Mastering Turns 3 - 5 At Sebring Internatioanl Raceway

Sebring International Raceway is full of highly technical corners and sections, but arguably no section is more difficult to truly master than turns 3 through 5.   We all know that the most important part of this section is getting a strong exit out of turn 5.  To be able to get a strong exit in turn 5 we need to perfect our driving in turn 3 first.

In our video above we are onboard with Steven and we see the car in front is quicker than him through this section.   In this article and in the video we breakdown exactly what the car in front is doing to be quicker than Steven.

Early Apexes Prevent Earlier Full Throttle

There are a few errors that we have to work on correcting to help Steven find time and we will list them in order of importance here.

###1 – Apex Point In Turn 5

incorrect apex spot at turn 5 at Sebring International Raceway

In the photo above we can clearly see the different apex points for each car. On top of that, we can also see a very different angle for each car. The car in front is apexing about 3 car lengths later than Steven.

The driver in front gets more of their turning done earlier in the corner. This fact combined with the later apex allows the driver in front to start unwinding their steering wheel earlier on corner exit, which allows them to get back to full throttle earlier at corner exit.

Getting a good exit is not always about getting to throttle first there are many factors such as minimum corner speed, steering wheel input, and when you get back to full throttle. We have a great article on how delaying initial throttle can actually help you corner exit here.

Steven’s early apex is having a big impact on getting on a good exit out of turn 5 and he is losing time all the way down the straight to turn 7, that is why it is the first thing we want to see him fix.

###2 – Apex Point In Turn 3

incorrect apex spot at turn 3 at Sebring International Raceway

Here we can clearly see Steven is again apexing too early.  Again we see the difference in car angles between the two cars. The car in front is angled slightly more to the left so again they can start unwinding the steering wheel earlier. Steven from this point on will need to actually add steering wheel input into the car.

He will be running out of track at corner exit because of this early apex, this will make him over slow the corner and will negatively impact how aggressive he can get to throttle at corner exit.

The reason too much steering input does not allow Steven to be aggressive to throttle is because of the famous “string theory” for racecar drivers. Here is a great article going in-depth on this topic.

We want Steven to delay his apex until the very end of the apex curb, which is the perfect marker for almost any car in this corner.

Slower Turn Ins

Here we will look closely at the turn in points for turns 3 and 5. Is Steven apexing too early because he is turning in too early?  Let's take a look!

Turn 5

braking zone into turn 5 at Sebring International Raceway early turn into turn 5 at Sebring International Raceway

It is a little hard to tell but in the first image, we can see the car in front just starting their turn in just past where the apex curb starts. We can see a darker rubbered in line to the inside of the car.

In the second image we can where Steven is beginning his turn in point. The spot is nearly identical. Steven is also just as far to the right as the car in front. So, why is Steven apexing too early if he is turning in at the same spot?

Steven’s rate of turn in is too fast. We want to see him slow down his hands during his turn in process. This will slow down the weight transfer, allow him to roll more entry speed and delay his apex spot.

Want to learn more about this technique? We have a great in-depth article specifically in regards to turn in points and the speed of turn ins here.

Turn 3

braking zone into turn 3 at Sebring International Raceway early turn into turn 3 at Sebring International Raceway

In the first image, we can see the car in front is turning in just as their entire car gets passed the last cone on the right. It is hard to tell in the second image but Steven only gets about half his car passed the cone before he starts his turn in.

Steven is turning in slightly early into turn 3 but that small of a difference at the turn in point should not equal that big of a difference at the apex.  So, what else could be happening?

You guessed it, here he is also turning in too quickly, just like in turn 5. So, we need him to delay his turn in point by half a car length and slow down his hands after the turn in so that he can execute on that much later apex.

Maintenance Throttle