- Jul 30, 2007
Preface: This guide is written with front wheel drive touring cars in mind, with one major setup trait - a reasonably rear-oriented brake bias (in the 53-54 range). This is to enable left-foot braking in some of the corners such that the yaw of the car is controllable, via the rear brakes (and therefore via your left foot).
For those not initiated in the technique of left foot braking ("Eh? I use my left foot to brake all the time!"), this is a technique whereby you use the brakes to balance the car in addition to the throttle. In certain circumstances you can substitute a mid-corner throttle lift with a stab of the brakes, but it does rely on three things:
i) The fact that you can left foot brake in the first place; i.e. your pedals are set up so that they are seperate axes as opposed to a single combined axis
ii) How you have the braking aspects of the car set up - this isn't just brake bias but also the differential and the rear suspension.
iii) How precise you are at judging your speed through a corner before you get there.
Remember - it's not how late you brake that matters, but rather the speed that that you're carrying.
Also, a quick note about gearing - Mondello isn't a top-speed track, and it features uphill acceleration zones, so it's recommended to have tight ratios. This'll help with the engine braking as well.
And finally, one note about the images - the inset ones aren't taken from the racing line but rather from a 'walking the track' type of viewpoint
Mondello Park (Intermediate Layout) Guide
Holding a right-hand line across the start-finish line, jink left as you go through the kink so that you're braking in as straight a line as possible for Turn 1, a constant radius 180 degree hairpin - take a slightly wide entry and hit a late apex before heading far over to the outside to give a little kiss to the last bit of the small exit curb.
Immediately you'll be thrown into the esses; a very fast succession of undulating corners which leads into a difficult left-hander. Use the white line near where the first cone is as a first apex, and take as straight a line as possible through the first S - Aim your right front wheel such that it just nudges against the tiny curb on the inside. Don't aim to actually 'hit' that curb though, as running wide there will disadvantage you for the next corner.
Just as you straighten up to, again, 'kiss' the next small apex curb (although this time aim for the latter half of it), very lightly tap the brakes - this should act to help turn the car in slightly better so long as your brake bias is set correctly (see above); hold a tight line, but ignore most of the green and white curbstones on the far inside as they're not a true apex, just part of another corner from the full layout. You may need to have a small confidence lift if you feel you may run wide; indeed such a lift isn't too detrimental to your laptime because it'll help loosen up the back end. Run over the exit curb but get off of it quickly as it doesn't last long.
This is a very tricky corner as it's all about how finely you can judge your speed.
Approach centrally; don't be tempted to take a 'conventional' outside line on the way in, that's sure to send you into the gravel trap once you hit the brakes. As you head over the crest, you'll find that the track kinks rightwards slightly; your braking will be done in a diagonal line heading towards the outside.
Hit the brakes hard to start with but let up on them swiftly; trail them slightly as you turn-in towards the small apex curb, modulating them to control the yaw of the car as you do so - this is the reason behind the rearward brake bias! Get firmly onto the throttle as you approach the apex.
Ideally you should be able to get flat onto the throttle fairly early on and hold on to the car all the way around the outside of the longer exit phase, don't pull too tight back towards the inside to take a second apex as that'll slow you down up the straight.
A very tricky braking area here into a corner that ends up being much tighter than it looks on the way in.
After the previous corner levels out, diagonal the straight such that you're on the right hand side of the track just after the hedge on the right ends. Then, as at Turn 1, jink back to the outside over the crest so that you're already straight, optimising braking.
Brake hard, roughly where the cracks begin and take the car down to 3rd gear, grabbing 2nd just as you take a slightly late turn-in. If you're on the inside defending from another driver here, brake much earlier as you'll find that there is a point of no return that comes rather quicker than you may anticipate.
Avoid clipping the curb, and straighten up early for the next corner, another 90 degree right hander - shortshift to 3rd on the approach, throw the car towards the inside curb and balance the car on the brakes such that you drift out only slightly onto the exit curb - this is one of those places where people tend to run wide.
Two 90 degree corners next, the second tighter than the first; another place where the ideal line isn't too obvious.
Turn in late for the first one and take a very very tight exit; still hugging the apex curb nearly until it ends; while your apex speed will be low here, this sets you up perfectly to take the second corner flat as a pancake on the throttle. Hug the bollards (without touching them!!) and run out to the exit curb, and optionally two wheels on to the small slip road; this can help to give you a better line through the following corner, but be aware that you're more likely to make a mistake (the results of which will be amplified) out there.
This corner is a slow never-ending left hand hairpin which is fairly straightforward; the line here is fairly mathematical, but do avoid using the thin curb on the inside; it'll pull you into the dirt and compromise your exit.
My favourite corner of the track, this is a fast blind left hander with a huge curb on the inside and very little runoff; there is a lot of speed to be gained and lost here.
On the approach, brake lightly and throw the car not at the curb itself, but at the white line bordering it - then, get the throttle on early (but not all the way just yet) and dab the brake pedal ever so slightly to loosen up the back end - this will send the car into a slight drift which will both help hook the front left wheel over the curb and keep the exit under control - the trick here is not, though, to simply dab the brakes but rather 'sculpt' them such that you're adjusting the yaw of the car continually, right up until past the apex.
The 0:37 mark in this video is a nice demonstration of this technique: Click Here
Remember though, that your front wheel should not be going beyond the top of the curb, not only will that unsettle the car in exactly the way you don't want the car to be unsettled at that moment, but it will also be deemed to be cutting, and therefore, unsportsmanlike.
Inevitably, there is a certain knack to getting this right and it'll take a few laps to get it nailed. Diagonal the following straight such that you're just left of centre over the crest on the approach of the last corner.
Note that cars heading into the pitlane will be braking hard on the approach as the speed limit line is fairly early on - something to always bear in mind.
The last corner; very cruical to maximise your exit speed here as it leads on to the uphill start-finish straight. On the way in from a near-central position, brake firmly at first, drifting to the outside as you do so. Take a late turn-in for a late apex, get the power on both early but progressively, running on to the exit curb as you do so. Immediately start to diagonal the straight to the right hand side as you approach T0; the kink.
And that's a lap of Mondello Intermediate. IMO a fantastic touring car track . My PB at time of writing is a 1:22.141 in online practice, though a certain Mr. Trendell usurped me by clocking a 1:21.8 shortly afterwards. [EDIT - 1:21.7 for me, woot! Onboard video of that one below!] I'm sure people will be able to go much faster than that - we are by no stretch of the imagination aliens, but that's the sort of pace that we mere mortals are running anyway.