RaceDepartment Historic Grand Prix Season 8 Round 4 Welcome back to Round 4 of the RDHGP S8. Round 3 was a shocker for me, but that’s my own fault, I deliberately pick the tracks that fit the profile for the season, not just throw together a load of tracks I like. As we’ve found before, a mix of cars were pretty well spread across the grid again, which is always gratifying to see. After a couple of good fantasy tracks, we will be coming back to a real world track for Round 4. We go 4,200 miles East from Lexington to the province of Cadiz in Andalucia, Spain, and the Circuito de Jerez track in its 1988 layout. Circuit Notes Jerez is located in South West Spain, in Andalucia, approximately 10 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. Its primary industry is centred around the wine industry, the most famous of which is sherry. The circuit opened in 1985, has held the Spanish F1 Grand Prix 5 times, the European Grand Prix once, and the Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix every year since 1987, apart from 1988 which is why we were allowed to sneak our way onto its busy schedule. Jerez is a very different proposition to the previous tracks we’ve driven, in that it is a relatively wide track, allowing multiple lines through several of the corners and complexes. It is not an overly complex track, but it is not so simple that it is only about the horsepower. Jerez has a relatively long S/F line, allowing cars to get up to top speed under normal circumstances, and relatively high speed at the start. After the pits exit, you encounter a heavy braking zone for T1R – Curva Expo 92. A slight uphill approach and an Armco on the inside makes the exit slightly unsighted, but it’s quite a classic turn, the camber slightly helps the turn in, and allows you to be on the accelerator nice and early for the exit. You only get a moment on the throttle though, possibly not even long enough to change gears, as you are hard on the brakes almost immediately for T2R – Curva Michelin. This is tighter than T1R, and slightly downhill, which takes out some of the camber help. Immediately following the exit of T2R, you see the slight uphill gradient of T3L, able to be taken flat out under acceleration, opening onto a short straight. Flat on the accelerator with the Race Control Tower in the distance, and you throw the nose at the similarly uphill and gentle entry of T4L, a long and shallow turn where you can build up some serious momentum. Containing that momentum is the key to getting T5R right, ease the nose in gently, try not to scrub off too much speed on entry, get on the accelerator again for a second or two and then brake and ease the nose in again for T6R, a slightly tighter turn. Get on the accelerator again for the short straight out of there, drifting over to the right ready for the quick braking and turn in for T7aL, the first part of the Chicane, settle the nose and get on the accelerator again for T7bR the exit of the chicane onto the rest of the back straight, under the Pirelli banner. Some heavy braking is required on the approach for T8R – Curva Dry Sac. This is as tight as T2R-Michelin, so make sure you are not too optimistic and scrub off into the outside. There is sand out there that will grab you. Exiting Dry Sac, it’s flat on the accelerator, back towards the Race Control tower and the back of the Grandstand, and you come to T9L, a corner that you can really attack flat out, carrying as much speed onto the following straight that you can. You hit T10L here and this is a real test of driver control. While it’s a long, long corner, it’s a real mixture of speed and patience. You need to get your car right on the limit of what it can handle, but going over that limit will really cost you time to recover. Again it’s a nice aggressive exit onto the short following straight. Brake for T11R – Curva Angel Nieto – but it is not a particularly tight 90, so there is some leeway with what lines you can use here, but that leeway stops for T12R – Curva Peluqui. A classic, tight 90, it needs to be handled safely, because you do not want to push the boundaries on this corner and lose any control. Peluqui opens out onto the exhilarating closing section of Jerez, a series of high speed turns taken pretty much flat out, so you need all your speed in this section. First up come T13R – Curva Alex Criville, taken flat out under acceleration (this is where the newer Chicane Ayrton Senna is situated), onto a slightly downhill straight and through the even faster T14R – Curva Ferrari, all about bravery throwing the nose at the apex and hoping to hang on. Finally, you will be approaching top speed before you have to throw out the anchors past the pit entry for the final corner T15L – Curva Ducados. This is a wide hairpin, similar to T2R & T6R, so the classic line of wide approach and cutting back to the apex is probably faster, but it does leave the inside wide open for late braking passing attacks. That it is off camber makes this a treacherous corner whether you are attacking, defending or simply trying to get through without losing too much time. Stand on the loud pedal along the S/F straight and across the line for another lap of Jerez 88.