Daytona International Speedway - The Racing Line
Turn 1 - Turn 1 is going to be one of the most difficult corners on this race track. As we enter the tri-oval we want to position our car down low on the baking. As the race car passes over the start-finish line we will let the car drift up the banking towards the outside wall. The car will reach its maximum speed around the track into this braking zone, so threshold braking technique will be critical.
A good brake marker will totally depend on the type of car/tires you are using, but a good place to look to find a marker is inside on the grass. Anywhere from the end of the grass to the 3 board on the grass can be a good spot for initial braking. We will want our hands to be straight as the pavement of the banking meets the infield pavement. After this point, and before the turn in point, we want to allow the car to be about mid road. The road goes off camber further to the right than that, so keep it mid road or closer inside.
We need to be very disciplined to hit the apex here, which is the start of the tire stacks. This is also where we want initial throttle application to start. With the high top speeds here at Daytona International Speedway coming into this corner, it is very easy to brake too deep and not execute on hitting our apex.
Turn 3 - After the chicane, we will need to hustle the car back to the left quickly. A decent brake marker here will be when the pit out lane switches from a solid white line to the dashed lines. We want our race car crossing over that line going towards the left at this point as well. Our objective is to have the car at least 3/4ths of the way over to the left before turn in. There is no good turn in marker for this corner, but our objective here is getting our right front tire all over the yellow apex curb about midway through the corner and holding the apex for about 3 car lengths or so.
The critical thing on exit is having one nice smooth throttle application and using absolutely all the road on exit to allow us to not need to lift.
Turn 4 - The high entry speed makes the racing line on entry critical. Our objective here is to apex the start of the yellow apex curb. There is a wide range of downforce levels on cars so for some this will be flat out, for others it will be a small brake. If you are braking make sure we do it before the turn in point. On exit, use all the road and don’t worry about getting back to the left before Turn 5.
Turn 5 - We want to brake down the inside of turn 5, it will feel like we are braking past the turn in point. As the road starts to go to the right we will continue our straight line braking until we are ready to trail off of threshold brakes. Similar to turn 3, our goal here is to get our right front tire all over the yellow apex curb, almost down to the grass as possible. It is also an apex we want to hold. Having our eyes up on exit is critical. Just like turn 3 we want one smooth throttle application on exit, using all of the road on exit to allow us as good of an exit as possible.
Turn 6 - Getting a good exit out of turn 6 here at the world center of racing is absolutely critical. It leads onto a massive straightaway, so lots of time to be gained or lost here. A very typical brake marker is the start of the access road on our right-hand side. We want to get our left front tire down to the yellow apex curb right around the middle of it. The exit can be very bumpy so as we squeeze on the throttle right at the apex point. We also tend to want to keep the car pretty close in on exit initially as the bumps are worse wide soon after the apex. We want to let the car be free and drift wide as the road transitions from the infield pavement up onto the banking. Keeping the car low throughout the bankings is best.
Bus Stop - Brake markers will have a wide range here depending on your car. Anywhere from the 1 board to the 3 board may work. What is critical here is the having the right racing line over the curbs. We need to use ALL of the first yellow curb, we want to have our right tire down close to the grass from the start of the first yellow curb to the end of it. We then want to clip a small amount of the second curb, about half a tire on it or so.
It is critical to not apply throttle here until we start turning into the third curb. The more we can roll entry speed and delay initial throttle typically will be better. We again want to clip the third curb with our right tire, but the objective here is to get the car straight as soon as possible and get back to full throttle as soon as possible. To be able to do this we need to use ALL of the final curb.
**Just a small warning on the final curb, we often see the grass on the inside of it get dug up. This is especially true during the Rolex 24 at Daytona. So, while we want you using absolutely all of the curb, make sure you don’t get your left front on the inside of it on the grass as this may cause the bottom of your car to bottom out on the track.**
Once again as you exit, use all of the track to your right. As the banking starts we want to have the car drop down to the inside and run low on the banking. Out of the banking let the car drift back up and then again drop low in the tri-oval as you run towards the start-finish line.
Knowing how to master trail braking is critical to fast lap around Daytona International Speedway! We have a great article breaking down the steps to master this skill here: