A Lap of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
A turn-by-turn lap in one of the Allen Berg Racing Schools Tatuus carbon fibre open-wheel formula cars, as told by 14-year-old Mazda Motorsports factory driver, Alexander Berg.
For experienced drivers, turn 1 is simple; stay on full throttle and apex in the middle of the turn, just past the crest, and then aim the nose of the race car at the third telephone pole on the right of the track. You will learn this on the track walk or van-around prior to your first run.
if you are driving in rain, cold, or other low-traction conditions, you may not feel comfortable taking turn 1 flat out, and if so, make sure to lift before the crest of the hill, as the car will transfer all the weight to the front of the car. Since the wheel is turned slightly, and you are at the crest of a hill, the back end of the car can step out, and potentially cause a spin at a very high speed. As always, test the track conditions and build up your speeds gradually.
Turn 2; This corner has been named the Andretti Hairpin after the legendary Mario Andretti:
There are two different ways to get through Turn 2.
Option 1 is for someone with more experience. Maybe you’ve taken an ABRS course previously. If yes, you can point the nose of your race car to the first set of rumble strips on the inside of the corner. Then, brake at around the 3 marker. Make sure that your wheel is straight when braking and downshifting, otherwise the rear end of the car may tend to step out on you causing you to correct.
Once you have passed over the first set of rumble strips, you will find yourself in the middle of the track, so turn the car to point towards the second set of rumble strips, and get back on the throttle smoothly and gradually.
Option 2 is for those of you that are new to the car and track. In this case, stick to the outside of the track, brake in a straight line, downshift to 3rd gear, and only hit a single apex at the second rumble strip. Once your nose is pointed towards the apex you can gradually roll back onto the throttle.
As you approach and begin to enter turn 3, the car will be approaching the red line in 4th gear, but don’t shift to 5th gear, just stay in 4th.
Start to brake at the 3 marker, pointing towards the outside of the track, and you will go through this corner in 4th gear. Do not turn in until you get to the 1 marker, making sure not to turn in too early, but if you do, resist the urge to hit the brakes. Once you are at the apex of turn 3, slowly roll back onto the throttle.
Make sure you get into 5th gear before by the Cooper Tires Bridge and before you get to the entry if 4. Start your turn in a few yards before the entry curbing ends, and then once you are at the apex, you can immediately go back to 100% throttle.
Entering Turn 5, you will begin to brake just after the Mothers Polishes Bridge, and then turn in at the end of the entry curbing. Before you get to the apex, start to slowly roll back on the throttle, and once you are at the apex you should be at 100%. Use all the track, and as there is quite a lot of banking here, you will be able to carry a lot of speed into and through this corner.
Turn 6 is one of the most challenging and daunting parts of the track, and one of the challenging and daunting corners of any track in the world. Turn 6 requires a lift at the VP Racing Fuels Bridge, and then begin your turn in at the 1 marker. When you are at the apex, you will want to start to apply throttle. There is a big compression at the Apex, but do not lift when you feel that. Stay on the throttle throughout the turn and through the exit.
Turn 7/8A/8B, aka the world-famous Corkscrew:
When entering this complex area on the lead up to the Corkscrew, make sure to keep your car to the left before you steer right through turn 7. Stay close to the rumble strip, but not on it, then turn right to set up for turn 8A. Brake as soon as the steering wheel is straight once through turn 7, and just before the 3 marker, downshift to 4th. Make your turn in at the 1 marker. For turn 8B, aim your race car at the tree with an orange ribbon on it, then roll on the throttle, being careful to not go too much to the right on exit, as you will run over a very big rut and drainage cover which will upset the car.
Turn 9: aka the Rainey Curve, named after the American rider Wayne Rainey who claimed the 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Championship.
Turn 9 is one of the fastest turns on the track. Before you enter, you need to short-shift up to 5th gear at the WeatherTech Bridge, and you will keep the race car in the middle of the track, then gradually turn in. Once you find yourself at the apex, you should be able to go back to 100% throttle.
Turn 10 is relatively simple. Especially after getting through the Corkscrew and the high-speed turn 9. Brake just past the 3 marker, release at the 1.5 marker, and then make your turn in at the 1 marker. Once you reach the apex, make sure to be back to 100% throttle, and as this corner is very banked, you can carry a lot of speed through it. The banking then drops off throughout the turn, so be careful that on exit as it is easy to lose rear grip. There are lots of black tire marks at the exit here to show you what happens when you get this wrong.
Turn 11 is slightly downhill, and you will enter this corner in 3rd gear. Brake at the 3 marker, downshift twice down to 1st. Be careful at the apex since you are in a low gear, as the wheels may tend to spin. Make sure that you will get a good exit as turn 11 is a place that you can overshoot your braking very easily.
Of course, this leads on to the longest straight on the track so this exit will be the most important exit for a good lap of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.