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In this Assetto Corsa Competizione track guide, I'll show you how to master the Imola circuit. I'll show you the best racing line, braking points and how to be as quick as possible around this fast circuit.
Imola was recently added to Assetto Corsa Competizione as part of their 2020 GT World Challenge DLC. This was great news for sim racers, as Imola is one of the funnest, fastest and trickiest tracks to race on, and is a firm fan favourite among many sim racers.
Imola is a track where to be fast, you must use the whole of the track. It comprises of many sweeping corners, and braking zones that are just after a slight bend. So you will have to master your racing line to get the most out of this track.
You also need to be very aggressive over kerbs, and therefor need to ensure your car is setup correctly to handle this. If your car is too stiff, many of the kerbs around Imola and throw you straight off in to the old school gravel traps. Find the perfect ACC setup here, where we have hundreds of free setups including setups for every GT3 and GT4 car in ACC.
In this segment, I’m going to go through every part of the lap around Imola. And I’ll highlight everything you should look for, including braking zones and where you should position your car on track.
This part of my Imola track guide should be your go to hit points, as nailing all of these tips will certainly help you find those extra few tenths.
If you feel that you know the Imola circuit really well already, then skip past this bit and head straight for our Imola top tips section below!
The first part of the Imola circuit around the start / finish line is really quite wide. However this starts to narrow as the track kinks left towards the first corner.
During race starts, just be wary of the narrowing track as cars will start to bunch together. Especially as you past the Imola bridge and head towards the first corners, as the first corner is relatively fast.
On a regular lap, you will want to straighten the kinks along the main straight as much as possible. This involves staying towards the right hand side of the track straight after the start line. And then drifting left as the track kinks left.
Right after the left hand kink, you should drift towards the far right of the track, readying yourself for the first corner sequence.
Ensure you keep far right on the entry, and look for the slight kink left, just after the 200 meter board. You will see the road surface start to turn black. And you will also notice the bright orange paint on the right hand safety barrier.
This is when you should hit the brakes, ensuring you keep the car straight under braking, while pointing your car slightly towards the kerb on the far right of the track. This will ensure you have the widest line on the entry to turn 2.
Look to turn in early, and ride over the inside kerb pretty aggressively. This will vary from car to car, as some cars ride kerbs better than others. I’m looking at you Mercedes-AMG!
There are three sausage kerbs on the inside of the corner, aim to just glance the middle of the three kerbs. And then straighten up your car towards the right hander. Again, with the right hander you should put about 50% of your car over the kerb to shorten the route through.
Try to be accelerating through and out of turn 3 and keep the throttle at 100% through turn 4.
On the approach to the third corner, your car should be just to the left of the darker racing line that is on the tarmac. While accelerating fully, you can just glance the inside kerb of turn 4 and your car will naturally start to run out wide towards the right.
Keep the throttle planted while accelerating out of turn 4 using as much of the outside kerb as you feel comfortable with. You wont get any track limit violations out of turn 4 unless you touch the gravel. So be aggressive when straightening the corner exit.
On the approach to turn 5 stay as far right as the track will allow and watch for the brake markers on the side of the track. Just before you pass the brake marker that says 50 hit the brakes. You can brake really late in to turn 5, and again you should aim to put your car well over the inside kerb on the entry.
You will want to lift on the brake ever so slightly so you are trail braking through the apex. This will allow you to straighten your car through turn 5, then back on the brakes on the entry in to turn 6. You should shift down to second gear on the entry, (some cars allow you to stay in third.)
On the right hand apex of turn 6, you should look to avoid the inside sausage kerb. Hitting this will compromise your exit and you’ll lose a little time down in to turn 7, which is a good overtaking zone.
You want to be on the throttle hard out of turn 6, allowing your car to once again drift wide and over the run off zone. As long as you don’t touch the gravel you wont get any track limit warnings.
Turn 7 is a very standard slow hairpin corner. It’s a great overtaking spot if you get a good run through turn 6, as it’s wide allowing cars to easily go side by side.
Look to brake just as you pass the tarmac section to the right of the track around the 50 meter mark. Ensure your car is positioned far right on the track.
Try to turn in a little later than feels natural. This will give you a later apex, giving you a better and faster exit down the next straight.
Try to just glance the inside apex kerb on your way through, and pick up the throttle early. Although you’ll need to feather the throttle through the corner. Try not to hit the throttle too hard as you can spin up your rear tyres on the exit.
You want to ensure you get your car as straight as possible as early as possible. You can once again use as much kerb on the outside as you need while accelerating.
On the run out of turn 7, you will want to drift over to the left hand side of the track before the bridge. You will then head over the crest completely blind as you drift back over towards the right side of the track. Ensure you are far right after the crest so you can start braking in to turn 8.
