Q: “My question is about the best line and speed through banked corners. The two I have been on are Turns One and Tunnel at Pocono, and as well as the Carousel on the Summit Shenandoah circuit. I’m not sure if I should be taking a traditional line and hitting the apex, or just travel parallel to the corner and hold a steady speed? Also, do I just keep adding speed to find my limit like a traditional corner? Especially at Pocono, the speeds are high and a mistake ends with a trip to the wall, so any input would be helpful.”
A: The simple answer is to drive where the maximum grip level is. That often means getting into “the bowl” of the banking as early as you can, and stay there as long as possible.
That’s a guideline, not a rule (which means it works more often than it doesn’t, but it doesn’t work always). And this doesn’t mean that you won’t clip down low at the apex, because you could if that’s where the maximum banking angle is. If the track flattens out down low, like there is an apron that isn’t banked as much as the track, then you will likely run where the maximum banking is – and that might mean running a constant arc around the turn, parallel with the bottom.
Often, if you take the classic/traditional line, that means turning in from the outside edge of the track where there could be less banking (and therefore less grip). Instead, you might want to turn in earlier to get the car into the banking as soon as possible.
Of course, all of this depends on the amount of banking the corner has. If it’s a lot, then get in there and use it as much as possible. If it has just a tiny bit of banking, a more traditional line might be the better. Ultimately, you’re weighing up the pros and cons of the traditional line’s benefits with the additional grip coming from the banking.
And there is no one single “always do it this way” rule that works all the time. You have to try different lines and see which works best. But again, I’d start by driving where the track has the most grip, and that’s often as deep in the banking as much as possible.