Castle Combe

Castle Combe is located off Junction 17 or 18 of the M4 and is signposted from both Junctions. The circuit has in the past hosted rounds of the British GT and Formula Three Championship but sadly in recent times noise restrictions have limited the racing schedule. Viewing at the circuit is fantastic, with access to virtually the whole outside of the circuit. The onsite facilities are basic but the food is very good and is traditional. There are no garages on site but the paddock does have a large amount of hard standing.

The circuit is ultra fast with only the introduction of two new chicanes in 1999 helping to reduce the overall lap speed. The first section through Folly and Avon rise is very bumpy and picking a braking point can be tricky. It is important to make sure you use Avon rise to set up your approach to Quarry, which has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous corners in Britain. As you round Avon rise you will see a set of traffic lights on the fence line straight ahead. Initially head towards them as this will give you a good point to aim at before a late turn into Quarry. The approach to the Esses is quick and you can attack the kerbs here but be careful of the tyres on the inside apex. It is worth pointing out that if you over shoot the chicane you can return to the circuit via the access road and not a U-turn on the circuit.

The right hander that follows the Esses is very quick and should be approached from about two thirds width of the track on the entry. This leads onto the fast straight that runs down to Tower, which can be very intimidating because of the large solid wall straight ahead and will encourage you to brake early. Be careful not to take too early an apex as it is important to use the full width of the track, but be warned there is little run off here. Bobbies Chicane is a much slower approach than the first chicane but you can get back on the power early and stay on the power all the way through Westway and up to the braking point for Camp. A good place to judge your braking point is the pitlane entry road. Camp is a very fast final corner of the lap. Mind the small bump by the apex but carry good apex speed and use all the road on the exit.

Although Quarry has a reputation we've found the circuit to be one of the more incident free tracks that we visit. With such a small circuit limit over a long lap other cars are not an issue: in fact in terms of quiet track it doesn't come any better! In addition, anyone spinning to the inside is usually met by a nice open field. The points where there are issues during racing, such as at Quarry, are normally covered well in the briefing which results in drivers being more sensible in those areas.

Words kindly provided by Jamie Stanley.

With one of the highest incident rates of any corner on any circuit in the UK, the combination of Avon Rise and then Quarry presents more of a challenge than may appear, and less run-off than at other corners. Please lose speed by braking before turning in to the approach to Quarry as cars will go light at the brow of the hill so any braking done at this point could cause the car to lock up and cause an unplanned visit to the tyre wall. Please consider yourself warned. Particular attention will be paid to this in the briefing.

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