Turn 8 of the Turkish Grand Prix course

Good luck taking that turn that fast in anything but a high-downforce racer.

via Wired: Autopia by Chuck Squatriglia on 5/6/11

Anyone can drive fast in a straight line. It’s the corners that matter, and Turn 8 at Istanbul Park is among the best.

Oh sure, the famed Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps is widely considered the best corner in all of Formula 1. Parabolica at Monza, Casino Square in Monaco and 130R at Suzuka also make the list. But nothing quite compares the Turn 8, a multi-apex monster drivers will take at an average of 270 km/hr during this weekend’s Turkish grand prix.

“It’s an awesome corner, we try to take it flat year by year,” defending champion Sebastian Vettel (pictured at last year’s Turkish GP) said in a statement. “It’s fast and extremely bumpy, so you can hardly see where you’re going. You turn in and hope for the best.”

Turn 8 is by any measure phenomenal. It is the longest corner of the season at 640 meters (2,099 feet) long. That’s 12 percent of the length of a lap around the 5.4-kilometer track. It takes roughly 8.5 seconds to make it through the turn, and drivers hit three or four apexes. The slowest is at 260 km/hr.

Drivers run at or near full throttle and experience an average of 3.5G — with a sustained load of 4.5G for two seconds. If the turn is tough on drivers, it’s tougher still on cars. According to Mercedes GP Petronas, peak suspension loads through the turn exceed 10,000 Newtons. The tires take a real beating, and Turkey will be a real test for Pirelli.

Given the challenges, drivers, of course, love it.

“If I had to create a fantasy Formula One circuit, this corner would definitely be included,” driver Nico Rosberg of Mercedes GP Petronas said in a statement.

Photo and video: Red Bull Racing

Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing takes you through a lap of Istanbul Park in this video released before last year’s race.

Istanbul Park runs counter-clockwise. Turn 8 is a monster. Image: Wikimedia Commons

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