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IMS Writers’ Roundtable, Vol. 41: Favorite IMS Road Course Corner?

Today’s question: What is your favorite corner on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, and why?

Curt Cavin: I’m particularly fond of Turn 7, largely because of television’s camera angle that allows viewers to size up the approach. There’s also a significant amount of grassy run-off, which we’ve seen come into play pretty regularly in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES races. Best of all, the action can be taken in from the comfort of a lawn chair on the adjacent hill that also overlooks the extremely large but remarkably difficult No. 7 green on the Brickyard Cross Golf Course.

Zach Horrall: The Turns 5-6 chicane on the IMS road course is my favorite section of the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit, even if it does bypass inner loop after Turn 4 of which I am also very fond. It’s such a unique set of corners and presents an interesting challenge for all types of cars. It’s a very fast chicane, which is rare to come by as chicanes are made to slow cars down. Watching NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers rush through (or sometimes over) the corner is exhilarating. The NASCAR Cup Series cars also had a really fast feel when they navigated the heavy stock cars through the chicane. I’ll also add that seeing it in person after years of watching it on TV gives you a new respect for the corner. It doesn’t look like much on TV, but up close and personal it’s a VERY sharp and narrow transition from Turn 5 to Turn 6, which makes the speed produced in this corner even more impressive.

Paul Kelly: My answer is odd, as usual. But I really like Turn 13, one of the slowest corners on the course. Some purists still decry the turn complex including the new Turn 13 added to the inside of Turn 1 of the oval, which didn’t exist when the road course first opened in 2000 for the United States Grand Prix Formula One race. I get it – it was cool to see F1 cars rip through the banking of oval Turn 1 going in the “wrong” direction. But that corner wasn’t hard – F1 cars were flat through it. The added section of Turns 12, 13 and 14 pile on the complexity and challenge of the circuit, making it less of a “roval” and more of a proper road course. Turn 13 is especially tricky and vital. It’s a corner that tightens as it progresses, penalizing overzealous drivers. And if a driver waits too long to get on the throttle or is forced to blip the loud pedal due to carrying too much speed into the decreasing-radius corner, his or her speed down the entire front straight is compromised. Turn 14 is a long sweeper onto the front straight, so getting Turn 13 right is essential to carry enough speed to set up passes into Turn 1 at the end of the front straight.

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