Quite a nice racetrack here in Portland. It is technically interesting because without a good set-up
you go nowhere, the bends are long and you really need grip to drive around them.
Short straight, into fifth gear, for turn four which is a double kink quite
difficult. We are in fourth at quite a high speed. It is crucial to make a
good line and keep the steering wheel as much as possible at the
same angle. The car slides on the four wheels (if it is well set up . . .)
Just after the turning-in the surface changes and the grip reduces
dramatically, so we have done the right hander in third gear at 140 Km/h now
we have to reduce the speed to 60 Km/h for turn two and the car does not
want to stop due to the slick track. Turn-in is crucial because we want the car
straight as early as possible to go on the throttle as soon as we can. For
turn three we have to fight a bit with wheel spin but we stay on the throttle flat.
Accelerating hard in fourth, 180 Km/h, into turn seven, a non-constant ratio
right-hander with an inside kerb that we don't won't to touch. We concentrate
more on carrying a good speed and above all in going on the throttle as early
as we can because we are just approaching the second straight, about as long
as the main one where we reach about the same speed. It looks like a bend,
but for us with the good down force that our car develops it feels like straight.
The adrenalin is now building up because we are approaching the most exiting
corner of the Portland Speedway. Turn ten and eleven, a very high speed 'S'
which is taken at 200 Km/h after the bumpiest braking spot you can think of!!! So
a hard touch on the brakes hitting the bumps on the ground, almost touching the
wall on the right hand side in order to get the best line possible. This time we
have to drive over the kerb if we don't want our engineer laughing at our lap time.
One gear down, a bit more steering and we approach turn five. By then the tires
have developed a high temperature and want to give up, but we have to hold on.
Very quick change of direction and we are ready for the last bend of the
circuit which would be pretty simple if it wasn't followed by the long
straight. But unfortunately it is; therefore we must be really sharp in the
acceleration making sure that we are fast enough on the straightaway.
In the pit straight we develop a speed close to 300 Km/h and the
braking into turn 1 is really critical, especially at the start, it gives you
a lot of confidence as there is a good run off area (the old straight) so
it is easy to overshoot it. It is pretty bumpy out there and you don't
want the car hitting the ground too hard in the heavy braking.
Mild acceleration dealing with oversteer into turn six, a long low
grip left hander, we have to make sure to keep the car on the
inside, forget about the correct theoretical line, we want grip! I
hate understeer! Gently on the throttle (which is almost
impossible if you drive a twin turbocharged engine of more than
600 bhp)!! because the bend is very long and opens up.