Note: Replay and Setup can be downloaded at the end of the post.
I’ve driven Edmonton a few times in the past and always in the original 67 cars, but it never been a track I enjoyed or had great results at. Despite that, the practice run I did today in my trustworthy Honda was productive and positive, and I quickly arrived to a setup which seems to handle consistently and keep the tire temps within reasonable limits.
A Look at the Track
The track is a combination of slow corners, predominantly flat, connected by some short and medium length straights. There are a few slightly cambered corners, as well as some bumps which unsettle the car, especially at the frontend.
The track lacks proper curbing except the narrow strips of concrete here and there which are almost level with the road, and the grass edges of the track are either higher or lower relative to the track surface, so using them to extend the track width needs to be done with proper knowledge of the place.
On the other hand there are places where you can safely put 2 wheels over the grass and remain in control, so those can be exploited to gain some time or for emergency situations when the car doesn’t go where we want it to.
And of course there are the burried tires around some bends which have to be avoided on all cost, but we’ll see more of them as we discuss each corner.
The original groove of the track is not too bad, but it seems a bit too conservative in some corners, so while it’s OK to follow it, try to extend your lines a bit further to use more of the track width.
The closest track I could relate to which compares to Edmonton is Albi and so I used my Albi setup as a base. It didn’t work so well initially – the car was very unstable during transitions and over bumps, and despite trying different settings it didn’t improve much.
Then I finally arrived at a solution and it differs by a lot from my usual way of setting up the Honda. I set the rearend much softer, including a softer ARB compared to the front one. This made the car smoother under acceleration and over bumps, and surprisingly it didn’t cause any significant understeer like it would happen on other tracks.
Gearing wise it was an easy track to set up for and in fact, the Albi setup was almost spot on in that regard. Because of the two long left-handers, the camber did not have to be set too much for right corners, and the tire pressures are close to equal on both sides. This helped with car stability under braking and in the fast corners.
Of course, my setup wouldn’t quite work for people who RFB or it may feel too loose (although it’s not, not like usual anyway!). For both, I suggest moving the BB forward (obviously) and using more lock of the differential’s coast side, which is something I tried myself before recording this lap and which worked quite well, but felt just a tad too understeery on entry, probably because of the amount of throttle I tend to use.
Onboard Lap of Edmonton
The GPL Track Database provides our reference map:
Chevalier Straight – you begin the lap in 3rd gear as you keep accelerating full throttle, moving to the right side of the track and staying there until you arrive at T1
T1 – there are distance signs right next to the road before the fast left-hander of T1. Brake not too hard and turn left just before you reach the last of those signs (probably marking 100 meters, not sure) and change down to 4th. Keep braking slightly and let the car decelerate, aiming to take a diagonal line through short straight that follows, in a way that just clips the apex of the left-hander, changing to 3rd if you prefer to keep the revs high (as I do).
Change down to 2nd gear just after you go past the apex, accelerate for a moment to straighten up the car, and brake again as you aim for the apex of the 2nd part of T1, the right-hand kink. Change down to 1st gear there (or stay in 2nd if you prefer lower revs) and accelerate for a moment again, pointing the car to the outside of the track after the kink.
T2 Parker’s End – this is a very illusive corner and it appears quicker than it actually is, so brake in time before it, going into 1st gear if you haven’t already, and keep decelerating hard while turning slightly into it, to set the car into a drift (trail-brake).
Aim for the very late apex just where the corner tightens up significantly and step on the throttle to accelerate a bit before the 2nd part of the corner. Don’t accelerate too hard though, as braking for the 2nd part needs to be done earlier than it appears – the reason being the road becomes completely flat and the car drifts wide quite a lot if you arrive at the turn too quick.
There is a slight elevation change in the road just as you enter the corner; this is where you need to keep off the throttle and let the car drift into it, hugging the inside with the right front wheel, but keeping some throttle applied to avoid dropping the revs too much. Just as you feel (and hear) the tires grip properly, open up the throttle gradually until it’s fully open, and correct any slides with the steering wheel. Don’t be afraid to use some of the outside grass, but be careful with it as it’s not completely level with the road.
T3 Smalian Chicane – there is a row of trees on the left and one of them is dark green, and contrasts between the other lighter green trees. Brake just before it goes out of sight, about half a second after you pass the last distance marker on the left, and change down to 3rd gear while turning right into the chicane.
