Grattan Raceway is a 2.0 mile long winding, hilly road course with 12
very challenging corners. Uphill, downhill ascending and descending
radius turns, Monza bowl, esses, a hidden apex hairpin, a steeply
downhill reverse camber corner, combined with a 3,200 foot straight
makes for a very FUN course. Grattan has excellent spectator viewing.
When seated in any one of the bleacher sections you can see 70% to 90%
of the track surface.
The corner-by-corner write-up below is the distillation of my first
experience with Grattan in my S8 in April of 2002 plus track notes from
two other SCCA drivers. The track photos are obviously not from the Audi
event, but we'll update the photos and write-up after the April 2003
This is a very fast sweeping 150 deg increasing radius right-hander at
the end of the longest straight. You'll trail brake and take an early
apex to maintain speed as far as possible. The run-off for the braking
area is rather minimal, the dirt bank and tirewall are closer than
you'd like, but the run-off area does widen at the exit. I only mention
this because if you've just finished turns 10, 11, and 12 perfectly,
you'll have been at full throttle for about 0.8 mile by the time you
reach the braking zone! [Unfortunately, I've never done these three
corners perfectly -- more on that later.]
The turn is a medium speed 100 deg right-hander. The entrance is
slightly downhill and off camber; the exit is wide with plenty of
run-off area. After the exit, move to the right side of the track to
position yourself for turn 3.
Turn 3 is a radical turn; the photo doesn't do it justice! Turn 2 is the right hander coming over the hill in the back left, Turn 3 is the left hander in the middle of the picture, Turn 4 is the right hander on the right behind the small trees.
Turn 3 is a slow 125 deg left-hander; and you'll brake and turn-in
before you can see the corner. It's off-camber, and the track elevation
falls (seems more like driving off a ledge) probably 15 feet between
turn-in and through the exit, before the track rises again for turn-in at
Turn 4. You're still off camber and going downhill, almost sliding
sideways, as you got hard on the gas at the apex, and then you struggle
to get back to the left side for Turn 4. Everything's fine until the
nose of the car starts up the hill. Suddenly the front has more grip,
and the rear of the car starts coming around. You're able to control
this with the throttle, and time it so that as soon as the rear
tires make the transition to up hill, the car has rotated and is
pointing directly at the turn-in for Turn 4. The rear suddenly regains
grip and catches itself, and you drive the remaining distance to turn-in
at full throttle with the wheels straight, moving back to the far left
side of the track setting up for turn 4. This is a
really interesting corner in the wet.
A very fast 90 deg right-hander -- downhill from turn-in, with a
blind apex and a wide exit. You'll eventually be taking this entire
turn flat out.
Turn 5 is the right hander on the left side of the picture,
the car shown is at the apex of Turn 6.
Braking for Turn 5 can be more tricky sometimes. The track crests just
about at the point that you'd like to start braking, especially in the
rain, and the car gets very light after going over the rise. [Our
Formula Continental gets more than light here; it's in the air for about
20 yards.] Let the car settle after going over the crest, and then get
hard on the brakes, trail braking into the corner with an early apex.
For your first time at Grattan, and in the rain, touch the brakes just
before the crest and then finish braking after the car settles. A few
times I did get into the ABS, but this was more my fault than anything
else. The run-off for theTurn 5 braking area is a huge grassy bowl, and
if you get into it in the rain, you'll probably need Quattro just to
climb back out.
This slow 45 deg left-hander is sacrificed to allow you to maintain
speed thru turn 5 and to get a good setup for turn 7.
The cars here are exiting Turn 7.
This tricky 90 deg right-hander is very important for a quick lap at
Grattan. The track crests at the apex and is badly off camber,
especially if you're not running a tight line. If you do run wide,
you'll lose both grip and speed. Quattro is a big advantage here; RWD
cars usually lift and spin an inside rear tire at the apex.
Considering how tight it is, this is a VERY fast turn. It's uphill and
steeply banked 120 deg turn and is as much fun as it looks. Some of us
call Turn 8 the "Toilet Bowl", because you feel like you've been
flushed when driving thru it. Good speed thru this turn is important to
maintain momentum for the uphill climb to Turn 9.
A very fast full throttle 100 deg right-hand sweeper, (but maybe less than that on your first day at Grattan). The apex for Turn 9 is just out
of view behind the corner worker's stand in the photo of the Toilet
Bowl. The track gently crests at the apex, and the increasing radius
exit is very wide. This can be greatly appreciated in the rain.
Because you can be at full throttle from the apex all the way back to Turn 1, this slow 150 deg right-hander is the most important turn at Grattan. Unfortunately, turn 11 is also one of the most difficult. You'll approach this hairpin at high speed, and the turn itself is off-camber, decreasing radius, and downhill to a hidden apex. From here to Turn 12 is also all uphill, so you'll take a later apex to get as much speed as possible for the climb. Since your speed thru this corner ultimately determines your speed down the entire long front straight, it's OK to have a slow entry if it means you exit faster.
This is fast 45 deg right-hander is another blind turn The track crests
slightly and forces you to turn in before you can see the apex,
Unfortunately, I always found this to be an easy full throttle 45 deg
left-hander back onto the 0.6 mile front straight. This won't be the
case, though, when I finally do Turns 10 and 11 properly. Watching
SCCA race's, many cars move to the right in a perfect 4-wheel drift,
using every inch of the track's width in the exit.
And that's one lap at Grattan. I'm sure you'll enjoy this track as much
as I do.