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Willow Springs Turn 5

When we think of Southern California’s Willow Springs Raceway, what often first comes to mind is a fast corner such as Turn Nine, thanks to its speed and “hang on” factor. But more important for a good lap time at Willow is Turn Five, a classic exit-speed corner. Five, with its downhill approach and long following straightaway, is definitely a corner to get correct when racing here.

Coming at the bottom of the major elevation changes in Turns Three and Four, it’s very tempting to approach Turn Five and think mostly of entry speed. There’s very little time for braking even in the best of circumstances and many drivers end up with that “Wow, I really nailed that late braking point!” feeling before suddenly realizing that they are getting passed down the straight on the way to Turns Eight and Nine. It is also common to end up spinning at the exit of this corner due to excessive entry speed and improper line. The feeling you actually want, as you leave Five, is, “Wow, I’m flying down the straight,” whether that means leaving your competition behind—or setting them up for a pass.

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