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If you’re coming from Silverstone or Croft circuit or any of the other mostly flat UK circuits, Oulton Park comes off quite daunting at first glance. Located in the heart of Cheshire, England, the track is a demanding and iconic motorsport venue with a reputation for producing thrilling races. Its blend of high-speed straights, technical corners, and dramatic elevation changes create a unique challenge for us racing drivers, whether amateur or professional.

– Arthur

As per my other write-ups, this guide aims to provide you with an introductory, broad understanding of the circuit, enabling you to approach your next drive at Oulton Park with a bit more informed confidence. Supplement my post with Driver61 content and their track map resource, along with video footage from YouTube, ideally in a similar car and configuration to what you’ll be driving. I regularly re-visit my guides after visiting the circuit again so expect these posts to evolve over time.

Last edited: 30-April 2023

Track Statistics

Stretching 2.69 miles (4.33 km) in length, the International Circuit configuration of Oulton Park incorporates a diverse range of 17 corners, each with its own character. It has rolling topography, and features a mix of high-speed straights, chicanes, and demanding corners. From the fast sweep of Old Hall Corner to the technicalities of Druids, the track demands a lot more respect and precision driving versus others in the UK from my perspective.

Track Strategies and Techniques

To excel at Oulton Park, a few key strategies should be kept in mind. Firstly, the circuit demands a precise driving style due to its incredibly narrow and fast-paced layout. Every corner is unique, so understanding the character of each and finding this track’s rhythm is vital.

Secondly, Oulton Park is notorious for its elevation changes, which can and usually does unsettle the car. Drivers must be prepared to adjust their braking points and cornering techniques accordingly. For instance, downhill corners like entry to Cascades require earlier braking, while uphill exits like at Knickerbrook allow for earlier acceleration. This is where you will gain or lose a lot of time in my opinion.

Lastly, track limits must be respected, whether they’re actively being monitored or not. Straying too far from the racing line can result in penalties but, worse, an encounter with the unforgiving grass and barriers at Oulton tends to be absolutely ruthless – no mercy here – an off will likely be a damage-causing incident.

Corner Summary

  1. Old Hall
  2. Cascades
  3. Island Bend
  4. Shell Oils
  5. Brittens Complex
  6. Hislop’s Complex
  7. Knickerbrook
  8. Clay Hill
  9. Druids
  10. Lodge

Detailed Corner Breakdown

Old Hall Corner: The entry here is crucial. Approach the corner from the far left of the track, braking just after the pit lane exit as the pavement extends over to the left away from the white track limit line. Aim to hit the apex late, as this is a fast right-hander, making sure you’re at the center of the track. The exit of the corner is downhill; power early and smoothly to take advantage of this, moving to the far left for the run towards Cascades.

If you’re going for a pass, I’d try for inside rather than out as you’re at risk of your new neighbor missing his turn-in and finding himself where you’d be (except you’ll be in the grass at this point…). Resist the urge to turn in too early here.

Cascades: On entry, you want to be on the right side of the track, braking smoothly into this fast left-hand turn. The apex should be clipped late, with your car positioned at the center of the track. On exit, you should smoothly apply the throttle, allowing the car to drift naturally to the far right side of the track to maximize speed onto the Lakeside straight.

On entry, if you’re far right, you’ll drive over a depression in the track surface, maybe 10 meters long. This serves as an amazing braking spot as it’s relatively late, but the car is also loaded which makes the brake action very firm and the car settled.

Island Bend: This is a swift left-hand kink where, at the entry, the car should be positioned on the far right. As there’s no real braking point here, only a light lift or balanced throttle is needed to clip the apex. The exit is a straight run into Shell Oils Corner, with your car positioned on either the left or right-hand side of the track.

Shell Oils Corner: Entry to this heavily banked hairpin can be from either the left or right as the camber will catch you, with late braking and swift downshifting to maintain momentum. Clip the apex late to carry more speed through the corner, with the car positioned at the center of the track. On exit, power smoothly and allow the car to move to the far left on the following straight.

A brake marker to consider is the change in pavement if this works for your car’s entry speed. This is another corner that works well for an inside pass on an early braker hugging the left side for corner entry, if the gap is open.

Britannia (or Brittens) Chicane Complex: The entry to this chicane should be on the right, and you should aim to straight-line the chicane as much as possible, especially if in a slower / momentum car. Your car should be positioned near the center for the apex of the left-hand turn, then on the right for the right-hand turn. On exit, smoothly apply throttle, allowing your car to move to the far left for the run to Hislop’s.

Transition to the left almost immediately after exiting the Brittens complex, the angle of the grade going up Hilltop is lighter versus on the right!

Hislop’s Chicane Complex: Enter this complex (which ties into Knickerbrook) from the left of the track (right is doable too if you need to be two-wide), braking hard for the first, tight right-hander. For the apex, aim to be near the center of the track, then smoothly transition through to the next left-hander without delay – it’s a rhythmic right to left. Exit by applying power smoothly and allowing the car to use the full width of the track back to the left as it heads toward Knickerbrook.

The sausage curbing inside of the first right-hander is unforgiving – think about where your weight is when/if you hit this enormous curb; many cars have rolled over in this exact spot. Other than that, dab of brakes in the transition in a FWD car has proven to be helpful.

Knickerbrook: Approach this deceptive right-hander from the left, transitioning from Hislop’s, braking late and hard (if you need to). Aim to clip the apex late, keeping your car near the center of the track. The exit is uphill, so early and smooth application of power will help maintain speed, allowing the car to drift to the far left of the track.

Coming into Knickerbrook right after the chicane has you wanting to start your turn-in early – since the chicane is right-left in succession, naturally you want right again in one smooth motion – doing this will make you turn in too early, stay committed to the entry in a straight line for a quarter second longer.

Clay Hill: This blind, fast left-hander requires you to be on the far right on entry. No significant braking is required; balanced throttle should see you clip the apex. Exit by letting the car use the full width of the track, setting you up for the Druids.

If you straight-line from Knickerbrook exit, you’ll be progressively moving towards the right side of the circuit which is where you want to be anyways. As you come up the final part of the hill as it bends left, you can turn in and kiss that inner curb and then ease back out again to the right, then another slight left (with blind but safe curbing), same process, a light touch will do and then preparation for Druids.

Druids: Entry into this double-apex right-hander complex is crucial. Approach from the far left, braking early for the first half. Clip the apex of the first turn-in while maintaining a mid-track position, then keep the car tight on the right for the apex of the follow-up right-hander. On exit, smoothly apply power and use the width of the track to set up for Lodge Corner.

Druids can be looked at as a double apex corner or just a really long single corner – I’m not sure which is right or if one even is – for me it was a double apex corner and I treated it as such. It’s all about car control and throttle management through the whole bit. Start conservatively and build up, the corner is fast as it is, and a wall awaits people’s mistakes on the outside.

Lodge Corner: The final corner needs a far left approach. Brake early and aim to clip the apex late. This is a tight right-hander, so your car should be positioned near the center of the track. On exit, apply power smoothly, allowing the car to drift to the far left side of the track for a strong run onto the start/finish straight.

Bumpy braking on entry. I found that holding the apex curbing all the way around (until the pylons – if they’re up) before starting to unload the car towards the exit worked well; otherwise you end up a bit wide and the exit curbing is harsh. Remain tight on the left through Deer Leap to reduce total track distance driven, and across the line!

In Summary

Oulton Park is a demanding but thrilling circuit; it’s not a circuit that can be mastered in a few laps. Its combination of high-speed straights, complex corners, and dramatic elevation changes offer an unmatched driving experience that’s also incredibly rewarding when done right. With the knowledge of each corner’s characteristics and overall strategy, drivers can approach this iconic circuit with confidence.