I hope that this is helpful.
VIR South for N2
1.65 miles with 9-ish turns using their map
The course map: https://virnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/VIR_South-Course_2018.jpg
Elevation map including the south course on the left: https://virnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Elevation-Map_2018-01.jpg
Planimetric map: https://virnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/VIR-planimetric-1.jpg
Turn 1 is a very late apex turn with a high approach speed going uphill, blind braking area and turn in, and a demand that your eyes are looking in the right place. On a perfect lap, I leave enough room to my left to let 1-2 bike widths through…because they sometimes need it. Of all of the turns on all of the tracks I’ve been to, none have more riders drive off straight at Turn 1 here. One might think that they’re giving away free soft compound Dunlops there. The rider is pretty much near the outer edge of the turn until long past when you think you should be apexing. The apex is actually nearly at the exit and pretty much “behind” you. The exit is very off camber, so body position and light inputs are critical. The braking zone takes you from top gear to 2nd gear. You’re definitely going to feel like throwing out the anchors once you hit YOUR braking point. Braking points vary widely here due to the variety of bikes. Making time using turn 1 (which is critical for a good lap time here) is a combination of braking later on the way to turn in, trail braking to the apex, arriving at the proper apex with exit trajectory, and being accurate with throttle input at the exit.
My exit from turn 1 ends on the far left of the track. The exit of turn 1 is VERY off camber, so body position and inputs are critical. As you pick the bike up and apply throttle you will create some distance between you and the left of the track, eventually nudging the bottom of the bike to the right to just clear the apex of turn 2 as you go through 3rd gear and into 4th. This section of the track is faster than you might think and you go from full throttle to braking quickly, while going downhill, then uphill.
The VIR map shows the next section as turns 3a and 3b. Because this is VIR South, it is another uphill braking area, blind turn in (the big arrow is correct…turn there!), with a downhill blind exit. You cannot see the apex at turn in, and cannot see the exit (toward 3b) until you’re nearly there. I get two downshifts to 2nd gear on the way up the hill. There is little/no time to be made in 3b, but you can make time in turns 4 and 5 by getting through 3a/3b correctly. Don’t rush turn 3b and sacrifice getting through turn 4 properly.
Turn 4 is long and feels off camber. In reality, it is positively cambered. This is one of many useful things that you’ll discover on a track walk, and I highly recommend that you take one (bring me with you if you like!). On my (ancient) 600 (all of the weight, none of the power!), I enter from mid track, maintain neutral throttle up to the apex of turn 4. I either ride a decent portion of the left tiger teeth, or apex turn 4 late. I see most of the big bikes come in wider (hold 3b exit trajectory longer) and exit turn 4 further to the right looking like a bucking bronco.
Everyone hates turn 5. Accept it. Embrace it. Ignore it. Whatever you need to do to get to the exit. It is late entry, late apex, off camber (getting the theme here??? Body position. Eyes. Light inputs.) and you can make important time there if you go slowly to figure it out. If you take the time to walk the course, you have to focus to walk straight at the exit of turn 5…it is that cambered. It is a superb passing (on the way in and out) opportunity because nearly everyone gets it wrong. You may do some shifting between 4 and 5 but be sure to end up in the right gear to get through and out of turn 5. For me, it is 2nd or 3rd gear depending on my passing prowess at the time. You do not want a ton of HP in your hand on the exit.
You’re accelerating like the second monkey trying to get on Noah’s Ark once you pick the bike up out of turn 5 and through turn 6. Even though the section from the exit of turn 5 to the exit of turn 8 looks crooked, it is to some degree mostly a straight. You’ll be rowing through the gears applying significant throttle, and you’ll be leaning and choosing good lines, and if you’re a big pansy like I am you’ll go to neutral throttle (or at least slow your acceleration) approaching turn 7. Turn 7 is accurate or late apex. You can see…nothing from this point on the track. You will know in a hurry if you rushed the apex because you’ll see grass instead of track in your path. Eyes to the left! Do not rush the turns at VIR South. You can’t get away with it like you can at a place like NC Bike. In your best lizard brain voice, keep saying “Must learn track!” and “Wait, wait, wait, NOW!”
Note that if you find yourself going over the apex rumble strips for turn 7, you’re likely going too slow there. Even my old 600 wheelies coming out of turn 7, a great reason to be aiming ‘not at the grass.’ Most seem to exit turn 7 in the right half of the track. This lets you carry enough speed through turn 7 and also get your bike where it needs to be for turn 8, which (because this is VIR South) not the turn 8 apex. Really.
You’ll be far left for the turn in for 8. I always leave a bike width or two for folks who get it all wrong. I grab downshifts on the way up the hill. Many folks get their downshifts between 8 and 9. Think of turns 8 and 9 as relatives. These two turns see a LOT of passing, so lines change from lap to lap. Don’t get stuck on just one. Going into 8 is much faster than you think because there is so much room/time to brake and you’re being slowed because of the significant uphill section and turning. Sometimes I make a single ark, slowing a bit for 9 with engine braking. Other times I tighten the line for 9 from the one for 8. Experiment to see how it works based on your situation and bike.
Turn 9 is critical as it sets your base/starting speed for the very long straight. Same old story here. Don’t rush it. The exit point is important. If you apex too early, miss the apex, or run wide (too much speed or poor trajectory), all that you will hear is laughing as they guys on the 300s pass you there and again at the end of the straight on the brakes. The straight between turns 9 and 1 is very long, not straight, and goes downhill then uphill to fantastic speeds, only to turn into that late apex, blind entry, pesky, off camber turn 1 to do it all over again.
Now that you’re on your second lap with me, note that turn 1 is another primary passing place (as well as a place folks run off), so plan your path and speed, and leave room for others. The closing speed of a litre bike rider is quite fast as is the cornering speed of a 300/400. Be courteous.
I love this place.
Quotes from old visits here:
- There is a lot of stopping and going, and shifting.
- Be in the wrong gear coming out of a turn, and you blew the lap.
- Look where you want to go.
- Be patient with the throttle.
- Don’t rush the turn in or apex.
- Don’t hang on the bars.
- Make use of the elevation changes.
I think that I posted this
earlier. It highlights how a skill-less knuckle dragger (me, blue bike with the yellow tail light stickers) on a heavy, low HP, old, no-tech bike can manage with the new equipment with nearly twice the HP on this track with a seriously fast/long straight.