Are you taking chicanes all wrong? | Silverstone T16-17 Corner Guide - Vale Chicane

Updated: May 29, 2021

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The Vale Chicane, coming round to the final corner, this is a pivotal corner at historic Silverstone to get the most speed down the Hamilton Straight. The question is, are you making the most of it? In this corner guide, we look at the best way to tackle the chicane, as well as some common mistakes to avoid.

As always, you can find the video's full script below in case you would like to read about certain details.

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Are you taking T16-17 at Silverstone all wrong? | Vale Chicane corner guide (full script)

Hello and welcome back to Silverstone. In this corner guide, we're going to be tackling Turns 16 to 17, the Vale Chicane. In this corner guide, we're going to be looking at how to master the corner, taking just the right amount of kerb to really nail this tight complex and keep the speed up.

We're going to take a look at your braking and power transitions as well as shifting the weight from one side to the other, checking out some common mistakes people make here and as always we'll wrap up with the key points to get the fastest run through here and into the final corner.

So let's look at what this looks like from onboard the car. So we're coming out of Stowe, we want to get all the way to the right ready for the corner, getting hard on the brakes and trailbreaking in. We're missing the sausage kerb on the inside, shifting the weight of the car between the corners and using all the kerb on the inside to Turn 17 to get the best run into Turn 18.

Now this is a tight and technical chicane so let's take a look at it in slow motion. So as you can see we're coming out of Stowe and getting all the way to the right ready to break into Turn 16. We're getting hard on the brakes first of all and then trailbreaking into the corner making a late turn-in and if we stop it here we see that we're taking all the inside kerb that we possibly can without touching the sausage kerb as that will unstable the car too much.

Now as we set off again we can see that we're shifting the weight over to the left as we turn and stop him once again we're taking all the kerb on the inside of Turn 17, even using some of the green kerb on the inside. Now you have to be very careful here not to touch your wheels into the little grassy knoll that's on the other side of the kerb as that will unsettle the car too. As we leave the corner getting on the power as soon as possible to carry speed round Turn 18 and onto the Hamilton Straight.

Now let's take a look at some of the common mistakes that we see around this chicane. The first common mistake we see is people just overshooting Turn 16, which then as you run wide compromises the entire complex as a result. The best way to avoid this is just to be patient, reduce your speed enough so you know you're able to take the corner correctly, use that late turning and trailbreak through the corner to help set you up for Turn 17.

The second common mistake we see is simply hitting the sausage kerb on the inside. Now as we know some sausage kerbs can be taken, particularly in GT and road cars but this is definitely not one of them. it's just far too big and it'll unsettle the car way too much to be advantageous to you as you take the corners.

And lastly, the final mistake we often see here is just focusing on Turn 16 too long and then suddenly when you look up Turn 17's staring you right in the face. When driving this chicane you need to think about where you're looking so as you reach the apex of Turn 16 you have to shift your eyes up to focus on Turn 17 or else you'll just miss the apex and lose time coming into the final corner which some might say is the most important.

Let's conclude with the key points to master the Vale Chicane. Firstly, remember that it's a very technical chicane so don't overdo it. If you just gun it in you likely won't make it out the other side so take time to think about your breaking and your line throughout the corner before anything else.

Secondly, it's all about the kerbs. You've got to find the balance here as using a lot of kerb here can gain your valuable time but taking too much is just going to unsettle the car and lose you more time than anything else.

And finally, remember that there's three main aspects to focus on at this corner and they are - breaking hard and trailbreaking into the first apex, a quick but gentle transition in the middle to shift the weight over for Turn 17 and lastly, getting back on the power as soon as possible so that you can take Turn 18 flat out and carry as much speed as possible down the straight.

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