The world’s best circuit? Here’s how it is to drive at
Rainey and Turn 10
You lose another 109 feet of elevation in the next fourthgear left, Rainey, where the circuit sheds camber as it tightens and your car feels as if 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 50 mph (80 km/h) ― so slow it feels like you’re walking. Patience helps here, as it does with Laguna generally.
Start and Turn One
Turn One doesn’t get a name but no one who’s been through it in anger will ever forget it. Porsche 935s hit 140 mph (225 km/h) through Laguna’s first and fastest corner, an uphill/downhill left. In Smith’s hands the CSL nudges 120 mph (193 km/h).
Turn Two, Andretti
A monstrous braking zone follows Turn One, 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 towards the exit.
Turns Three, Four, Five, and Six
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 towards your inner ear.
The tarmac blisters up this long climb, disappearing into sky, a panorama of hills stretching out to your right. The peak offers 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 Eight, The Corkscrew
Third gear in the CSL if you get a good run, second if you’re stuck in traffic. The Corkscrew is bordered by tall oaks, so going in is like flinging the car into a whirlwind of trees: 59 feet of elevation dumped in a heartbeat.