Briton Guy Smith
will contest the opening round of the ALMS series, the 50th 12
Hours of Sebring on March 16th. Guy, runner-up in the recent
Daytona 24 Hours in the Matthews Racing Riley & Scott, will
team-up with team owner Jim Matthews, with the third driver
yet to be announced. Here the 27 year-old from Hull gives his
views on the classic Florida circuit that will host Americaís
oldest sports endurance race.
International Raceway is one of the most challenging circuits
and this race weekend is going to be particularly demanding as
the level of competition is very high.
one is very exciting and challenging as we approach the corner
flat out in top gear at around 170 mph then right at the last
minute downshift to 4th. We then get hard back on the power
but itís tricky to find the apex as itís blind when turning in
and we are still carrying around 120 mph through the corner.
Itís also very bumpy and you often see sparks flying from the
cars as they hit the bumps, which looks very spectacular at
Turn 2 is a very
tight 2nd gear corner thatís very tricky to get right. The
apex is a big high curb that you donít want to touch and
minimum speed here will be around 80mph.
The Carousel, as
turn 3 is better known, is a very technical corner where
minimum and exit speed are vital but as itís very bumpy a good
set up is very important. The next straight is a good
overtaking spot so a good run on to the straight is a must.
We approach turn 4
which is a tight 1st gear hairpin at around 165 mph so
stopping the car is always tough and its very easy to go in to
hot and miss the apex. Itís a good overtaking spot and there
is always a lot of action here during the race. Exit is very
important with such a long straight, straight after.
Cunningham bend is
quite a tough corner as itís made up of lots of different
surfaces and itís always difficult to find the grip and
traction. Itís very technical and you really need to know were
to place the car to find the maximum grip.
Corner Speeds here are around 60 mph. There are always plenty
of fans on this corner and every time I race there I always
try to go out and see them.
Turn 6 is probably the bumpiest corner on the whole circuit.
It has a high speed entry of around 140 mph in 5th gear and
then itís down two gears to 3rd and you try to carry as much
speed through the corner as possible which is tough as the car
can feel like a ďbucking broncoĒ if itís not set up well. Itís
quite an important corner for lap times so itís one you really
have to dial the car in for.
Bishop bend is very straightforward. Itís taken flat out in
top gear at around 155mph Ė itís really a no brainier.
Turn 8 is not just one corner itís a series of right-lefts and
itís high speed at around 110mph but itís where the car needs
to have a good high speed balance as a Ďlazyí will just not
work. Good corner speed and momentum are key and a good drive
onto the back straight, where we see the top speed of around
175mph, is super important.
The straight feels really wide as the circuit used to be part
of an old runway and hasnít changed much over the years and
itís still as bumpy!
The final corner, Sunset bend is a tough one as you have a
very high entry speed and you start to brake as you turn into
the corner, which can make the car quite twitchy.
Again itís very bumpy and you are always trying to find the
smoothest line to avoid the bumps. I tend to hold the car in
tight to the apex and really concentrate on getting a good
drive on to the pit straight to complete another lap of the
to discuss this article