Whilst the 125m start/finish straight is driven as a straight line, the original circuit construction was completed with meandering circuit edges. 40m before the first corner there is a slight right hand kink in the straight, which drivers often cut to create a â€˜straight lineâ€™ braking zone into Turn 1. This driving line can prevent opponents from pulling alongside and overtaking on the inside into the first corner.
Turn 1 & 2 â€“ Bennetts & Wish Bend
Bennetts and Wish Bend can be tackled as a double apex corner in order to maximise speed through this sequence. Start with a hard dab on the brakes after the long straight which is key to a clean and early apex into Bennetts, before aiming to place the right hand front tyre as close as possible to the inside kerb. On clipping the apex, gently release the steering lock and let the kart run out to the left hand edge of the circuit, pointing the kart towards the end of the exit kerb on the left hand side of the circuit.
It is tempting to turn in early to Turn 2, Wish Bend. Instead, keep the kart out wide for slightly longer than feels natural and lift off the throttle on turn-in, getting back on the power as the front right hand tyre clips the last few teeth of the apex kerb. The circuit naturally rises through Wish Bend, which momentarily unweights the kart, as well as making the late apex difficult to sight, so this is possibly one of the trickiest corners to master at Blackbushe.
On the exit of Wish Bend, position the kart so that it runs three quarters of the way across the circuit, rather than attempting to use the full circuit width, straightening the kart so it is well positioned for entry into the next sequence of the circuit.
Turn 3 & 4 â€“ The Esses
There really is little rest around Blackbushe; Immediately after navigating through the first set of corners, it is time to concentrate on the Esses.
On entry to the Esses, place the kart in the middle of the circuit on a constant three quarter throttle and maintain a consistent distance from the left hand track edge as the circuit begins to gently curve left. As the corner tightens further to the left, briefly apply slightly more steering to â€˜jack the kartâ€™ into the turn, aiming towards the white line located at the end of the apex kerb. Once the kart is positioned correctly, unwind the steering and apply full power so the kart effectively drives in a straight line into the Esses. Some of the left-hand kerb can be used on approach to the apex but drivers should be wary of unsettling the kart.
This driving line will position the kart in preparation to quickly change direction and hit the second right hand apex of the Esses. With a slight lift off the throttle, place the kart so that the right wheels clip the last part of the apex kerb immediately applying full power after the apex. Since the kerb here is situated in the â€˜middle of the trackâ€™ (it delineates the divide from the direct drive and gearbox permutations), it is tempting to cut more of the kerb, but this can lead to running wide on the exit or, worse, spinning.
On exit from the Esses, maintain full throttle and let the kart run out to the last part of the exit kerb on the left hand side of the circuit as the track begins to gently slope downhill.
Turn 5 & 6 â€“ Cooper Curve & Top Pit Bend
Turn 5 is a flat out 150 degree left hand kink in the track. The optimum line requires the driver to take a late apex through the kink, positioning the kart in a straight line and running parallel to the left hand edge of the track on the exit. For a quick driver exiting the Esses, it is possible to pull alongside a slower driver on the outside around Cooper Curve and set up an over-take on the inside into Turn 6. However, this may compromise exit speed onto the following straight so some thought is required as to your race tactics before making a â€˜lungeâ€™.
After Cooper Curve, the track continues to drop downhill into a 20m straight before a fast entry into the 73 degree, off camber, right hander called Top Pit Bend, which could be likened to a less extreme version of Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch. A conventional racing line can be driven through this downhill corner, with a dab of the brake and a slight lift off the throttle required on entry to point the kart into the corner. Position the wheels as close as possible to the apex and exit kerbs without actually hitting them and take care not to run wide on the exit since the kart will straddle the kerb and is likely to result in the loss of a race position.
On the exit of Top Pit Bend, the circuit straightens for 50m along â€˜Pit Straightâ€™. Maintain full throttle and keep the kart on the left hand side of the circuit along this section of straight, driving parallel to the kerb on the left hand side of the track. There is a small compression before the track rises slightly uphill towards Turn 7.
Turn 7 â€“ Pit Bend
Pit Bend is a fast entry right handed corner, which leads into the final Chicane. The turn-in point should be at the transition from asphalt to grass on the left hand side of the track and definitely after the compression to avoid getting the kart â€˜out of shapeâ€™ on corner entry.
As the kart turns in, lift off the throttle and then gently reapply the power through the corner to balance the kart through the long right hander and into the entry of the chicane, taking care not to â€˜overdriveâ€™ the corner or run wide. Some drivers prefer to take a fast entry into the corner which can result in running wide through the corner. However, a driver maintaining a tighter inside line through this long right hander can sometimes sneak past a driver ahead creating a potential overtaking opportunity for the thoughtful racers.
Turn 8 â€“ The Chicane
The Chicane is the final corner sequence around the lap and arguably the most important corner to master a smooth line and optimise gearing since it leads onto the long start/finish straight.
A good exit from Pit Bend should ideally allow a short burst on the throttle and a straight line entry into The Chicane complex, before braking for the left hander of the chicane. Maintaining control of the kart under braking here is important, so the driver can get on the throttle as early as possible and power through the chicane as the steering lock unwinds. On exit of the chicane, use some of the kerb on the right hand side of the circuit and then let the kart naturally run out to the far left on re-entering the start finish straight to maximise top speed as the lap is completed. A clean exit from the Chicane could provide an opportunity to overtake onto the straight and possibly take that all important position on the final lap!
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