Clay Pigeon – Bite Size Track Guide
So Clay Pigeon is another track that I visited back in my early days where I raced at the televised Gulf Oil Superprix in 1990 racing with the likes of Dan Wheldon, Jenson Button and Ant Davidson. I was actually the youngest driver taking part in the entire event and to be honest, the track hasn’t changed at all! I do sometimes think the track could do with an extension somewhere as it’s such a short lap but, the track flows so well that maybe an extension would just spoil it a little? Anyhow, let’s crack on with a lap of Clay Pigeon Raceway!
So we’re heading down the pit straight which isn’t actually very straight and we’ll come to a flat out left kink which is where the Start/Finish line is located. Now, as you approach the left kink, you should be positioned over to the middle/right hand side of the circuit which will make the kink less tight and then as you pass through, you’ll want to be over to the left just as you exit the kink and this will be the perfect line for Turn 2 (Billy’s Blind).
Now the famous Billy’s Blind is a real tough corner and the key here is not to attack it too much as it’s all too easy to overshoot and run wide as the outside line is ultra slippery. So the aim is to brake nice and firmly on approach so that you can turn in and take some inside kerb whilst keeping a nice tight line as you exit and then eventually moving over to the left as you approach the entry Turns 3 and 4 (The Esses).
Billy’s is your first overtaking opportunity but it’s extremely difficult to hold a tight line so late lunges do not work here but again it’s easy to run wide on the exit, so overtakes on the exit are also possible.
So onto the Esses and the Esses ‘should’ be flat out but this can only be achieved if you turn in at the correct moment and therefore take the correct amount of inside kerb(s). The key is to get that first inside kerb because if you don’t, you’ll end up making the left part (the second part) tighter than what it should be and therefore you’ll have to brake or run wide over the exit kerb……which is HUGE….and you don’t want to go over that! The Esses are important because the run towards Turn 5 (Hann’s Hairpin) is a medium sized straight and slightly uphill so a poor run from the Esses will severely hamper your lap time.
Turn 5 (Hann’s Hairpin) is probably my favourite corner on the track because you can really attack the braking zone (which is downhill) and with the corner being slightly banked, you can really enter with a lot of speed. Like most hairpins, the apex is in the middle of the corner but again, like the Esses the run on the exit of the Hairpin is so important because the run to Turn 6 (the Horseshoe) is uphill so be ultra smooth on the exit and let the kart run nice and wide whilst using the nice flat outside kerb to carry all that momentum. The Hairpin is the next overtaking spot on the circuit.
So we shoot back over to the right hand side of the track as we approach The Horseshoe. Now Horseshoe is a double apex’d left hander and it’s so important to hook up both apexs and you can only do this by turning in, dabbing the brake peddle and keeping a real tight line as you pass from one apex to the other. Now if you feel that you can’t make the second apex that will be because you’re carrying too much speed through the first part so a little more brake is needed on entry and then try and keep a fairly tight line as you exit as that’s the line you want as you approach the flat out Turn 7 (Right Hand). Turn 6 is probably your final real overtaking opportunity of the lap.
Turn 7 is easy flat and all you need to do is be nice and smooth on the steering, take some inside kerb before letting the kart run nice and wide on the exit as you quickly approach the final corner of Turn 8 (Top Bend).
So the very important final corner is so nearly flat out but unfortunately if you take it flat out, you’ll run so wide on the exit that actually, it’s slower than braking in the first place! Now all you need is the briefest dabs of brake to settle the kart before turning in fairly aggressively as you graze the inside kerb before letting the kart run gently wide on the exit, keeping your inside wheels the correct side of the white line! Remember, this corner sets you up for the long run down towards Billy’s Blind so it’s so so important to not make any mistakes through here.
Then finally, as you pass the pits drift gently back over to the right hand side of the circuit as you approach the flat out left kink and the Start/Finish line to complete a lap of Clay Pigeon Raceway!
- Due to the high speed nature of the track and minimal amount of corners, EVERY corner is important around Clay Pigeon!
- Turn 2 (Billy’s Blind)
- Turn 5 (Hairpin)
- Turn 6 (Horseshoe)