Track Guide: Silverstone
Firstly, Silverstone is a very challenging circuit with a very high average speed. The tyre collision fix in Assetto Corsa 1.2 has gone a long way to making Silverstone more driveable now that you can utilise the curbs more easily without fear of being spun. The key to a fast lap at Silverstone is high aerodynamic efficiency that maximises the highspeed corners as well as giving good straight line speed. For this reason, the most appropriate version of the Formula Renault 3.5 is the standard downforce package.
This track guide is aimed at a qualifying lap with low fuel. Setup can be found at the bottom of this post.
In preparation for the lap, it's best to position the car to the far left of the track at the final chicane (1), this allows you to straighten the car out more quickly, thus being able to get on the power earlier (2), which will help give you the best possible start to the lap.
Turns 1 & 2: Abbey and Farm Curve
The first two corners should be taken completely flatout in sixth gear. For turn one, you should position the car to the far left side of the track, you can even take some curbing on the entry (1) as the wider the entry point, the more apex speed you'll be able to carry. The turn-in point is rather vague as there is no real reference points, you just have to sort of judge when to turn in based on when you feel is the right moment. It can be very tricky to get it right.
Clip the inside apex, but don't take too much curb (2) as this will destabilise the car, slowing you down. Keep the steering input as smooth as possible, and try to take the line of least resistance (3), which in this car means running out wide (but not all the way) to the right on the exit of Turn 2 (4). It's generally quite bumpy through turn 1, so try to be as smooth as possible.
Turns 3, 4 & 5: Village, the Loop and Aintree
Once you've exited turn 2, you'll be fast approaching the braking zone for Turn 3, a tight right handed (almost) hairpin. Aim the car slightly to the right of the grandstand roof in the distance, and brake when you get in line with the red and white curbing on the left (1). You want to trail the braking all the way into the apex whilst carrying as much minimum speed as possible through it. Downshift to 2nd gear and keep a small amount of throttle on the entire time after you've let off the brake pedal.
Don't carry too much speed as you need to then flick the car to the right of the track in order to take turns 4 and then 5 correctly (2, 3). Take a tight line through Turn 4 (not too tight or you'll hit the sausage curb) in order to open up the exit for turn 5. Try to keep the minimum speed up to help traction on corner exit.
You may need to short shift up to 3rd gear on the exit of T4 to help dull the power and reduce wheel spin. Turn 5 should be taken flatout in 4th gear, then clip the apex (again as with Turn 1, don't take too much curb), and then let the car run out wide to the right while taking as smooth a line as possible (4). The smoother the line, the less speed you'll scrub off by applying steering lock.
Turns 6 & 7: Brooklands and Luffield
Approaching turn 6, keep the car on the right of the track, and brake as soon as you reach the final marker board on the right (1). Downshift to 3rd gear and turn in reasonably late as you want to take a late apex to set you up for the 180 degree Luffield (2).
Now Luffield is a 2nd gear corner that you can take with many different lines. You can flick the car left and then take a traditional U shape turn all the way round as one continuous apex, or you can turn it into a double apex corner by keeping the car straight on entry (3), running wide and then straightening up early on the exit (4). Personally I prefer the latter. I'm still not totally sure which one is faster overall as they both have their pro's and con's. The former allows you to carry greater mid-corner speed, while the latter gives you a better run towards Woodcote and Copse.
Turn 9: Copse
A tough corner at the best of times, Copse sorts the men out from the boys. Approaching in 6th gear, give a very slight dab of the brake pedal just after you pass over the change in tarmac colour (1). Similarly with turn 1, the turn-in point is somewhat blind, as you can't really see the corner until you've arrived at the apex, so you've got to sort of instinctively judge when to turn in. Downshift to 5th gear just before you decide to turn in, and lift off the throttle for a brief moment before gradually easing back on once you've passed the apex of the corner (2). Do not clip the inside curbing at Copse as it does tend to destabilize the car somewhat, try to run as close as possible to it, without actually touching it (2).
Then, as always, straighten the car up smoothly to reduce the resistance and let the car run towards the exit curb (3).
Turns 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14: The Maggotts-Becketts complex
In my opinion this is the greatest series of corners in the world. Incredible load is put through the tyres and the change of direction is simply immense.
Firstly, turns 10 and 11 should be taken completely flatout. You may not think the car has enough grip, but believe me, it does, you just have to commit fully to the corner and get your line spot-on. Approaching the first part of Maggotts, keep the car to the right side of the track, before aiming at the curbing on the left. Ride the curb a bit (1) and try to keep the car pointed at the grandstand in front of you, this allows you to open up the next part more easily and helps to carry greater speed. Clip the apex of Turn 11 (2) (again not too much curb), and keep the throttle hard down until you see the concrete section on your right turn to grass (3). Then apply about 70-80% brake pressure, try to keep the car somewhere in the middle of the track, and downshift two gears to fourth.
Spot the apex of Turn 12 and try to hug the inside line for as long as possible until you reach the turning point for Turn 13 (4). You don't necessarily need to touch the curb at the apex of 12 as it can sometimes be a bit slippery, but, staying to the left during 12 helps to open up 13 and 14 more efficiently and will effectively catapult you down the Hangar straight.
Into turn 13 and you want to downshift to 3rd on entry to shift the weight of the car onto the front wheels a bit more to help turn in, and hopefully reduce some of the mid-corner understeer. Use all of the track that you can possibly use by carrying as much speed as possible. It's very bumpy on the exit, so short shifting into 4th can help you get the power down earlier and get a more stable run onto the following straight (5). Then let the car drift wide on the exit of 14 and use all the track available, to give you smoothest possible run to Stowe (6).
Turn 15: Stowe
The entry to Stowe corner is very bumpy, but the braking zone is after the bumps, so that makes things a little easier. You want to keep the car to the far left and brake as soon as your car is inline with the white and red curb on the left (1). Down shift to 4th gear and turn in late to take a late apex so that you can open up the exit and reduce the chances of running wide on to the slippery astro turf (2). You can trail the brakes a bit in order to reduce some of the understeer, but generally it shouldn't be too necessary with the lift-off oversteer differential settings.
Before you reach the apex, keep the throttle at about 5-10%, and then smoothly apply more throttle after you've gone past the apex. Then let the car naturally run out to the left, but don't run too wide as you'll lose time on the very slippery astro-turf.
Turns 16, 17 & 18: Vale and Club corner
Approaching the Vale chicane, leave the car in fifth and let it rev out, don't shift up to sixth as you'll gain very little, and then you'll have to shift down one extra gear under braking, which is generally slower. Keep the car to the right and brake at the halfway point between the final braking marker and the red and white curbing on the right of the track (1). You want to trail brake all the way to the apex in order to keep the car from running wide. Down shift to 2nd gear, and make sure you hit the apex, as this is probably the most important corner to do so (2).
Try to keep the minimum speed high, but also safely position the car in order to maximise the second part of the chicane (3). It can be a bit of a difficult balancing act to get right, between carrying a good amount of speed, and sacrificing the first part of the chicane in order to maximise the second part. Hit the apex of the right hander, and very carefully get on the power as you exit the corner (4). Controlling the wheelspin is vital here as it's very easy to make a silly mistake. Short shift into the third and even fourth, and then once you're in fourth gear, you should be able to nail the throttle and finish the lap strongly (5).
Setup: Standard Downforce version
Since the default setup for the Formula Renault 3.5 is already very nice, I've only made a few minor tweaks to the front and rear wing, ride height and front anti-roll bar. This particular setup comes with 75L of race fuel as it's technically a race setup, but just take the fuel out for qualifying.
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