Sunday, June 22, 2014

Turn 2 (CTMP Mosport)

A couple years ago I took up performance driving as a hobby, so I picked up a little Porsche and joined the Porsche Club of America, Upper Canada Region who put on a great program with their driver education events. I really have no interest in racing but am enticed with learning about the dynamics of speed, grip, and techniques of maneuvering a vehicle around a road track.

Living in southern Ontario we have a little gem in our backyards called Canadian Tire Motorsport Park,
or as once known Mosport.  Once a regular stop on the F1 circuit, it was neglected for many years though in the past few years Canadian Tire has transformed it into a modern facility. Often regarded as one of the most difficult courses in the world, it is one of the few circuits that has largely been untouched and mostly original. Existing in the oak ridge moraine, it has earned it's reputation due to it's high spend turns, blind apexes and dramatic elevation changes.

Turn 2 is probably it's signature turn and once you drive it, it's like playing a spectacular golf course where you replay certain holes over and over in your mind. Turn two is a double apex left turn sweeper and driving it is best described as a dance with physics, grip and technology. Check out this youtube video of turn 2.

Coming out of pit lane you want to quickly come up to speed as taking turn 2 too slow makes it an awkward turn to maneuver. As you build experience you start to find the groove and speed where things just start to work and you know this when you feel it, no other way to describe it. A quick lap or two around the track to warm up the tires and turn two comes to life.

Coming out of turn one you want to be flat out when you hit the apex and gradually line up to the right to approach turn two, making sure to keep clear of the pit merge lane. Approaching the turn there is a crest which makes it a completely blind corner. The trick to this turn is to stay committed and keep your hands still and keep to the line. As you approach, lightly tap the brakes to shift weight to the front and load traction on your front wheels and while still in the blind you want to make your turn in. The best way to describe the amount of turn in is that if you were going any slower you'd probably drive off the track. At this point you are committed with your turn in and you will quickly see the first apex as you come over the crest. My preference is to actually put my left tire in the gutter, yes, in the gutter. Your speed if done right will float you nicely and put you in position.

Coming through the first apex you are feeling that the road slopes away from you. Since you are sweeping to the left and the car and having just come over a crest there is a tendency for the car to unweight. This is not good and 99% of all spins in this turn come from those not managing this correctly. To avoid being unweighted and to maintain traction, you must keep some level throttle through the turn. The worst thing you can do at this point is come off the throttle which will cause the car to lighten and the back end will start to wiggle out. Just check out YouTube videos of "mosport spins" and you'll find a few of these.

Holding tight, and if riding on street tires, you will feel tire technology at work as the tire rubber is peeling at the road. The car should naturally track out to about mid track and apex two is in sight. You know you've timed and lined up things nicely as at the bottom of the turn you will feel the car actually sit and hunker down as you tighten up and literally launch towards apex two. At this point traction is plentiful and you apply more throttle to come out of turn two as fast if not faster than when you came in. At apex two you should be full out on throttle and let the car track way out to the right using up all the road.

If you need a little guidance in turn two, luckily two years ago there was a patch of pavement at the bottom of the turn approaching apex two that was re-paved. If you line up with this, you've done well.

A blind corner can be intimidating and even if you miss on the turn-in for apex one, don't worry and don't fight it to try and get back in line, just focus and line up to hit apex two correctly and you'll have plenty of speed coming out. Remember, slow in, fast out.

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