There are many death-defying corners, hairpins, and chicanes in the world of Motorsport, but none can inspire fear to the extent of these.
Good track design is something that, when done well, goes largely unnoticed by the general public. Crafting a difficult and hazardous turn isn’t difficult – simply give the drivers an angle and speed they can’t possibly hope to fulfill, and watch the ensuing wrecks. Excellent corner design, however, pushes every driver to extract the most out of their performance they can muster. Here’s a list of five of the toughest turns to test the mettle of professional drivers the world over.
5) Ballagarey Corner – The Isle of Man TT
It should come as no surprise that the Isle of Man makes this list. The annual motorcycle race that graces its sea-swept shores is notorious for being the most dangerous track in Motorsport, with riders dying every year due to its numerous high-speed straights and blind corners. The Ballagarey Corner is a deceptive one. At first, it looks little more than a ben through the lovely cobbled streets, but the corner’s line spits riders out at speeds of 140 MPH on two wheels – barely enough time to enjoy the scenery.
4) Laguna Seca Corkscrew
The corkscrew at Laguna Seca might not look like much, but the true test comes from the driver’s ability to time their braking and line just right in order to thread the needle that is the turn. Quickly alternating left-right through the slalom, g-forces pulling their internals in all ways, drivers must take extra care not to ride their brake discs too hard down the cliff-life hill if they want to emerge out of the other end. Now throw a line of three to four cars chasing one another for the lead and the turn takes on a whole different appearance.
3) Pratt Street Chicane – Baltimore IndyCar
The chicane added on the straight of the Pratt Street circuit in Baltimore is one of the most ridiculous and nefarious additions to any straight in the world of Motorsport. Rather than coming out of a left hander and opening up on the throttle full-out, drivers are forced to navigate a sequence of bolted-on chicane curbs in attempt to slow the cars down. The results? Cars using the curbs as launching ramps.
2) Oschersleben – Turn 1
Famous for inspiring the ire of drivers, spectators, and commentators alike, turn 1 at the Oschersleben circuit consists of a hard left turn right off of the starting straight – even featured a delightfully insidious square edge, which is followed promptly by a massively arcing right turn. On paper, that shouldn’t seem so tough for drivers to navigate. The reality, however, is much different:
1) Nordschleife – The Whole Damn Track
It’s tempting to attribute the title of “biggest pain in the ass” to any one of Nordschliefe’s blind corners or sharp turns that lie at the bottom of steep hills, but that would do a great disservice to the pain in the ass that the track is as a whole. You see, kiddos, the difficulty of the circuit doesn’t lie in one particular turn – yes, not even the high-banker toward the end – but rather in the track’s ability to lull one into a false sense of safety before throwing angles that are sharper than tempered metal. There are many formidable turns across the circuits, but no track can manage the challenge, and allure, of Nordschliefe.