Walking Laguna Seca

2y ago


- Looking up the corkscrew from far down the hill, took this photo 2 years ago when I walked the track the first time. The perspective on the corkscrew is very different in person, and all of the altitude changes are magnified.
- The long front straightaway is very imposing on foot, when you are restricted to the speed you can run or walk at, the track seems much larger in magnitude. Every corner is wider, every straight longer, every hill taller.
- The first hairpin is a beautifully laid out hairpin, with double apexes and lots of room to race. If you look into the distance though, you can see the now forgotten old layout of the track, when the track made only a minor kink left.
- The Cooper Tires Bridge is another iconic monument of Laguna Seca, just like the corkscrew. This is the site of many crashes, as it's early in the lap and sees a lot of contact especially on turn 1.
- This is one such crash mark, in a place where tire barriers are not in place because it's an uncommon place for an error, at the end of a short straightaway.
- Looking backwards down the climb up the corkscrew and you realize why the corkscrew is so steep. All of the elevation gained in the past half mile has to be lost in around a hundred meters.
- From up at the top of the track you can see everything spread out below you, revealing how far you've come to that point. Tall trees remind you that around Laguna Seca is heavily forested and beautiful.
- The heavily banked corner after the corkscrew is often underestimated, but it is a really fast corner as well, with a late apex and a very fast exit leading into another fast corner afterwards.
- The lead-up to the second to last corner is slightly banked, and the corner is very fast, allowing you to carry more speed than you think possible. Even on foot the corner just looks fun.
- The final corner is tighter than it seems. It's an acute corner that is almost a hairpin, although at entry it can be easily perceived as a simple slow 90 left.
- Laguna Seca is one of those legendary tracks in America. It's included in all of the video games, and is a popular venue for racing and track days. Walking the track on foot gives a whole new intimate understanding of the story of the circuit.

I've walked around Laguna Seca on Thanksgiving for two years now, and it never wears out its welcome

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