Sydney Motorsport Park Amaroo Circuit
Amaroo Circuit (south circuit) at Sydney Motorsport Park is a 1.8 kilometre track running anti-clockwise around the famous Corporate Hill. It incorporates a 830m extension from turn 6 through to turn 14, which opened on 16 September 2012 with a CAMS NSW Supersprint round. The MX-5 Club of NSW held it's first track day at Amaroo Circuit on 27 October 2012.
This is a short, sharp and highly technical track with a fantastic mix of corners that tests drivers of all levels, from beginner to professional. Amaroo Circuit consists of 13 turns with a confusing numbering system, beginning with turn 5 and ending at turn 15c. The strange numbering is necessary to fit in with the entire complex, such that each corner has it's own unique number, regardless of which track configuration is in use. The following guide is a suggested way in which to lap the circuit quickly in a standard 5-speed MX-5. This approach is purely a suggestion and whilst it may suit most, others may find a slightly different approach will suit them.
Beginning at the start/finish line in front of the timing tower, you will be on the right side of the track and be in third gear. Turn 5 is a fast 90° corner starting at the bottom of a dip and then it's all uphill out of the corner - good corner speed is vital here. Immediately after crossing the finish line, you will be on the right edge of the track and rapidly approaching turn 5. Start your turn in just before the end of the concrete pad on the right side of the track. Aim for a mid apex but avoid the ripple strip which is heavily serrated. Looking through the corner, allow the car to drift to the right edge of the track. You can run onto the concrete pad that separates the main track from the pit lane. However, do not be tempted to go beyond the pad or you will risk a penalty from the timekeepers and potentially an unpleasant conversation with the Clerk of Course!
After turn 5, there is an uphill climb in third gear staying on the right side of the track - faster cars may briefly need to visit fourth gear. There is a 100m braking marker to prepare you for braking at around 50m from turn 6. This is a slightly downhill and off camber corner, and drivers in cars that do not have ABS should be careful to avoid locking the brakes here. Turn 6 is the start of a challenging sequence of five consecutive slalom corners. Aim for a mid to late apex at turn 6 and slightly compromised your exit speed in order to give a better entry for turn 7. There is a concrete pad and then a concrete hump on the apex of turn 6 - the hump should be avoided as it can unsettle the car.
Exiting turn 6, your car should be about two thirds of the way over to the right side of the track. Allow the weight to settle and then start turning in for the righthand turn 7 after a slight lift of the throttle. Mistiming the weight transfer can provoke a spin on this corner, so take care. Aim for a mid to late apex and return to full throttle before the apex. A narrow concrete pad on the inside of the corner can be used but avoid putting a tyre onto the grass.
This is immediately followed by the lefthand turn 8, which continues uphill. The apex of the corner has a concrete pad and then a raised concrete hump, and you should aim to put the left tyres on the pad, but avoiding the hump. Photographers love to stake out this corner as it features plenty of two-wheel action by those who chose to ride the hump. A slight throttle lift just before the apex can help turn the car, but then get back on full throttle at the apex. In third gear, your car may feel like it's struggling through here, but it's also too fast for second gear.
Next is a fast righthand turn 9 which you will approach from the righthand side of the track after exiting turn 8. This is the highest part of the track and the next corner is unsighted over the crest. The apex is marked by another concrete pad and hump combination, and again you should aim to put your right tyres on the pad but avoid the hump. Exiting turn 9, you should be on the right side of the track.
After cresting the hill, you'll need either a quick dab of the brakes or a longer lift of the throttle as you approach turn 10. This is a really tricky lefthand corner, which is off camber and downhill. It tends to provoke a sequence of understeer, then oversteer, then understeer which is really thrilling when on the limit. Turn in begins on the right side of the track, near the end of the concrete pad from turn 9. Aim for a late apex, a few metres before the end of the concrete pad on the inside of the corner. Then allow the car to drift towards the right edge of the track, avoiding the serrated ripple strip.
The track descends quite steeply as you approach turn 11, which is a 180° lefthand hairpin at the bottom, with a tightening radius. From the end of the ripple strip after turn 10, try to straight line for the end of the ripple strip on the right side at the bottom of the hill, rather than hug the righthand edge of the track. Braking needs to be a done in a straight line to avoid locking. The turn in point for turn 11 is at the end of this right-side ripple strip. Change back to second gear with a throttle blip, and aim for a very late apex on the hairpin. Avoid the heavily serrated ripple strip on the apex. It's painfully slow and you should take care to minimise wheelspin out of this tight corner. Avoid running too far to the right when exiting the hairpin. About two thirds of the way over to the right is fine.
Turn 12 is a 120° righthand hairpin that climbs steeply uphill. Staying in second gear and beginning from the far left side of the track, you will need a sharp throttle lift before turning in for turn 12. The corner is cambered and you can carry more speed through here than the radius suggests. The apex has a heavily serrated concrete ripple strip and then a concrete hump - both should be avoided. Aim to apex the corner near the end of the hump and be full throttle before this point. Looking up the hill, you will see the end of the pedestrian bridge over the Corporate Hill - this is a good point to aim for while exiting turn 12. You will run out to the left edge of the track, but should avoid putting tyres onto the serrated ripple strip that lines the edge.
The righthand turn 13 can be virtually straight-lined as you shift to third, and then into fourth gear as you reach the end of lefthand turn 14. The apex for turn 14 is right at the end of the serrated ripple strip. Use the high tension power line behind the skidpan area as a sight line for your exit from turn 14. Have a breather through here - it's about the only place were you can relax a little - it's also the fastest part of the track, and you have another tricky left-right-left slalom coming next.
You should be on the right edge of the track as you approach the lefthand turn 15a. This is the "dirty" side of the track and is downhill, so you need to be careful to avoid locking the brakes. Start braking just before the 50m marker, keeping the steering straight as you approach the turn. Change back to third gear with a throttle blip, then ease off the brakes and turn in, aiming for a mid to late apex. The ripple strip is fairly mild compared to many others and you can run your tyres over it if you chose. Try to be in the middle of the track after exiting turn 15a so that you're well placed for the righthand turn 15b. Lift the throttle and turn in for a late apex. Then carefully allow the weight to settle before turning left again for turn 15c. Aim for a mid apex and allow the car to run out to the right side on the exit. Accelerating hard from the apex, you'll cross the start/finish line and then do it all over again.
An alternate video guide has been compiled by club member Dan Gardner, and is available below. You will note some subtle differences in advice and we encourage you to try both and see what works best for you.