Brake just after the 50 meter board on the right hand side. While trail braking, you want to just clip the inside kerb, while avoiding taking too much kerb.
As soon as you come over the inside kerb, you will want to accelerate as much as possible as the car drifts wide right. Keep the car under control, as it can get away from you here.
It’s ever so easy to push too hard and get a track limit warning by taking too much kerb on the exit. Use the rule of not putting your car too far over the painted red line of the exit kerb, and you will be safe.
Make sure you pull the car back to the left of the track in good time to be ready for one of the hardest corners around Imola, turn 9.
On the entry to turn 9, try to position your car with its left wheel just over the outside kerb on the left.
You have to be very careful with your combination of brake and throttle through turn 9. Try to hit the brakes hard on the entry just after the 50 meter brake board. And then lift a little as you hit the apex of turn 9. Use the throttle in combination with the brakes to help stabilise your car, and stop it from veering off line.
Aim to hit the inside red line of the kerb, but no more. You will want to avoid the inside sausage kerb.
Apply a little more throttle through the apex of turn 9. Allow the car to drift completely on to the outside kerb on the approach to turn 10. Don’t go any further out than the red line, otherwise you’re lap will be invalidated.
Ride the kerb all the way through the middle part of this corner sequence. You will want to start braking again for turn 10 as soon as the car is straightened up out of turn 9.
You will want to turn early in to turn 10, riding the kerb but missing the inside sausage kerb. As soon as you hit the apex, or know that you’re going to hit the apex, plant the throttle as hard as you can.
Focus on getting a good exit out of turn 10, keeping the car straight, and running over the outside kerb to straighten your exit. You can push the limits on the exit, riding over the serrated part of the kerb.
Losing time on the exit of turn 10 will hurt you all the way up to the next chicane.
This chicane is one of the trickier parts of the track to get right, as maintaining your speed and maximising exit speed is crucial.
On the approach, stay far left and brake hard just as you pass the start of the kerb on the left hand side.
You should look to turn in reasonably early, positioning your car over the inside kerb. How far you can cut this chicane depends on your car and setup.
As a good reference point, there is a large tree as you turn in which should be your reference point to aim towards. As you drive through turn 11, keep the car pointing at the large tree.
And then in a similar method to the first part of this chicane, position a good percentage of your car over the inside of the sausage kerb on turn 12.
It’s very easy to get in to a slide on the exit of turn 12, so try to keep your car as straight as possible, aiming for the kerb on the right hand side. Too much steering lock through turn 12 will almost always get you sideways.
You can take a lot of kerb on the exit, going beyond the red line. Try to keep your inside wheels just touching the racetrack and you should be fine.
Keep the throttle planted all the way through the exit of turn 12, trusting that your car wont run too far wide. And this should give you the perfect run down to the tricky braking zone of turn 14.
The approach to turn 14 is downhill, with turn 13 being a tricky, flat out right-hander. On your exit of turn 12, drift wide left for the flat out right hand turn 13.
You should keep a very tight line through turn 13 ensuring that you are as far right and as straight as possible on the entry to turn 14.
As soon as your car is straight and settled after turn 13, right around the 100 meter board, hit the brakes hard. Try to use shift down aggressively to slow your car down in to turn 14.
This braking zone is possibly the trickiest around the whole circuit, as your car will have a tendency to veer right under braking. This is why it’s crucial your car is straight before you brake.
Look for an early apex through turn 13, riding the kerb with roughly 50% of your car. This will allow your car to straighten up on the exit, ensuring you don’t drift wide and in to the gravel.
Partially accelerate through turn 13, and ride the whole of the run off kerb on your approach to turn 14. You will want a short, sharp dab of the brakes in to turn 14, while your car is positioned over the right hand kerb.
The kerb of turn 14 has two large sausage kerbs which you want to avoid hitting. Try a slightly later apex on the entry to the corner, giving you a better run down the long straight that follows.
You can run over the right hand kerb to straighten your car while keeping your throttle planted. Then keep your car in the middle and left of the track to minimise your route through the kinks.
Using the reference markers laid out above, should help you perfect your racing line. The amount of kerb you take through some of the corners will heavily depend on the car you are driving.
Cars such as the Mercedes-AMG Evo allow you to ride the kerbs much more aggressively when compared to cars like the McLaren 720s.
Below is our full track guide of Imola video. In this video I drive a complete lap of Imola and show you all of your braking points and where to position your car on track. Watch this video to improve your lap time around Imola.
Imola is a circuit which rewards aggressive driving like no other. There are a mixture of medium speed chicanes, and attacking the entry of these corners is crucial.
You should try to brake as late as possible on the entry to a few corners such as turns 5, 9 and 11.
