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Turn 7, Lightning Circuit

Turn 7 at the newly opened New Jersey Motorsports Park Lightning course is as pivotal as it is exciting. It is entered flat in top gear from under the paddock access overpass, and to get it wrong is an absolute defeat to even the best of laps. One of the fastest entry corners on the track, its exit leads uphill to a wide, heavily cambered carousel leading onto the long, front straight, and a good momentum exit will yield exceptional trap speeds at the stripe. To say it’s an important component of this venue is an understatement.

As a driver leaves the back portion of the track, it seems like an eternity of upshifts and waiting until the bridge emerges and you have the braking markers in sight; this is a classic fast entry corner accomplished in third gear in our series Formula cars. Adding some intense threshold braking makes this setup incredibly footwork vital. This is a true “point the car with your feet” corner and, once the driver has braked as late as possible and selected the appropriate gear, the rate of brake release determines the angle at which the car points down to a late apex. Two of the most common mistakes are braking lightly and early and not retarding enough speed, taking the car wide of the apex and tracking out into the dirt gulch just off the pavement’s exit. It takes talent and a lot of repetition to scrub off just the right amount of speed and to pick the throttle back up in the proper amount to allow the car to slide all the way out to the track’s edge without dipping your curbside tires. You’ll know exactly how crucial that exit speed is as you climb the berm on your way to the carousel. There is big speed available into, through, and exiting the carousel, and it is that speed that becomes exponential, climbing to yet another crest on your way down the straight and to the timing and scoring stripe. So, it’s not hard to imagine that a proper entry and a hot exit at Turn 7 has its effects felt all the way to Turn 1.

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