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Snetterton - Track Guide

Ben Clucas –

Snetterton has three configurations, split up into the 100, 200 and 300. By far the most used circuit for almost all track days, test days and races is the 300, three-mile configuration, completed in 2011.

It isn’t the easiest of the main UK circuits to get to, situated in Norfolk, with parts of the A11 still single carriageway if you are coming from the Midlands or South, although this road is currently under construction and may all be dual carriageway fairly soon.

It is on a lot of UK race series calendars though and is one of the better and larger UK circuits, so tends to have plenty of track time available, making it ideal for testing, or enjoyable for social track days.

Turn 1 – Riches
Depending on the car, Riches can vary from full throttle in something with downforce, to a reasonably hard brake in a more powerful, low-grip car. The corner essentially has 2 apexes/clipping points. Try to get very close to the first apex early on, and in some cases if you have a particularly light car, you can even run over the apex curb here. If you get the entry speed correct you should then drift out to almost mid-track between the first and second apex, giving you a nice angle to get onto full throttle and accelerate through the rest of the corner, missing the second apex by around half a car’s width.

Turn 2 – Montreal
Corners like Montreal seem relatively simple, but are actually where you tend to gain or lose the most time, as you are in them for longer. In terms of line, you try to hold the apex and stay close to the apex curb for quite a while mid-corner. The boards on the left as you approach the corner can be used as good marker points for where you need to brake in your particular car. The key to Montreal is to brake very late, but at the same time be very sensitive with your brake modulation as you trail brake into the apex. When you brake late it is very easy to then brake too hard and either lock the right front tyre on entry, or cause oversteer with too much weight transfer to the front as you turn in. If you get the braking right you should only get once on the power at the mid-corner point and this will then take you nicely onto the exit curb, without you having to lift back out of the throttle.

Turn 3 – Palmer
Similar to Riches, in some cars it can be full throttle, in others a reasonable brake. Don’t try to brake too late or hard on the entry and turn in earlier than you think here. If you miss the positive camber at the apex, which is easy to do as it is not very wide,  you will lose a lot of time here. Be calm on the entry and try to brake very softly, so you don’t put too much weight on the front and cause oversteer. Once you’ve got the car on top of the inside apex curb you should be able to go very quickly to full throttle .

Turn 4 – Agostini
Agostini is very similar to turn 2, Montreal, in the sense that it is relatively simple, but it tends to be where you can gain or lose a lot of time. Again, use the marker boards as you approach the corner as a good guide of where to brake – like Montreal, the key is to brake late here. You can trail brake harder into the apex than at turn 2 because the track surface is very flat on entry and has no real camber. Therefore, the circuit does not put any weight transfer into the car, unlike the slightly downhill entry of Montreal. The key here is brake as late as you can and carry as much brake pressure into the apex as possible without locking the left front. If you do this while still hitting a late apex you should be able to get quickly onto full throttle and maintain good exit speed too.

Turn 5 – Hamilton
There isn’t a huge amount of time to be gained or lost at Hamilton, due to the short amount of time you are in the corner. In some cars it is full throttle, in others a soft brake is required. The key thing to focus on is make sure you are looking into the corner nice and early, a long way before you reach the turn in point, and to get as close as possible to the inside bollards/tyre barrier. It is not possible to make a huge amount of time up on entry, so don’t try to brake or lift off the throttle too late, as you will just induce oversteer. You are better off staying fairly calm and relaxed on the entry and concentrating on picking up the power cleanly on the exit.

Turn 6 – Oggies
It is a relatively simple corner with an obvious racing line. You turn in to an early apex here and use the rest of the corner as it continues to slowly curve round as an acceleration zone. The hardest part of the corner is trying to brake late without overshooting the apex. You have to be very accurate with your brake point here and you can only carry a small amount of brake when trail braking into the apex. If you try to carry too much brake on turn in, as you apex early here and therefore do a lot of turning at the beginning of the corner, it is very easy to lock the right front tyre as you start to turn in.

Turn 7 – Williams
Williams is one of the most important corners on the circuit. You can gain a lot of time here and obviously the exit is very important, with a huge straight afterwards. In some cars this will be full throttle, in others you will need a slight brake. If you carry too little speed into Williams, you are always tempted to get on the power too soon, then the car will begin to understeer and you will have to lift off the throttle again on the exit as you run out of space. You should use the tyre barriers as your apex point and then immediately start getting on the throttle. Be very careful with track limits on the exit here, especially with the new 2014 regulations.

Turns 8 and 9 – Brundle/Nelson
Brundle and Nelson are probably the place you can lose the most time on the circuit, especially for a less experienced driver. It is very, very important you brake late for the beginning of Brundle, and you should not touch the throttle again until the apex of Nelson. All the time is made up by controlling the brake pressure through Brundle, so that you brake as late as possible, but at the same time manage to keep it all the way to the left before Nelson. You should brake very hard initially, then release some (not all) brake pressure as you begin to go through the left to avoid having too much oversteer. Once you get onto the straight section of track between Brundle and Nelson you go back to braking very hard. The key really is to brake as late as you possibly can without messing up the exit of Nelson. Once you’ve got the speed off through Brundle, you shouldn’t trail brake into Nelson and should be early on the power, ever so slightly before you get onto the apex curb there. If you feel yourself ever going back on the throttle through Brundle you haven’t braked late enough initially.

Turn 10 – Bomb Hole
The Bomb Hole is a fairly short corner that you are in and out of pretty quickly, so it is difficult to gain a lot of time here. The important point of the corner is to try and turn in relatively early here, so you get the positive camber (left by the World War II bomb that exploded here) at the apex of the corner. There is a drain on the inside curb which is effectively your apex point, so try to get as close to this as possible without hitting it. This is also the point you should be able to get back on the power.

Turn 11 and 12 – Coram/Murrays
The Coram/Murrays complex is quite difficult to get right and you can gain a lot of time here. In most cars you won’t need to brake for Coram, but for the odd powerful, low-grip car you may need a slight dab. The key to Coram is turn in early and make sure you lift off the throttle slightly before you lose grip here. If you lift off the throttle after you’ve lost grip and started drifting wide, it takes an age to gain the grip back, so you are pushed out wide at the mid-corner point and lose a lot of time. There is a lot of time to be gained by staying close to the inside of the track all the way through Coram, as it saves you a huge amount in terms of distance travelled. It is tricky to really brake late at Murrays, because you are turning so much at the same time and you should already be fully to the right-hand side of the track. Don’t worry about trying to find a lot of time under-braking at Murrays – it is not the type of corner that rewards the last of the late brakers. You are much better off keeping it neat and tidy on the entry to Murrays to give yourself a good exit. It is very important there to make sure you are on the power slightly before you apex to get a good drive down the following straight.

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