Issue: May Vol: 2014
archived issues


[p.1] Fast Lap: Pueblo Motorsports Park

[p.2] Perfect Weather, Hot Racing Open High Plains Majors Weekend

[p.3] Mid-States Majors Weekend Wraps at High Plains

[p.4] First Race

[p.5] Five tips for new drivers

[p.6] Transmissions - from Driven to Drive?

[p.7] SnakeBytes

[p.8] An Inside Look at the Insanely Complex Formula 1 Steering Wheel

[p.9] Classifieds

[p.10] Advertisers Quick Reference

Fast Lap: Pueblo Motorsports Park


In 27 years of RMDiv racing, I've set lap records in SSB, GT5 and T3 at Pueblo Motorsports Park (PMP). The 2.2-mile road course remains one of the best and most challenging layouts in the division. Featuring two straights long enough for drafting and passing, significant elevation changes and both fast and slow corners, it's always satisfying when a hot lap comes together! PMP is a classic racetrack that responds to smooth inputs from a driver who is tapped into the ebb and flow of the circuit. And while horsepower/torque remain key elements in a good lap, a good driver with an effective setup are, in my opinion, bigger factors in overall speed at PMP.

Running wide-open down the front straight at PMP gives ample time to check gauges and mirrors as you line up to the left side of the track for the proper entry to T1. Use the brake markers at the entry to aid in consistency and brake and downshift in a straight line for maximum effectiveness. Be aware there are two lines through T1, and both have rapid entries. Some prefer a double apex, with an early clipping point leading to the center of the turn and then a late apex on the backside of this banked turn. You can also approach T1 as a classic single late apex turn. Use a wide (and high) entry, carrying speed through the first third of the turn, balancing the car on the banking and then aiming for a late apex at the entry. In both cases, the exit requires a late apex as T1 is extremely fast and you do not want to lift or run out of track at the exit.

Done correctly, you should exit T1 to driver's left with a few feet of space and begin steering right to set up for T2. This is an extremely fast left handed turn, and needs a light touch on the brake to set up properly. Turn in and use the T2 camber to aim for another late apex. Done properly, the car will drift right and you'll be able to use full throttle for just a moment before setting up for T3. Remain on the right side of the road and brake hard as you downshift and rev match for this turn. T3 has a slight uphill entry, but the exit is heading downhill, so get most of your turning done early, as you'll be well and truly on the gas at the exit. The short chute between T3 and T4 is substantial enough to take at least one upshift and you'll need to move from right-to-left to setup for T4. This almost 180-degree turn is somewhat deceptive as the uphill entry encourages late braking. But carry too much speed into the turn and you'll be catching a sliding car at about the same moment your opposition is reaching for the throttle. T4 is another late apex turn and you should exit to driver's left and rocket down the hill towards the somewhat complex middle section of the track.

After upshifting at least once, T5 is at the bottom of that hill and requires you to set up on the far left side of the road for the correct line. Most cars will at least require a light brake or confidence lift before turning in, but aim for, yet again, a late apex as the turn goes uphill. The hill is faster than it looks, as traction from the elevation change helps your four-wheel drift to the exit on the left side. The exit also widens slightly at the top of the hill, so use that extra curbing. As you crest the hill off T5, look to find a single line that you can hold through T6A and 6B. The car will be at the limit through these turns and holding the steering wheel at one angle while using steady throttle input will aid your smoothness though this section. Done correctly, you'll find yourself centering your steering and sliding to the right side of the track for a proper entry to the slowest turn at PMP. T7 is a classic “slow-in, fast-out” turn and requires hard braking and a big blip to properly downshift down to second gear in my Nissan. T7 has enough crown that a good middle-to-late apex will have you reaching for another gear as you hit the exit of the turn.

Ouickly move from right-to-left down the short chute to T8 and again use a light brake or confidence lift at the entrance to this turn. Aim for yet another late apex, but try to stay off the curbing at the apex. It's essential that you not drop a wheel at the exit of T8 as it'll affect your speed all the way down the back straight. The back straight has a slight bend to it that is of little consequence; just hold the steering wheel as straight as possible and the car will accelerate through the gears as efficiently as possible.

Coming into the final two turns at PMP, your hot lap will depend on how good you are at threshold braking and decision-making. Approaching T9, keep the car on the left hand side of the road and note the brake markers on the outside of the turn. A pass is possible here (although T1 remains the prime opportunity), so a quick check of the mirrors before you get to the braking area is in order. Straight line braking is best used in T9, although trailing the brakes in certain cars may help with rotation. A downshift is also required, and aiming for a late apex will again see you at full throttle well before the exit. Believe it or not, you'll be headed slightly uphill through the short chute and you can stay on the left side of the track approaching the all-important T10. They say the most important turn on the track is the one leading onto the longest straight, and guess what? T10 fits that description perfectly. Brake in a straight line once again and aim for one last, late apex coming onto the straight. Be aware the exit of T10 will take you across the dragstrip patches used to launch drag cars down this straight. If the track is even slightly wet, these patches can get slippery and you'll want to get the car straight before romping on the power for yet another lap of this always entertaining road race circuit.