arena will make up for losing Bridge and make Silverstone as special as it always has been.

Then it's down the National Straight into Brooklands and Luffield. Brooklands is a difficult corner because the apex is very late and there is quite a long braking zone and there is always a compromise between attacking on the way in and being slow on the way out or taking another option because there quite a few lines you can take here. It's a good overtaking opportunity because you can force someone to make a mistake under braking and lose the line for Luffield.

After Luffield you're back onto the start-finish straight again to begin another lap.

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