A Lap at
Grattan in an FST
by Robert Clark
Track is 2.0 miles give or take – resurfacing was completed in 2011 and that resulted in lap times being significantly faster, Current FST Track Record is 125.214
Grattan is a really fun and challenging track: "Some competitors claim that Grattan was designed by an individual who had a clear understanding of the limits of racing cars and a pathological hatred of racing car drivers"
The lap begins on the long front straight, a great drafting opportunity, double drafts are common here.
Turn 1 is a sweeping right-hander and heads uphill in elevation. It can be deceptive, at maximum speed at the end of the straight there can be a natural tendency to brake early as the corner looks tighter and more closed than it is. Brake, and shift to 3rd prior to turn in, a late apex will give you a good run to turn 2 – I generally hold 3rd gear until the exit of turn 4.
Turn 2 is right-hander with a blind apex that drops downhill. As you crest the hill from turn 2 you will need to brake and turn in from the far left of the circuit. You’re aiming not to run to the far to the edge of the track at the exit of 2, as you need to get back to the right center-right side of the track for turn 3.
Turn 3 – a steep downhill left-hander, it is off camber and blind. I approach this one as slow in, fast out. I try and turn in from about the center of the track, any wider and the off-camber makes it hard to get to the apex. A late apex (LH wheel right on the end of the ripple strip) will help with keeping you well positioned for turn 4. Coming out of 3 it is full throttle until the braking for 5.
Turn 4 – a fast sweeping downhill right-hander. Out of 3 you want to be positioned as far left as possible to give you room to run through 4 – it’s flat, let the car run to the width of the track, shift back to 4th ready for the jump – yep the jump, this can be intimidating the first time – but keep the throttle buried, the car will lift and (if you’re carrying enough speed) leave the ground momentarily – the most important thing is don’t do anything until the car is well settled back on the track or you will be out in the weeds.
After the jump you’re into Turns 5, 6, 7 and 8 (the toilet bowl). This complex is all taken in 3rd gear. After the jump it’s a hard brake then it’s a choice when you change to 3rd - I prefer to change down before the right-hand Turn 5, but some drivers will hold 4th and change down before the left-hand Turn 6. The key with this sequence of turns is Turn 8 the toilet bowl, a good run here will give you good speed down the back section to Turn 10.
Out of Turn 8 its hard on the throttle through the sweeping Turn 9 section down to the hairpin at Turn 10 – hard brake and shift down to 3rd. This is a slower corner than it looks, in too fast and you will understeer wide (there is room) but you will compromise your run up the hill and therefore any draft onto the front straight. You might be tempted to see this as a passing opportunity – but beware an inside line will compromise your exit speed and you can then be passed before the start finish line.
Out of Turn 10 it’s a steep uphill climb as the track takes a right at Turn 11, but its hidden by the crest of the hill - you need to be turning before you sight the apex. I tend to position the car center-left on the crest and straight line Turn 11 - ideally you should be changing back up to 4th just before the crest.
The key here is to be smooth - any loss of drive will compromise speed on the front straight.
Turn 12 sweeps you left and back onto the front straight – use the width of the track to make the corner as gradual as possible – there is not a lot of time to relax in a lap at Grattan, so enjoy the long front straight!