Autodromo Nazionale Monza, better known as The Temple of Speed, is a historic circuit situated near Milan, Italy. Here are some quick facts before we guide you around a lap:
- The track was built in 1922 and has been the home of the Italian Grand Prix since its inception in 1950.
- It is one of the fastest tracks on the Formula 1 calendar, with average speeds of over 250 km/h.
- The track is 5.793 kilometres in length
- Consists of 11 corners (seven right-hand corners and four left-hand corners)
- GT3 top speed at Monza is 260 – 265 kph
- Home to many historic moments in motorsport, including Ferrari’s first-ever Grand Prix win in 1951.
In this track guide, we will focus on giving you a comprehensive understanding of this legendary circuit and its technical corners. We’ll be taking a look at racing lines, braking points, where to hit the apex, when to get on the throttle and using your vision to maximize your exits and avoid off-tracks.
Turn 1 and 2 (Variante del Rettifilo)
One of the best spots for overtaking, Turn 1 and 2 at Monza is a tight right-left chicane that requires heavy braking and multiple downshifts. You approach the chicane at very high speeds from the long start/finish straight, so it is key to spot your braking marker early.
Heading into T1, stay to the left-hand side and look for your braking reference, which is just before the 150-metre board. Brake hard and keep the car in a straight line, using aggressive and quick downshifts to maximize engine braking. First or second gear will be ideal at the first apex, depending on your car.
Heading deeper into the braking phase and closer to the corner, a little patch of astroturf becomes visible. Use this as a reference for where to turn in. Just as the front of your car reaches it, start to turn in and aim for a late apex. You’ll find that you have to trail brake all the way into the first apex if you started braking at the right point, where you’ll then hug the flat inside curb whilst avoiding the sausage curbing that will bounce the car around just beyond it.
Immediately give the throttle a little squirt before rolling off and dabbing the brake to make the second apex, which you have to crank on the steering lock to reach. The key is to be on top of the weight transfer and to position the car which allows you to straighten the wheel early, and maximise the exit.
Once the car is pointing towards the second apex, immediately try and feed the power on progressively. Avoid the inside sausage curb once again as it will cause Traction Control (TC) intervention as it bounces the car around in what is a very heavy traction zone.
As you start to feed the throttle on, unwind and open up the steering. The exit curb can be used but beware of abusing it and dipping a wheel into the gravel. The curb, if used too much, is also very bumpy and can cause TC intervention.
Turn 3 (Curva Grande)
Turn 3 is a long, sweeping right-hand turn that leads onto a straight. It’s easily done flat-out but can be very deceptive if you are not careful.
Heading into the sweep, try to keep your steering very smooth and hug the inside curbing. Even as the curb ends, keep your steering lock on to stay close to the right-hand side of the track. Opening up your steering and using all the road just means you are covering more distance as you will need to come back over to the right side for the next corner, Variante della Roggia.
Turn 4 and 5 (Variante della Roggia)
Turns 4 and 5 make up another tricky chicane to navigate. It’s a tight left-right combo but the thought process behind attacking it quickly and efficiently is the same as before. Think about how you want to exit the sequence with the best speeds rather than entering it with the best speed.
Stay on the right-hand side for the entry of the chicane. Spot your braking marker, which is, in this case, just after the 150-metre board and the orange block on the armco barrier signalling a marshall’s post. Brake hard and downshift to second gear whilst aiming for a late apex just wide of the orange sausage curb – although you can use all of the striped curbing.
Remember to stay as left as possible to open up the second apex, which, ideally, you want to take at least half throttle into to carry the momentum through the corner and get a good exit. Make sure to avoid the sausage curb on the inside which will launch the car into the air and cost you a significant chunk of lap time, and then use the whole exit curb right up to the edge if needed on exit.
Remember, if you have to roll off the throttle completely for Turn 5, then you carried too much speed through Turn 4.
Turn 6 (Curva di Lesmo 1)
Turn 6 is a long medium-speed right-hand corner that can be tricky due to perfect due to the lack of reference points throughout.
Entering the corner, stay to the left and look out for the orange marshall’s post on the inside armco barrier. Brake and downshift to third gear just before this (roughly at the 50-metre mark) and start to turn in as you pass that marker. Keep the car tight to the inside curbing and retain your momentum until you reach the apex, which is where the inside armco barrier ends. The road is also slightly cambered and dips down as you reach your apex point.
At this point, get hard on the throttle to maximize your exit speed and aim to use all the exit curb as well as the available astroturf. Track cuts are very lenient here so use as much as you can.
Turn 7 (Curva di Lesmo 2)
Turn 7 is a short right-hand turn that leads onto a long straight. The second Lesmo is shorter and tighter than the first and has a similar slight camber which can be used to generate more grip.
Use the 50-metre board as a braking reference and downshift down to third gear. Aim for a mid-to-late apex and be wary of the inside curb depending on what car you are using. Most cars prefer to use the painted part of the curb as venturing any further to the inside can cause TC intervention.
Attack the exit in a similar manner to Lesmo 1, using all of the painted curbing and astroturf. Both are okay to use so try to maximize your speed down the straight and use all available runoff possible.
Turn 8,9 and 10 (Variante Ascari)
Turns 8, 9 and 10 make up a tricky sequence to navigate which requires lots of precision at high speed. Your approach to Variante Ascari has to be all about getting the very best exit possible due to the long straight that follows, so sacrificing the entry phase is, ultimately, recommended.
For the first left-hander, keep right and focus on your braking marker, which will once again be the orange-painted square on the armco barrier. Downshift to third gear, and look far ahead to allow yourself time to anticipate the flow and weight transfer of the sequence. Heading into the Turn 8, make sure to use the inside curbs which are deceivingly flat. Aim to get your inside tyres over the middle black and yellow sausage curb which doesn’t upset the car too badly. You can carry lots of speed in, but again, avoid using excessive amounts as it will make the next part of the sequence too tight, causing you to lose time.
After the first part of Variante Ascari, try to maintain momentum by staying as close as is viable to full throttle through the right-hander. If you don’t use the throttle too ambitiously through Turn 9, it will open up the entry for the last short apex left-hander. Stay tight to the inside, but be careful as the deceptive sausage curbs can unsettle the car.
Once the car is settled again and you are positioned to attack the apex, get onto the power and shift up to fourth just before the centre of Turn 10. You can use the inside curb aggressively, but again, it’s dependent on your car and setup. Try to get your inside wheel onto the black and yellow sausage curbs so that you float the curb instead of hitting it. On exit, use the outside curb and astroturf and abuse it as much as possible.
Turn 11 (Curva Parabolica)
Turn 11 is a long U-shaped right-hand corner. The entry and exit are critical as it’s the last corner of the lap and the speed you carry takes you all the way down the long start and finish straight.
Heading into the braking zone, look out for the 100-metre on the left hand side. Keep the car in a straight line and only start turning in as you pass the 50-metre board. Keep trail braking all the way into the apex while timing your gear shifts down to third gear. Catch an early apex and hug the inside curb initially.
Slow the car down enough that you can get on the power nice and early, but always apply the throttle progressively. Getting on the throttle too hard will cause a lot of speed to be scrubbed off, as you’ll still be applying a decent amount of steering angle at the apex.
As the car starts to hook and you can feel it is stable, apply more throttle and unwind the steering to make use of all the road on the outside. The only caution is the yellow sausage curb waiting just outside of the astroturf on the run-off area. Avoid this, but otherwise use as much runoff as the sim allows. This will give you the best possible speed down the following straight and concludes a fast lap of the Temple of Speed.