We have had a catch up with Jack Layton to have him talk us through how to drive Thruxton since adding it to our 2022 track day calendar.
For those of you reading, in case you don’t already know, Jack Layton is a professional driver coach. His job caries day to day, from being the Chief Instructor at Goodwood Motor Circuit to 1-1 driver coaching for individuals, race teams and enthusiasts.
Jack has already talked us through driving some other circuits which you can read below:
How to drive Goodwood Motor Circuit
How to drive Brands Hatch Indy
How to drive Donington
Lets start with the basics, talk to us about driving on track…
For those scared to take their pride and joy out on a track, what would your key piece of advice be?
A Salone Events Track Day is a social event and non-competitive. It’s not expected for anyone to push beyond their comfort zone, so don’t feel you have to drive your car to the maximum of it’s potential. Most drivers are enthusiasts and want to look after their car having driven it to and from the circuit. If you are concerned about damage and depending on the value of the vehicle, track day insurance may be a consideration. It’s not essential but worth knowing that having an ARDS instructor with you will lower the cost. Overtaking rules are put in place to minimise the chances of car-to-car contact so any overly aggressive drivers are usually dealt with. All in all, it’s a very controlled environment to enjoy your pride and joy.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge people face on track?
One of the main challenges is managing the space around you and driving consistent laps without being distracted by other cars and following their mistakes!
In your view what needs to be done to prepare your car for a track day?
It’s always worth getting the car serviced before any day on track to minimise the chances of a mechanical issue. Fresh brake fluid and a decent amount of brake pad depth is a good idea if the car hasn’t been on track before. Also carrying a few basic tools is worthwhile to keep your car safe and mechanically sound. This could be a tyre pressure gauge, pump, torque wrench, some spare engine oil and coolant to keep levels topped up as required.
What advice would you give to someone that has never done a track day before?
The more you can prepare for the day the more you’ll get out of it. This could include getting your car serviced and checked beforehand, which will lower the risk of a breakdown, to memorising the circuit layout and ideally booking in some instruction. Always build up gradually so you are consistent. Remember everyone starts somewhere and you should not try to be too fast too soon!
For those experienced drivers out there, what would your key piece of advice be to improve?
Maximise what you can learn from your track time. Hiring a driver coach is the most effective way of doing this. They will look at what you are doing and pass on their years of experience and knowledge to improve your driving. It’s also a good idea to invest in an onboard camera so you can watch your driving back on and see what mistakes you can spot!
Tell us all about Thruxton Circuit!
Talk us through how to drive Thruxton Circuit – what should drivers focus on for each turn?
Turn 1 Allard
The first turn is a fast right-hand corner that may require some braking or a lift off the throttle. Aim to maximise track width on approach. The turn-in point is hard to pick out here as circuit signage and advertising quite often changes, but usually there is a well rubbered-in line where most cars have started to turn from. The key is to look ahead and aim to apex just after where the newer strip of tarmac is laid by the inside curb. Then allow the car to run as wide as you need to carry momentum.
Turn 2 Campbell:
A slow 90 degree right. The approach is up a slight rise making the braking zone unsighted. Aim to position the car a few metres from the left side to make it comfortable to brake straight without touching the grass. It’s important to try not to carry too much entry speed so brake hard! Apex on the back edge of the inside curb and avoid running much past the centre of the track on exit. If you have carried too much speed in or turned early, the next sequence will be compromised! Speeds will only now build as you work your way through the complex.
Turn 3 Cobb:
A slightly faster 90 degree left where again a slightly later apex will make it easier to keep building speed. In most cars you will need to lift off the throttle or brake, but the focus will be on using this weight transfer to help the car turn. Turn in from as far right as possible with the goal being to exit closer to the middle of the track as you’ll then almost immediately start to turn right for the next corner. The amount of track width used will be based on the speed you carry and how well the car can change direction in that moment.
Turn 4 Segrave:
This turn is an off-camber right with a significant bump at the apex and an exit that tightens. Exit speed is critical here as speed will only really increase right up to the end of the lap. Turn in using as much of the left side as possible to open the angle of the turn and minimise the amount of time you will be steering. We ideally want to be back to full throttle early and relax any steering input here, running the car out to the exit curb. It’s potentially worth sacrificing a little entry speed by shifting weight forward to guarantee a good turn in.
Turn 5 Noble:
A highspeed sweeping left which will lead quickly into the next turn testing the high-speed stability of the car. As you approach, hold right until the end of the curb on the right where you will begin to turn in. Gradually work your way in to a late apex no earlier than two-thirds along the inside curb. Depending on the car, you may need to reduce or just balance throttle as you exit from the apex to try and keep left for a good line into Goodwood.
