Debate: Which racetrack has the best first corner?

Plenty of options, but can the DT motorsport community decide one clear winner?

18w ago

We all talk about the thrills and spills of Eau Rouge, the Corkscrew, Loews Hairpin, Maggots/Becketts, the list goes on. But rarely is the spotlight shone on the first corner of racetracks around the world.

Maybe this is due to the association of T1 and race-ending incidents, the PTSD caused by public online racing lobbies, or the chances that once the pole-sitter has made it through the first corner unscathed we might not see them challenged again.

Or, just maybe, it's because the first corners around the world are not actually that great.

So let clarify something before the debate can truly commence:

It must be a 'notable corner'

This rules out labelled T1s like Sochi's right handed ease towards the real first corner, and in a similar vain the rise over the crest at Laguna Seca.

Similarly the listed first turns at Imola and Le Mans, despite requiring notable steering input, feed into Tamburello and Dunlop Chicane respectively. You can get through these turns with relative ease lap after lap.

Silverstone's Abbey – which is T1 for the International/Grand Prix layout – I would argue bucks this trend as in non-F1 cars this is definitely a corner that requires notable braking and steering inputs.

As you can tell, subjectivism is already creeping into the debate.


Hopefully, with very little use of expletives, we can decide which is the best T1 in the world, and finally give the first turns the credit they deserve.


Side note, if you are a big motorsport fan, consider checking out my Instagram page @theracingblog_ . I'm closing in on 10k followers and there's quite a community of sportscar fans on the page.

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Comments (78)

  • Turn 1 at Interlagos springs to mind.

    Turn 1 at Mount Panorama is in with a shout too given how critical it is for the rest of the lap.

    And the Daytona Road course and Suzuka also stick out. Both really challenging to get a car stopped properly and a real test of bravery if an overtake is on your mind.

      4 months ago
    • I second that - Interlagos rules, as turn one is downhill and tricky. Some great moves have been done there in the F1, counting the defensive moves as well.

        4 months ago
    • T1 at Interlagos for suuuuure. So many iconic moments there as well as having all the ingredients of what makes an exciting corner. Fast approach, good overtaking opportunity, some nice healthy kerbs to clobber as well as ample elevation...

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        4 months ago
  • Not the ones that have a chicane, that's for sure (sorry, Monza, but if you follow through with the revisions that remove the chicane you'll be right at the top of the list).

    So what's my pick?

    Turn 1, Indianapolis Oval.

    There was a very good Jalopnik community-answered listicle they did on the "toughest turns in racing" and the answer the winning commenter gave has stuck with me to this day. It seems like an easy bend. It's not. It just is not, especially at the speeds that modern Indycar is playing at.

    Equally viable picks: Road Atlanta, Sebring, and Le Mans.

      4 months ago
    • It’s a great shout. Quite a unique challenge to T1 at Indy.

      Your other picks were certainly in my top bunch, I think RAtl. only falls down the list slightly as it’s not the best for overtaking. Whereas Turn One at Sebring and the Dunlop...

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        4 months ago
  • Might be home bias but paddock hill at Brands is a great corner especially in low tech and grip club racers. Knockhill has a similar but shorter style first turn as well which is great. And a little mention for both COTA and Zandvoort.

      4 months ago
  • Watkins Glen has that downhill right hander that is really tricky. You're braking downhill coming off a long straight. Really easy to get that wrong, but there's so much runoff.

    COTA, Interlagos, and Suzuka are all really strong comments.

      4 months ago
  • I’m also going to say t1 at COTA. The elevation rise is INSANE in person.

    And if we can count the first two consecutive turns as a sequence, then the Senna S at interlagos is also rather good from turn 1 and turn 2

      4 months ago
    • Both awesome T1s.

        4 months ago
    • Very good suggestions. As much as T1 at COTA is cool for the elevation change it does feel a bit gimmicky, might just be me though!

      And love the SΓ£o Paulo suggestion. As an S-Bend it’s brilliant but even if you split it up into the very first...

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        4 months ago