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A lap of the Bugatti circuit

A lap of the Bugatti circuit

A lap of the Bugatti circuit

The most striking characteristics of the Bugatti track layout which makes it very different from other tracks are the two forks which follow one another almost immediately, and also the corner at the end of the straight. This corner at the end of the start and finish straight is still considered the fastest corner in the World Championship.

Normally this corner is taken at more than 290 km/h with the added problem that it leads onto the chicane which is taken at less than 90 Km/h, so the whole braking process is taken with the bike leaning over, which makes it difficult to find the right setup of the bike in both the engine brake and the front fork.

This very rapid corner also creates a potential problem with the gear ratio set-up. When the bike leans over the the engine revolutions increase significantly as the diameter of the tyre edge is reduced. This must be kept in mind when setting the gear ratios. The speed through this fast corner also determines the rigidity of the rear dampener which, itself, can cause a loss of grip under acceleration out of the two forks on the track.
It is necessary therefore to find a difficult compromise situation to be able to take the fast corner at speed, and also to maintain grip throughout the other parts of the circuit.

The long sixth gear ratio means that the fourth and fifth gears must be set, not for the performance they will give at the circuit, but to avoid a large jump in speed between them since the gear change means that the power delivery falls outside the maximum performance levels of the bike.

In the Le Mans Circuit the gear is changed some 30 times per lap over 28 laps which means there are approximately 840 gear changes during the race. For this reason, if the gear ratios are not correctly set, you can lose a lot of time.

The two forks on the track followed by the four relatively long straights means that the tyres heat up considerably in the central section which prompts teams to fit special tyres with a harder central part than normal. There are few left hand corners on the track and the left side of the tyre cools down after three right-handers and the start/finish straight. For this reason softer compounds are used on this side. With this set-up we use tyres with two or three different compounds and various combinations which makes tyre choice a tricky task.


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