The fastest away around almost any track is to shorten the circuit where possible, and reduce your corner angle. And around Imola that means riding the kerbs.
This tip very much flows from my tip above about being aggressive. And this also applies to every chicane on the track along with other corners such as turns 8, 14 and 15.
Almost every kerb around Imola can and should be hit hard. Many of these kerbs do feature larger sausage kerbs a little further in, so avoid hitting those. These will disrupt your car on the corner exit so try to get as close to these as possible without driving right over them.
Flowing once again from our tip above. My next tip is to ensure you are using all of the track at all times. And that includes the run off areas as well.
Many of the braking zones around Imola aren’t completely straight. For example, the braking zone in to turn 9 is on a downhill elevation, immediately after a fast left turn.
This corner requires you to sweep the car from the right side of the track, to the left, just before hitting the brakes for the quick right hander.
So from the sequence of turns 8, 9 and 10, you should be riding the kerb on the entry to 8, accelerate early which will push your car out to the right of the circuit. Then as soon as possible you need to position your car far left for the entry into 9.
On the entry in to turn 9 you will be trail braking, while trying to hit the apex and positioning your car over the inside kerb. Then you need to drift out to the left side of the track for the slower turn 10.
On the way in to turn 10 you once again should try to use a bit of kerb. Then accelerate while straightening the exit of turn 10, and using the whole of the run off area while accelerating.
That example of just one sequence of corners shows how crucial it is to use the entirety of the track around Imola including run off zones.
You can drive much less aggressively through this sequence to ensure your car is stable and positioned correctly. But you will be taking a hit on out right lap time.
As shown above, knowing where to position your car is the most crucial skill when trying to master tricky corner sequences.
When learning the track for the first time you should try to focus on getting the right line through each part of the circuit before pushing the braking limits.
I’d recommend following my tips above in the corner by corner section so you know exactly where to position your car. Drive the circuit at about 90-95% of your race speed, ensuring you are on the correct part of the track 100% of the time.
Then, once you gain confidence and consistency, start pushing more by braking later and later, and accelerating earlier.
Pretty much the most important aspect to finding time around Imola is to use all of the track, as I mentioned above. But by using all of the track and run off zones, you will quickly start to run in to track limits.
Learning the track limits around any track is important. But around a track like Imola where you will be driving over the run off area on most corners it’s even more important.
Imola is very forgiving with its track limits. Some tracks will penalise you and remove your lap time just by looking at a run off zone. Not Imola. Imola lets you drive aggressively and use the whole track.
Around many corners, including the turns 8, 9, 10 sequence I mentioned above, driving over the run off area is vital to gaining lap time.
Most of the corners around Imola let you position most of your car over the kerbs and run off areas before imposing a penalty.
As a general rule of thumb, the kerbs around Imola use the colours of the Italian flag on its run off zones. Driving over the first green, white and red lines is absolutely fine. It’s only when you position your car beyond the red line that you will start getting hit with invalidated lap times.
I’d recommend, while using the tips above about driving at 95% pace and learning the lap time. You should push your car out as wide as you can to learn where each corner’s limit is.
Corners to watch out for with track limits really are turn 8, turn 9, turn 10, turn 11 and turn 12. These are the corners which really invite you out wide on the exit. Or in the case of turns 11 and 12, you really need to cut as much as possible.
You can also easily invalidate your lap through turns 3 and 6 as you will be carrying decent speed. However the track limits on these corners are dictated by the gravel. So as long as you keep your car on the hard surfaces you will be fine.
The best cars around Imola in Assetto Corsa Competizione are the ones which handle the kerbs extremely well. These tend to be front engine cars such as the Mercedes-AMG and the Bentley Continental GT3.
Both of these cars are slightly heavier and both allow you to attack the kerbs aggressively.
Other cars to consider as some of the best around Imola are the Lexus RC-F for it’s straight line speed advantage, and the BMW M6. Again, the BMW M6 behaves in a similar way to the Mercedes-AMG, with both being heavy front-engine cars.
In real life, Imola has a GT3 lap record of 1:41.882 which was set in an Audi R8 LMS, by Dries Vanthoor. However in Assetto Corsa Competizione, the fastest lap time around Imola sits firmly in the low 1:40’s.
Below are a few guide times you should be looking at hitting to improve your mastery of Imola.
If you can get your lap time below a 1:41.000 you are well within alien territory.
On a hot lap in perfect conditions, with a good setup you can aim for a 1:41.500. This lap time will put you high on the leader boards, and well within the top 5% of sim racers.
During a longer endurance race, you should focus on consistency before speed. With this in mind, you wont be regularly hitting the fast lap times that you may be setting in qualifying or on a hot lap.
During a dry race, regularly setting lap times in the 1:43’s is very respectable. Of course, as conditions and grip levels vary this time will start to increase.