Turn 6 Goodwood:
Probably the trickiest corner of the lap. This long gradual off-camber right turn is also highspeed. It will really test the front-end grip of your car and shifting some weight transfer forward will probably be needed. The track is divided in strips of new and old tarmac a bit like motorway lanes. 4 is fully left and 1 is fully right. Start in lane 3 and gradually move across to lane 2 then lane 1. The apex is on the inside curb next to marshal post and looking ahead for this is important. A useful reference point is to put your left front wheel on the join between the two newer strips of tarmac linking lane 2 and 1. Be careful of the corner exit as it tightens and starts to drop away. It’s easy to run out of track here! Anticipating your trajectory of corner exit whilst mid corner is one way to avoid risking a high-speed excursion. It’s much better to sacrifice mid corner speed to ensure a fast clean run to Church!
Turn 7 Church:
Church is the fastest corner of the lap and probably anywhere in the UK. This superfast right is preceded by a run-down hill which really helps your car build even more speed right up to the point you turn in. Continuing with the numbered lanes mentioned at the previous corner, you should be fully on the left as you approach (lane 4). Aim to turn in just before you get in line with a clear join between two strips of tarmac in lane 3. The apex can be easily spotted at the marshal post on the inside of the turn. The apex also has a slight rise so a constant throttle over it is good to keep the car balanced. As is the case with many other areas of the lap, it’s better to lose some speed before turn in to guarantee a fast exit on the power without the risk of running wide!
Brooklands leading to Woodham Hill:
A relatively straight section of the lap where you will probably hit your highest speed ever! Now is a good chance to check your car’s gauges and dials. If driving well, you will be on full throttle for most of the lap so keep an eye on your fuel level. If you are coming in, it’s good to start to ease off here to minimise your need to brake hard into the final turn.
Final turn Chicane:
A tight sequence of turns that requires some serious braking! After straightening out the preceding curve in the track, you will want the car fully on the left for a moment. Then point the car straight across the track in line with the left end of the grand stand ahead. Braking points will vary but note this is a very BIG braking zone! After allowing the car to brake in a straight line towards the middle of the track turn in from the edge of the newer tarmac in the middle of the circuit. Aim to apex on the back edge of the inside curb. An element of trail braking and rotation here will enable an earlier throttle input prior to the next two apex points and a straighter steering input onto the start finish straight. Nibble a little curb on each side as you apex left and right before using all the track width as you exit hard on the power up to the access road and prepare for the start of another lap.
Other facts about Thruxton Circuit
What is the most technical part of Thruxton Circuit?
From Noble into Goodwood. The car and driver have to work really hard through this long highspeed direction change.
What are the most common mistakes you see drivers make at Thruxton?
Not prioritising corner exit speed and failing to minimise any understeer.
How do you ensure you get the perfect approach to a corner each time?
It’s always tricky to answer this question. The only real way is to get some professional instruction which can help you understand your car on this circuit. If that’s not possible then being a passenger with a good driver who knows this circuit well will help. Track positioning as well as a correctly balanced car is hugely important at this highspeed circuit.
And finally, what are your top 5 things to be aware of when driving around Thruxton Circuit?
- Don’t run out of fuel or run it too low as you might experience a fuel surge in the high-speed corners. Fuel gauges in some cars may not read truthfully in these circumstances.
- Be careful catching slower cars through Noble, Goodwood and Church – the cars are working their hardest here and balance is critical. A last moment change can cause a high speed off!
- Make it clear and obvious to other drivers when you’re coming into the pits – the pit entry is on your right just after the chicane. Most will be exiting this corner on the power so a lack of indication here could lead to a dangerous closing speed for the car behind.
- Try not to listen or get occupied in paddock gossip about which corners might be flat out. There are a lot of variables that need to be considered and flat out isn’t always the quickest way.
- Keep an eye on your tyre pressures, specifically the front left corner which will take a lot of punishment.
IF PEOPLE WANT TO BOOK YOU FOR TUITION ON OUR TRACK DAY AT THRUXTON WHERE CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU IF THEY WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TUITION?
I’m always happy to chat on the phone (07751941785) or alternatively via social media or email:
Instagram: @jacklaytonracing, Facebook: @jacklaytonracing, Email: [email protected]
WE’VE GOT TO GET THIS IN THERE…YOU HAVE BEEN AT MANY OF THE SALONE EVENTS TRACK DAYS, WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THEM?
Salone Events Track Days are always very special. They’re not just any track day, from the high-end cars customers bring to the extra thought that goes in from the organisers. The words ‘relaxed’ and ‘bespoke’ comes to mind.
Thank you so much Jack, these tips are so helpful and I am sure our clients will take your advice on board to improve their driving skills. We look forward to seeing you at our next track day!