THE WORLD’S BEST CIRCUIT? HERE’S HOW IT DRIVES
Rainey & Turn 10
You lose another 35m of elevation in the next fourthgear left, Rainey, where the circuit sheds camber as it tightens and your car feels like it’s being pulled to the outside wall. A fast, banked right is next, in fourth, the track seeming to catch the car as you bend in the wheel.
Tight left precedes start-finish straight, with a wall right up against the apex curbing. Even prototypes crawl here, rarely doing more than 80km/h – so slow it feels like you’re walking. Patience helps here, as it does with Laguna generally.
Start & Turn 1
Turn 1 doesn’t get a name but no one who’s been through it in anger will ever forget it. Porsche 935s hit 225km/h through Laguna’s first and fastest corner, an uphill/downhill left. In our man Smith’s hands the CSL nudges 190km/h.
Turn 2, Andretti
A monstrous braking zone follows Turn 1, one that’s worth getting right, then it’s into the second-gear left hairpin, Andretti. Best negotiated with a late apex since it tightens a little toward the exit.
Turns 3, 4, 5 & 6
Two fast, flat and featureless rights, their dusty run-offs hemmed by close fence, then two climbing lefts. The last of these has a deep apex dip and an off-camber exit; one slams your lungs into your stomach, the other nudges them back toward your inner ear.
The tarmac blisters up this long climb, disappearing into sky, a panorama of hills stretching out to your right. The peak gives a brief view of the ocean, usually at the crest of fourth gear, and then you roll off the brakes and into the Corkscrew.
Turn 8, The Corkscrew
Third gear in the CSL if you get a good run, second if you’re stuck in traffic. The Corkscrew’s bordered by tall oaks so going in is like flinging the car into a whirlwind of trees: nearly 20m of elevation dumped in a heartbeat.