Choose Between Two Options
- $349 for race-car school and a safety session for one ($1,000 value)
- $698 for race-car school and a safety session for two ($2,000 value)
- Both options include two hours of private one-on-one track time with the instructor.
Hairpin Turns: Finding the Line
This track includes the sharp, 180-degree turns known as hairpins. Read on for Groupon’s illustration of how to handle these wild pivots.
On everyday roads, hairpin turns encourage safety, as when they wind along a steep mountain so drivers can navigate the slope gradually. On a racetrack, however, hairpins ensure danger and excitement, posing a difficult challenge to even the most skilled drivers. Like any other turn, drivers conquer a hairpin by determining a route, called the racing line, that lets them travel as straight and fast as possible without reaching the limits of the tires’ grip. The line is determined by three key factors: the braking point, the turn-in, and the apex.
1. Braking point: the spot before the turn at which the driver slows down in order to maintain maximum traction and speed while steering. The exact point depends on variables such as the turn’s sharpness, the driver’s skill, and the car’s level of courage.
2. Turn-in: the point at which the driver begins the turn; always located on the outer edge of the track.
3. Apex: the point during the turn at which the vehicle is closest to the inside of the track. A hairpin apex comes later than usual—about three-quarters of the way around the bend. To accomplish this, the car should be in the center of the track halfway through the turn.
4. Epilogue. After clearing the apex, the driver’s free to accelerate again, straighten out, and prepare for the next turn.
- The term “hairpin” comes from the resemblance to a bobby pin, but the turn is sometimes called a “switchback” in the US as a reference to old switchback railways that were used to help trains navigate inclines.
- The most famous hairpin is probably the Fairmont Hotel Hairpin at Monaco’s famous Formula One track. Some teams have had to redesign their entire steering systems just to navigate the single bend, which forces drivers to slow down to an ungodly 30 miles per hour.