The Wakefield Park circuit consists of 10 corners and is 2.2 kilometres in length. It is a relative safe & open circuit, ideally suited to the great handling characteristics of an MX-5. Since the Mazda MX-5 Club of NSW began conducting regular events here in 1997, there has not been any major incidents involving an MX-5.To drive the circuit well requires smoothness and good car control. Here 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.
As you approach the start/finish line under the control tower you will have changed into fourth gear. Keep to the left hand side of the track close to the Armco. Turn 1 is a fast right hand kink that with practice can be taken flat out in fourth gear in a standard road car. Turn in at the end of the Armco planning to apex at the middle of the turn and then head for the left side of the track just before the turn in point for turn 2.
Keeping the car in a straight line you will need to brake hard after the apex of the kink changing back to third gear once you have knocked down the speed but before turning into turn 2. The straight after turn 2 is long and uphill so it is important to have good exit speed out of turn 2. Before turn in you should be on the left hand side of the road, turn in as the track starts to curve right, and aim for a late apex. Apply throttle about midway between turn in and apex, achieving full throttle at the apex then allowing the car to drift to the outside of the circuit after exiting the turn.
On the uphill straight you need to stay on the outside of the track until you can straight line the slight right sweep so that you can be on the right hand side of the track for the turn in for turn 3 which is a 45 degree uphill left turn. The turn in point should be at the end of the last ripple strip on the right hand side of the track. You will still be in third gear, back off slightly before turn in to balance the car. Turn in and then get back on the throttle heading for a late apex in turn 3, as you want the car between the centre and left hand side of the road for the right hand turn 4.
As turn 3 is a relatively fast corner you may not be able to be completely to the left for turn in at turn 4, this is not a problem, the middle of the circuit is fine. Once straight after turn 3 you will need a touch of the brakes before turn in for the uphill turn right at 4. As it is uphill you can negotiate it faster than if it was level, get the power on early and let the car drift to the outside of the circuit.
Keeping to the left and still in 3rd gear you will need a short sharp dab of the brakes for turn 5. This is a 90 degree right downhill and cambered corner. The apex should be mid corner, don’t turn in too early, on exit you should be heading for where the hillclimb leaves the main circuit and then run the car along the edge of the ripple strip staying to the left.
Turn in for turn 6 is at the small piece of ripple strip on the outside of the circuit as you come down the hill. This corner is a very fast, downhill, off camber right hand sweeper. With experience and warm tyres it can be taken flat out. Don’t apex too early or you will be off line for the kink at turn 7. The apex is about half way along the concrete kerbing.
After turn 6 and still in third gear, maybe fourth depending on your car, you can straight line the kink at turn 7 and then down into the braking for turn 8. After the kink drift towards the outside of the track before the tight left turn 8 known affectionately as the "fish hook". Don’t worry if you are not completely on the right as this part of the circuit is quite often dirty and covered in "rubber marbles". Change back to second gear just before turn in. A late apex is required here otherwise you will spend a lot of wasted time drifting out to the outside of the circuit. Use of gentle throttle application avoiding excessive wheel-spin can quite often be quicker here.
Turn 8 continues to open up after the apex, about half way along the ripple strip you will need to grab third gear keeping well to the left as you approach turn 9. With experience you will be able to take turn 9 flat in third. Turn in is at the end of the ripple strip to your left taking a mid corner apex and let the car drift to the outside of the circuit. Keep to the left as you run along the back straight towards turn 10. You may need to grab fourth gear along here.
As you approach turn 10 you need to be on the left. There is a 100 metre braking marker to help you with your braking. The braking area is on a downhill part of the track. Turn 10 is a 135 degree corner and is arguably the trickiest and most crucial corner on the circuit - get it right and you will have good speed down the front straight. Just before turn in for a very late apex at the end of the kerb, you will need to be back to second gear. At the late apex you should be on full power allowing the car to drift out to the concrete ripple strip on the outside of the circuit on exit. As you accelerate down the main straight you will grab third gear before the start of the Armco and then fourth well before the start/finish line. Remember to keep to the left along the Armco on the main straight.
And that’s a lap of Wakefield Park. As shown on the above map, note that the Club uses a start/finish line in the fish hook, rather than the traditional one on the main straight.