What is an Apex in Racing and How to Drive it

An Apex is the part of the corner in which the driver is closest to the kerb. Most of the time this happens on the inside of a corner, but can in rare occurrences also be on the outside. In this article, you will find out everything you need about apexes in racing.

Watch the article as a YouTube video here!

Single, Double and Triple Apexes.

Apexes can appear as single, double or triple variants.

A single apex is usually either in the middle of the corner or, it can be driven late.

Typically speaking corners with less than 120° turning are singles. This depends, though, on the length of the corner. A short start-stop corner is always a single while longer, higher radius curves might be driven as doubles.

Circuit Zolder Turn 4 - Green is a standard apex while red is a late apex.
Green is standard while red is a late apex.
Dunlop Kehre at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit showing a double apex.

A double apex implies coming close to the kerb twice, once at the start of a corner and once and the end.

This typically occurs at hairpins and high radius corners with more than 120° turning.

A triple apex is a rare occurrence, I can only think of one specific example which is the Galgenkopf at the Nordschleife, the corner right before the Döttinger Höhe straight. This example is driven with 2 inside apexes with an outside crest in between.

The Galgenkopf at the legendary Nordschleife.

But what does an apex mean in terms of driving?

Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit turn 10 shows a standard middle apex.

An apex is always a point at which some of your inputs change. On a single in the middle of a corner, it is generally the point before during which you have to be done with braking. After this point, you can start accelerating.

At a late apex, the crest is the point at which you either start fully accelerating or have to be fully on the accelerator already. Which of the two depends on your vehicles traction control, drive-type and a few other factors.

Circuit Zolder's turn 4 is a classic example for a late apex.
The Dunlop Kehre at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit shows a double apex and the required inputs.

On a double apex, generally speaking, the first apex should be a point of very little to no braking anymore, as you are trail braking into the corner. The point in the middle of the two apexes is then the conversion from the braking zone to the accelerating zone. The 2nd apex works like a late apex.

How to figure out which kind of apex is the correct one for a corner?

There are 2 ways you can reach your goal of finding the correct line. Either by trial and error or by studying the lines of other drivers. Both ways rely on the saying “Experience is the best teacher”. Either you build your own experience by trying out different lines or you let others’ experiences be your teacher.

Generally, when a longer flat-out section happens after a corner, a late or double apex is the better choice. The reason for this is that hitting the kerb late assures you a better run out of the corner. Whether to take a late or double apex relies on your vehicle’s acceleration abilities. Cars like TCRs generally require more speed to be carried into the corner and therefore go for a wide entry-late crest. Conversely, GT3 spec cars generally have good enough acceleration to take a corner, usually a hairpin, in a double apex formation.

The Bilstein Kurve at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit is a classic example for a late apex, since afterwards a long flat-out section occurs.

3 more Things Before the End:

If you have a hairpin, you usually take it in a double or single apex, depending on your car as just explained. Taking it in a single apex is colloquially called a “U” while a double apex is referred to as a “V”. This is because the driving lines respectively resemble these letters.

Double apex inputs shown in Zolders first chicane.

Furthermore, a chicane can be viewed as one corner in which case you usually take it as a double apex. Using Zolder’s first chicane as an example, the left-hander is apex 1 and the right-hander apex 2. The rules of double apexes I explained before therefore apply as well.

Lastly, you may be thinking “Can’t there be an early apex as well?”. Yes there can be, but that is usually a driving line error or just defensive driving.

One great way to learn how to exactly take every corner on a racetrack is by using RaceRooms leaderboard challenge. You can challenge either a ghost of another driver or only the ghosts driving line. This can give you a great overview on how a faster driver takes the corners and you may be able to apply those to your own driving, improving your racing.

If you have any questions regarding apexes, feel free to leave a comment under the video and join our discord to ask any question that comes to mind really. Thank you for reading and see you on the racetracc.

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