Archive for May 15th, 2019


Racetracks I have Driven chapter 5 Winton

Winton ArialDuring the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s most of my weekends were spent at Winton Raceway just north of Benalla and Calder Park! During 1977 I began my Motorsport life through the Ford Four Car Club competing in Club Sprints and being involved with John Faulkner and David Cannon with their touring cars. I managed to get my general competition licence in 1978 at the Rose City 10000 meeting, this was the second attempt at it. Here are a few pics of my time at Winton, these represent 1981 to 1990 when the 24 hour presentation pic was taken!


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Winton has been in consistent operation now since  December 1957, the circuit has changed so much since that time and has massive history, from the original layout which is now known as the Club Circuit to the currently used layout above.  Click here to compare the 3 different layouts . Winton has hosted a range of Australian Championships from bikes to cars of all sorts. National and International Champions, and even F1 World Champions James Hunt and Alan Jones. James Hunt came to Winton as reigning World Champion in 1978 for the Rose City 10000 meeting where he drove a F5000 from the Elfin team and dominated the weekend! Alan Jones drove Touring and Sports Sedans (GT Cars) at Winton after leaving F1!



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                                                         Driving Winton Short Circuit

Winton was always a favorite of mine and as most of my time there has been spent on the original layout, that is my pick of the 2 distinctive layouts! The original circuit had the dummy grid situated on a downhill, leading onto the track where you turned left to enter it, and immediately you were on the main grid! Once entering the track you would complete your warm up lap and return to the main grid, located just after the esses. At the start you had a very short run into the first corner it was about 150 metres. I always liked starting on the inside of the grid as it gave you the option of a very inside line, there were many times I went down the grass into the first corner, particularly if I got a good start! From there you had another very short straight into turn 2 which when you used the kerb was almost slightly banked but in order to get through there fast you needed to use the kerb on the inside with a late apex and slide out to the ripple strip on the exit. Staying on the left side of the middle of the road, on the entry to the left handed sweeper which was a fast sweeping left followed by a slight right kink just at the exit, this meant the 2 corners had to be taken almost as one! The sweeper was taken at about 95 mph and the right hand kink was not much slower but you needed to slide from the apex of the kink out to a little over half way out to the left to get a good run into the tight RH tank corner, which is a sharp and much slower U turn that is tight on the way in and opens out on the exit! This part of the track is known as the cleavage, after tank you go into a left hand U turn entering it from half way across the road and getting a late apex this is typical of Winton it is all about quite late apexes! Next is a sharp RH hander leading onto the back straight this is critical to get a good line here or you will be slow at the other end of the straight! The way through is enter it from half way across the road get on the power early, get a late apex and use every little bit of the road including the ripple strip on the far left and even the dirt at times! The back straight is a good length and you can have the only real break on the track while driving, at the end of the straight there is the esses where you have to make the car flow through and be very economical with your input from the steering! The esses flow very well and if your car works well you can almost set your course with the steering and steer with your right foot though here! The exit is taken by again using every last bit of bitumen and at times some dirt at the end of the kerb! This can be a very hazardous section as in the late afternoon particularly, as  the sun is in your eyes and visibility is very bad! That was like the visibility through the sweeper at sun rise, during the 24 hour races held at Winton, that was not at all good!!

The short track at Winton is mainly used these days for the Historic races held at the circuit each year.


Winton Long Circuit

I wont go through the whole circuit again but continue from the entry of the back straight. As with the short circuit you use all the road including the ripple strip and instead of staying to the left of the track you make your way across to the right of centre of track for the braking area at about 200 metres from the Rh entry to the old esses. This sets you up for the entry to the tricky LH corner onto the extension of the track, which is more than a 90 degree corner and probably close to 110 degrees! It is very easy to run wide here, and something that must be avoided while using all the track again you need to make your way to the left side of the track as you approach the next and very tricky double RH corner which are just a little more than 90 degree again classic lines and smooth, accurate driving is what it is all about, These corners bring you to the new grid and past the pit counter, as you pass the grid you need to make sure you are on the RH side of the track in preparation to entering the esses from the short track! The entry to the esses is a little tricky, as the track drops away a little on the entry to the braking zone and the approach speed is much more than the old entry to the esses, but the contour and characteristic of the track at that point is the same as before! Once through the esses you go past the old pit area and grid to start the next lap!

Winton has always been about a good handling car with good power that is driven technically well, accurately and smoothly! It is a real test of a driver, and a great place to learn and test! In many ways similar to Amaroo Park without the hills, both awesome places to drive!

Winton has always hosted a variety of racing from Cars, trucks, Historic, motor cycles both modern and historic, rallycross, drags, drifting, almost every style of motorsport you can imagine! It is a complete motorsport complex that caters for every level of competition from basic club sprints up to National Championships

May 2019
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