Top Gear South Africa
The Track Bit Image Credit: Top Gear South Africa
The Track Bit Image Credit: Top Gear South Africa

The Track Bit

Time for a guided tour of our home for the next few days. Pay attention at the back...

Ollie Marriage

Welcome to Knockhill, home to the track section of Speed Week 2017. It’s been chosen not because it places us close to some of the greatest driving roads on the planet, nor because on the day we arrive we can watch the Red Arrows perform a fly-past at the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing on the Firth of Forth. Not even because it has a cracking cafe in the paddock, or because they gave us a set of keys and let us have the run of the place, but chiefly because of the challenge it poses a road car.

The main straight is bumpy, and picking your braking point for the unseen entry to Duffus Dip is nigh-on impossible. The plunge downhill from there is like a narrowing funnel into the plughole that is the dip beyond Scotsman. From there – the lowest point on the circuit, 100 feet below the start/finish straight – you pop back up through the Arnold Clark chicane, charge onto the uphill curve of Clark’s and along the long left of Railway to Taylor’s Hairpin and thence back to the start. Much of it is blind, and it’s very unforgiving if you go off.

2-point-1 kilometres long and containing nine corners, it’s also one of the very few circuits in the UK that can be run both ways, a bit like Red Star in South Africa but with elevation. And as we found over the two days we were there, it also has its own weather system.

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