Built in 1962 by Les Griebling and several area businessmen as place to do some weekend sports car racing, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course operated as a grassroots racetrack for two decades.
In 1982, Red Roof Inn founder Jim Trueman purchased the track and invested in significant improvements, including permanent grandstands, garages with spectator balconies, a five-story media and hospitality center, underground tunnels and an updated paddock.
By 1990, the track had undergone further improvements, including another complete repaving. It was repaved again in 2006, the first year NASA held its NASA Championships there, and coincidentally, the first time NASA held a Championships event ever.
NASA has held its Championships at Mid-Ohio four times since then, and is returning again in 2019 for the sixth time. To help 2019 competitors find their way around the track at this year’s event, we’ve enlisted the help of Dion Von Moltke, a professional driver and racing coach with Racers360 to give a turn-by-turn tutorial.
We hope this story helps you make the most of your time at Mid-Ohio, and your Championships experience.
Having your eyes up here is extremely important. Trail-braking and rolling entry speed will really help with finding speed in this corner. We want a light and late brake with a turn-in point just before the bridge.
Use nice and slow hands after turn-in so that you apex only when the apex curb starts. That is also our initial throttle-application spot. We want to already be looking for the exit curb by the time we get here, and ask ourselves, “How early can I open my hands?” Use all of the track on exit to maximize your run to the Key Hole.
Turn 2 – Keyhole
We want to treat this corner as a double apex. I want enough speed so that I can trail-brake past my first apex and have the car take me about one car width off the inside of the corner in the middle of the corner. I only want the car to start carving its way back to the apex after the road starts to fall away from me.
There are no great markers here for either apex, but you can see patches in the asphalt as we are getting ready to arrive at our second apex. Ideally, I am trail-braking all the way down to that second apex and picking up my initial throttle there. If you can’t get back to full throttle before the exit curb, it is likely you were too early to initial throttle and induced understeer.
Entry speed is important here. We want a decently early and slow turn-in — right before that change of pavement color — so that we can take advantage of the little bit of camber this corner has. We want to apex about midcurb and bring enough speed so that when we pick up the throttle there, we use all the road on exit.
Use all the track out of Turn 4 but don’t be lazy into 5. Try to work the car slightly back to the right before turning into Turn 5 — about one car width. We want to apex the start of the apex curb and hold there for around 2 or 3 car lengths. We want to start opening our hands before we can actually see the track exit so that after the crest of the hill you use all the road and still give yourself enough time to get back all the way left before turning into Turn 6, but you will need to hustle there.
This is a bit of a sacrifice corner to set up for The Esses. We want to trail brake all the way down to the apex to help keep it right. I don’t want to end up any farther left than about midtrack on exit.
Turn 7 and 8 – The Esses
I want to apex about midcurb as we start heading uphill into The Esses. As we get ready for the crest of the hill, I want to be midtrack and then apex the curb on our right as we are dropping down the hill.
Late braking is not the key here. I actually want to focus on a slightly earlier and lighter brake zone so that I can balance the car with an early turn-in point and lots of entry speed up this hill. I want to apex just after the start of the apex curb and use all of this apex curb. That is where all the grip is. That is also my initial throttle application spot. Be careful on exit. Cars will get light as you crest the hill. Oftentimes the car will understeer about one car width wider than you are initially expecting as you crest the hill, or the rear can get light and cause a little oversteer.
Turn 11 (Fast Left Hander)
I am usually braking as the wall starts to bend to the right here and I want to steer to the right to follow the wall. I am turning-in just before the grass starts on the right. My apex point is the start of the apex curb and that is also where I want to pick up initial throttle. Use all the road on the exit.
Turn 12 – The Carousel
Trail-braking deep into this corner is key. I want a hard initial brake, but start to lighten up on pressure quickly. As I crest the small hill, I want to be on very light brake pressure and have enough entry speed that the car takes me to about midtrack through the middle of the corner. I want to apex the middle of the curb for my second apex and only pick up initial throttle there. Any earlier throttle application was a lack of patience or an over-slow problem through the corner.
Some cars are flat through this corner and others are not. I want to try to sacrifice enough speed out of the carousel to keep my car right to maximize the radius of this corner and be flat. If I can use more track and still be flat through Turn 13, then I will do that. If I am in a car that will not be flat no matter what, I want to be about a half car width to one car width off the right side of the road before turn-in.