You’ve heard of Eau Rouge, Maggots-Becketts and the Senna Esses, but have you heard of Honda Curve?
Me neither. At least I hadn’t until earlier this week.
Having now sampled it first-hand, I believe it deserves a place on the list of all-time greats. Don’t just take my word for it - ask Karun Chandhok.
“It’s a corner with an apex speed of 115mph, so it really gets the downforce working,” says the ex-HRT and Lotus Formula 1 racer as we stand trackside at Pembrey Circuit. “And then there’s a nice bump on the exit which can catch you out.”
Wales has kindly placed a puddle in said bump today, and as we observe BMW Blancpain GT racer Alexander Sims flash past in a Formula 3 car, he conveniently has a big moment as his left tyres splash through it. It takes a quick armful of lock and a heavy right foot to keep things in check.
Next up it’s my go. Gulp.
“On a good day, Honda is taken flat,” Anthony Hieatt, team principal of Double R Racing, says as I’m being strapped into his car. “Just ask any of the drivers in F1 about it - I guarantee 90% of them will know it well.”
Chandhok (pictured below) tells me to build up my pace slowly, but I’ve only got two 10 lap stints of Pembrey to absorb all I can about its recently updated layout. I try and convince myself to do Honda Curve justice as the 237bhp 2.0-litre Mercedes engine vibrates into life behind me.
Both the car and circuit are new to me, but after three laps I find myself settling in and beginning to explore the limits of grip. The circuit is a joy to drive, and a new sharp left-hander adds a more technical element to what was previously a fast-flowing track.
But I’m still miles from the limit through Honda Curve, despite having been given all the advice I need to take it properly. The problem is, it’s basically a stretched out 90deg right. I know it can be taken at over 100mph, but on every approach, my brain still can’t believe the car will make it round with just a gentle lift of the accelerator pedal.