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  • R. Villeneuve

At Home at the Corkscrew!

When you mention Laguna Seca you think the Corkscrew, right? Is there another corner at a track in the US with THAT kind of worldwide recognition? I can’t think of one, can you?

Laguna Seca (the politically correct way to say it is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca) is my “home track”, by virtue that I work at the Skip Barber Racing School and I have a pretty good idea of where the track goes. Actually, I know every nuance about that track. The track is ingrained in my brain and my muscle memory and one of the coolest secrets about MRLS is that with very few exceptions, you drive almost any car the same way there! Sure you brake less in this one or go to throttle sooner in that one but for the most part it’s the same. Even the gears are almost identical...

Now I am sure there is someone bound to disagree with me and say that they drive their ______ car at the track and they do ______ at turn ________. (the big question is, is there anyone even reading this?)

And to that I would reply to you, _________! I have driven a giant variety of different cars there over the last 10 years and have literally 10’s of thousands of laps around there. In the end, I can’t think one thing that do drastically different in an LMPC car or a Mazda 3! Seriously! Maybe the small changes used to adapt to different cars are insignificant to me but I swear, there just isn’t that much difference. For example, for turn 4 in an LMPC car I will lift a bit on entry then squeeze back to full throttle. Guess what? That’s how I drive a stock Mazda 3 school car through there! No kidding!

I do drive the Porsche GT3 a bit differently though, I do a light brake on entry while I turn in to point the nose a bit better. That’s it! To me, that’s a pretty simple adjustment based on the diversity of those three cars!

The 3 pictures above are from 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. With the exception of the camera angles being different, do you see major differences in the car placement in the 3 shots? I don’t. I am not trying to boast of my abilities, I am simply saying there isn’t much difference in driving various cars around there! It’s all in where you look. You can read track descriptions all you want but you will never get a Laguna Seca right until you really know where you should be looking at every part of every corner. I teach hundreds of people the drive that track every year and everyone gets it to a point. Then, they just don’t get any faster, why? Because it’s easy to teach people where to brake or where to turn but if you don’t train your eyes, you’ll never break that barrier to the next level and the lower lap times at Laguna Seca.

Have fun driving!!!!!!!

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