I’m not sure why, but from the very beginning of my racing career I fell in love with using apex curbs. There’s a high level of satisfaction knowing that I’m pushing the boundaries of the track limits. I enjoy using every inch of available pavement or concrete to straighten out a corner. Some corners practically dare you to do a bit of curb-hopping in an effort to shed another tenth off the clock. Maybe the main reason I love curbs so much is because they allow me to be creative. Some lines only work if you can use the curb just...right.
I want to celebrate my love for the apex curb by sharing my top five favorite corners where using the curb makes all the difference!
Apex Curb #5: The Attitudes, Utah Motorsports Campus
The Attitudes consists of three quick corners, all pressed together. Left...right...left!!! The problem is the apex curb on the RIGHT hand turn. It’s about 20 feet wide, tempting you to simply drive straight over, but doing so comes at a price. Get ready to hear all kinds of unpleasant noises as the undercarriage bottoms out and scrapes across the surface. Jumping straight over this curb can gain you a few tenths, but the risk of damaging the car would prevent me from using it the entire race. Kinda like tequila shots - I like one to spice up an evening but after five, things get sloppy!
SRO World-Challenge ended up placing a tire stack on the curb for the 2018 event to prevent drivers from simply driving straight over it. (Photo credit | SSP Photography)
Apex Curb #4: Turns 3, 4 & 5, Circuit of the Americas
This section of the track is simply a giant slab of blacktop and the only thing confining you to a series of turns is a boat load of paint that defines them. The first time I saw the circuit, I wondered what was stopping me from driving straight through the esse’s. Paint be damned! During the drivers meeting, I soon found out that COTA had installed an arsenal of surveillance cameras. Officials would also be monitoring these corners to make sure everyone played by the rules. However, they did allow us a small amount of wiggle room. You could drive across the paint as long you kept two tires on the black stuff at all times.
(Photo Credit: Red Case Photography)
Apex Curb #3: Uphill Esse’s (Turns 7-10), Virginia International Raceway
Before I had a chance to race at VIR, I walked it. This was in 2008 and at the time, simulators were so-so (at best) and quality on-board YouTube videos were pretty scarce. As I walked up the esse’s, I began to notice the grass is worn away behind each curb. These turns let you know right up front how important they are; so much so that many drivers even use the turf behind them. When you drive this section for the first time, you realize that if you just let your inside tires glide over each curb, it keeps esse’s a tad straighter and easier. Let’s be honest, it's more fun too!
(Photo Credit SSP Photography)
Apex Curb #2: The Corkscrew, Laguna Seca
It’s difficult to make a list about North American racetracks and not include Laguna Seca. It was one of the only REAL tracks on early childhood video games, like Gran Turismo. I was infatuated with getting the chance to drive it for as long as I can remember. Most corners are simply numbered and lost in the shuffle. Only a few turns are known by their name and, as far as popularity goes, The Corkscrew is at the top of the list!
(Photo Credit | SSP Photography)
Apex Curb #1: Turn 12, Streets of St. Petersburg Grand Prix Circuit
When I thought about this list I wanted to include corners with curbs that enhanced their respective corners, and also widened the grin on my face as I drove over them. The one that stood out to me most, just for sheer fun factor, was Turn 12 on the street course of St. Pete. Every time you clip this curb you feel the driver side tires leave the ground. It also makes for pretty awesome photos!
(Photo Credit | Journey Blue Media)
Now that I’ve given you some of my favorite apex curbs, tell me about yours in the comments below!