Magny-Cours - France

French Grand Prix - 06 July 2003
 
Race Distance : 305.886km / 190.069m
Number of Laps : 72
Lap Distance : 4.251km / 2.641m
Lap Record : D. Coulthard 1.16.088
Qualifying : 13:00 - Jul 20/2002
Race : 14:00 - Jul 21/2002


From the starting grid, cars accelerate up to 170 mph before entering Grande Courbe, a long, left-hand bend which is driven in 4th gear at 125 mph. Drivers take great care to get the right line out of the curve into Estoril, which is a sweeping right-hand turn that goes through 180 degrees. Here, 5th gear is maintained at a speed of 110 mph. Understeer can be a real problem for drivers and time can be lost if the entry into Golf is not right. Golf itself is very nearly a straight but has a gentle curve to the right throughout its length. As such, it is taken full-out in top gear with speeds around 180 mph.
Adelaide is a 2nd-gear hairpin that brings the drivers back to earth. Braking hard at -3.2g, and at 40 mph, it turns through 180 degrees and takes the vehicle back in the direction from which it has just come with the track immediately to the right. This leads straight into a fast right-left that is cleared in 4th and which leads to Nurburgring, a chicane that wriggles the cars left and right - not as tight as Adelaide but, nevertheless, tricky because it closes up in the middle. Hard on the throttle, cars approach 150 mph and brake hard at the entrance to 180 Degrees. This is another hairpin and again brings the cars through 180 degrees and back upon themselves - taken in 2nd gear at 50 mph.
From the 180 it's up quickly through the gears to 6th and 170 mph before changing down to meet the challenge of Imola at 110 mph, a right-left that protects the Chateau d'Eau, a virtual 90-degree turn entered in 4th and exited in 2nd at 55 mph on to a straight that allows the car to accelerate to 155 mph towards the 2nd-gear Chicane. This is a very tight right-left turn where drivers have to be very careful to avoid the kerbs, especially on the second part of the corner. Immediately following the chicane is the sharp Lycée right-hander taken in 2nd gear as the cars slow to 40 mph. Positioning for exit out of Lycée is important as it affects the driver's ability to get on the throttle quickly to ensure maximum speed down the straight. The corner also provides the entry to the pit lane.

 

 

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