Laguna Seca is a historic road-racing circuit in North America. The circuit, which flows through the hills above California’s Monterey Peninsula, is the scene of one of motorsport’s most unusual and legendary turns. You’re blind at The Corkscrew in a left-right more suited to a ski slope than a race circuit when approached from a long, rapid uphill run.
Laguna Seca, with its succession of blindingly fast turns followed to The Corkscrew and hairpin, wasn’t always a favorite with drivers who valued their sanity. The Sports Car Association of the Monterey Peninsula began a significant overhaul in 1989, adding a challenging infield section and lengthening the track to its current 2.238-mile, 11-turn configuration, as lap times for the fastest cars approached one minute.
Despite the absence of the scary Turns 2 and 3, the contemporary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca remains both demanding and beautiful.
The corkscrew bend at curve 8 is perhaps Laguna Seca’s most prominent feature. This chicane, situated behind a small hill, can catch unsuspecting racers completely by surprise. The Rahal straight shortly before still offers high-speed thrills, but greedy drivers will be rudely awakened if they fail to apply the brakes in time.
The hills that come with turn 8 are a frequently overlooked feature. It’s more difficult to judge the curve’s dimensions as the track tilts downhill; all of this, along with the need for a high exit speed following the curve, can be overwhelming for inexperienced drivers.