You need to stay on the brakes all the way going into the chicane, but there’s no need to brake too hard. Do just enough to keep the car balanced while it’s turning to the right, without sliding it too much, and be ready to balance it with the throttle if it goes out of shape.
Change to 2nd gear just as you go past the tires of the first apex and at the same time straighten up the steering and turn slightly to the left. Increase the braking pressure and aim to send the car diagonally towards the outside of the short straight that follows before the next corner (but not too wide as your rear may clip the grass)
T4 Breckenridge Bend – this is a very difficult corner because it seems to change camber midway through, although it’s not noticeable to the eye. You need to take a middle line on the entry to the corner, and keep going more and more to the inside as you let the car decelerate by trailbraking initially and then by keeping just a bit of throttle applied.
Once you’re past the first part of the corner, the grip comes back to you and the car will turn into the late apex more easily – this is where you should start accelerating, but do it gradually and smoothly, as any attempt to rush it seems to unsettle the car a lot and sends it wide into the grass.
T5 Meldau Corner – it’s very important to brake on time for this corner. Even going slightly faster into it would lose you a lot of time and possibly send you off track, as the grip level is not so good, probably due to the track being either completely flat or off-camber.
Brake just as you go past by the last distance marker on the left and change down to 2nd gear. Turn early into the corner as you trailbrake and try to time your deceleration just so the car hugs the long apex at the inside, but avoid stepping on the grass.
I don’t have a reference point for accelerating out of this corner, so I just apply a bit of throttle a couple of times until I feel certain I’ve come at the right moment, then I floor it, using the whole track width on the exit. The corner seems to open up a bit as it ends, so you can accelerate a bit earlier than it appears at first.
T6 Green Bank – Go up to 3rd gear as you go past the last distance sign on the left before the corner, and brake hard just after you reach the row of people behind the fence on the left, changing down into 2nd gear initially and then to 1st a few moments later.
It’s important to turn early into this corner so you can carry more speed and let the car drift wider as it decelerates. Take a middle line through the first part, which is faster, blip to throttle to straighten up the car and position it on the outside, then slow down again for the slower bowl-shaped second part of the turn.
Again, turn earlier and trail-brake so you can carry more speed into the corner, but try to get off the brake and use only the throttle once you’re close to the white curb on the inside. Avoid going over the curb though.
Accelerate gradually once you’re past the apex (which is neither late or early) and use all the track width at the exit on the left, but be extra careful as you get close to flooring the throttle – the road’s camber disappears and since you’ve been going over the higher part of it, your rear may get some wheelspin as it drops down, which can suddenly launch the car to the right.
T7 Taylor Turn – there is a marshal on the right, just before the corner – use it as your braking marker. I believe it might be better to use 1st gear for the first part of this corner and change up to 2nd before the exit, but I’ll leave that for you to discover. In this instance stayed in 2nd.
Take a wider line initially and begin closing up towards a very very late apex, almost close to the exit of the corner as it tightens up. Be careful not to go too wide on the exit as the grass beyond the edge of the track drops down noticeably. There is a small piece of road on the outside, shortly after the corner exit, which you can use to your benefit to straight up the slight right-left curve in the road that follows. The place is quite bumpy, so be ready to correct the direction of the car on each lap.
T8 – I don’t use any trackside objects as exact braking markers here, but with the gearing I use, the braking point happens to be just as I reach maximum revs in 3rd gear. It’s important to brake on time for this one, as there is no offroad outside the corner, just a wall.
Brake very hard and in a straight line, changing down to 1st gear, and turn relatively early into the corner so you can make the most use of the track width. Be very careful not to clip the tires on the inside though – I did once and it completely spun me around, despite the low speed.
Let the car decelerate past the apex of the corner and delay your acceleration until you see most of the bridge before the pitlane. Accelerate very gently and carefully while still turning right, so you can position the car parallel to the wall on the outside.
T9 – continue to accelerate gradually in 1st gear, but avoid flooring it completely. The key is to keep the car just under its limit of adhesion while you keep turning to the right, so it remains balanced.
There is a nasty bump before you go onto the wider part of the track before the s/f straight – going over it is an ideal time to change up to 2nd gear. Once you do that, you can apply up to full throttle and aim to exit next to the edge of the track on the left.
Replay and Setup Downloads
Here’s a download link for a ZIP file with the replay of my lap and the setup I used: