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Jefferson Circuit

The 1.1-mile Jefferson circuit has seven turns. The track was constructed in 1996, and the pavement is still in excellent condition. There is a substantial elevation change between Turns 1 and 2 (uphill) and between Turns 4 and 5 (downhill). There is also a small rise from Turns 6 to 7 (uphill). However, camber changes on the track surface, changing radii in the turns, and the quick succession of turns make the Jefferson Circuit even more challenging than the Main Circuit.

The most significant features of this track are that all turns are unconventional and that it is designed to be run in both directions. Each turn is either graded, cambered, or of varying radius, and these characteristics change when the direction is reversed. In the clockwise direction, Turn 7 is increasing-radius downhill off-camber, Turn 5 is decreasing-radius uphill, Turn 4 is decreasing-radius, the esses (Turns 3 and 2) are downhill, and Turn 1 is downhill off-camber. When reversed (counterclockwise), Turns 1 to 3 are uphill, Turn 4 is increasing-radius, Turn 5 is increasing-radius downhill, and Turn 7 is decreasing-radius uphill. As might be expected, the driving line is significantly different, depending on direction, although the overall lap times are remarkably similar.

The National Capital Chapter runs the Jefferson Circuit in both directions at two-day drivers' schools (one direction each day). At the single-day Highway Safety School, we also run the track in both directions, reversing at lunchtime. At single-day drivers' schools, we run the track unidirectionally.

For such a short track, it is surprisingly difficult to drive well. There are many camber changes built in to the pavement that are not visually apparent, and many drivers have found that their impression of the "ideal line" changes as they gain more experience with the track. As an example, when running clockwise and entering the right-hand Turn 4 (a decreasing-radius sweeper in this direction), more adhesion is obtained by entering the tightest part of the turn from approximately mid-track, rather than from the conventional left-hand edge, as the pavement cambers away from the turn starting in about the center of the track. Attempting to turn from the conventional entry point, i.e., driving the turn the way it appears visually, will cause substantial understeer.

The Jefferson Circuit does not host races; it was designed as a "training track" only. Because of the superior pavement condition, wet-track conditions are ideal, with high, uniform grip at all corners, and no displaced "rain line" has developed. Driving the Jefferson Circuit well in the rain is mostly a matter of driving the normal "dry line" smoothly and precisely, with proper respect for the camber changes.

Despite its short length, the Jefferson Circuit is a very demanding track. Indeed, it is so intense mentally and physically that we run Jefferson Circuit drivers' school sessions slightly shorter than we do at the Main Circuit to alleviate drivers' fatigue. However, it is a rewarding experience, and the opportunity to drive the track in both directions during two-day drivers' schools essentially gives the driver two tracks for the price of one.

Because of the varied challenges presented by this purpose-built track, your driving skills will build faster and will be honed better than at most other circuits. If you value the challenge of a track that places a premium on driver skill and precision, rather than on high horsepower and a heavy right foot, you will thoroughly enjoy the Jefferson Circuit.

Track map

Summit Point Jefferson Circuit Track Map

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