How to Set a Killer Lap Time Around Cayuga (Toronto Motorsports Park)

The Toronto Motorsports Park, commonly referred to as Cayuga, is possibly the most popular racetrack in the Toronto area for tire-slaying enthusiasts. It’s fairly short, reasonably “low speed,” perfectly flat, and has tons of run-off making it a great place to start your track day addiction. Between April and October, they host four-hour evening lapping sessions for $100, along with full-day sessions for $160. There’s a gas station around the corner, food available on site, and, the staff are friendly. Plus, they don’t even mandate the use of helmets in hardtop vehicles (although we’d recommend using one in any case).

So, you’ve paid your dues, and now you have four hours of speed-limitless pavement at your disposal. Here comes that hard part – being fast. No matter how many videos you watch, or research you do, it’s going to take experimentation and a whole lot of practice. Here’s a guide we’ve put together based on personal lapping experience, and other accounts that will work loosely for most cars.

Disclaimer: If setting record breaking lap records could be achieved by simply reading a guide, racing wouldn't be considered the art that it is. On that note, these lines might not work for you and your car whatsoever. We hope it helps you clean up your lines and shave off seconds, but at the end of the day, it's built on the personal experience and expertise of fellow amateur drivers.

Turn One

Come into the corner as close to the wall as possible, and as you approach, you’ll pass four white braking point markers. If you begin braking at the first marker, you’ll stop before you even reach the corner. Most people will begin braking before the third and second marker back from the apex. Be wary though, as you’re braking from the highest speed found on this track. Low horsepower (under 200hp) will usually hit 140kph here, while higher horsepower cars will see speeds closer to 180kph.

Once you’ve got your braking done, turn in, get as close to the curb as possible and hit the apex mid-corner. We wouldn’t suggest jumping the curb here, as it’s steep enough to cause damage. On corner exit, you’ll find a rumble strip to your left, usually marked by a cone. Once you hit the apex, stare straight ahead at the cone sitting on corner exit.  Point the car straight towards it, and you should exit with your left tires over that rumble strip. The idea here is to make your turn radius as wide as possible, so carry as much speed through.

Turn Two

Like turn one, turn two has two painted white lines representing different braking points, however even the furthest braking point is still quite close to the corner. This is also a fast corner, so it’s probably a good idea to begin braking before the first white line while you’re still getting accustomed to the track.

After turn two, the track gets more technical, so the idea here is ‘fast in, slow out’. Turn in late for a late apex. The fastest way around here is to hop the curb located at the apex and get close to the edge of the track on corner exit. This will set you up for turn three.

Turn Three

The stretch of track after turn three can be treated like a straight, so the goal is to exit turn three with as much speed as possible. (slow in, fast out) Turn in and hit the apex slightly late. On exit, don’t wander all the way over to the left side as turn four is a gentle left hand turn, and it’ll come quickly after turn three.

Turn Four

Turn four is a gentle left hander. You probably won’t need to brake, but rather lift off the gas and jump over the rumble strip found at the middle of the apex.  After turn four, turn five will come immediately after, so stay to the right and approach turn five from the inside of the corner.

Turn Five

In a perfect world, you would want to enter turn five wide for a late apex, in order to carry as much speed into the next straight as possible. However, because turn five comes so quickly after turn four, there isn’t a lot of time to get over to the left. The solution is then to enter turn five early, hit the apex early, and hit the rumble strip to your left on exit.  

There is (last time we were there) a slight rut in the ground just before that rumble strip, and if you go too wide on exit and hit that rut, you could get into trouble.

Turn Six

When approaching turn six, there’s the temptation to move abruptly to the right after turn five. However, I’ve found that drawing a perfectly straight line from the exit of turn five and the braking zone of turn six yields better results, as you aren’t bleeding off speed moving over quickly. Like turns one and two, turn six has white markings in order to help identify braking points. As always, break early and move your braking point later as you get comfortable. Because the straight approaching turn six is fairly short, I’ve found that you can actually brake quite close to the furthest white line without issue.

The trick to turn six is slow-in, fast-out. A long straight follows turn six so you want to exit at the highest speed possible. Come into turn six wide for a late apex. A cone is usually placed near the end of the rumble-strip protecting the inside of turn six, which gives you an idea of where you should reach the apex. Upon exit, you’ll find a rumble strip to your right. Get it correct, and you’ll end up with your right tires on this rumble strip.

Turn Seven

The straight between turns six and seven features a gentle kink that you can generally get through without lifting. Turn in gently, run your left tires over the left rumble strip and your right tires over the right rumble strip. There’s a problem here though: In most cars, unless you really know what you’re doing, breaking after the kink is too close to the corner. Hard braking over rumbles stipes however could unsettle the car. Our suggestion: either lift off, or start breaking gently while going through the kink, then begin braking hard after it. This has a lot to do with horsepower – low horsepower cars with lots of grip often go flat out through here.

The inside of turn seven features a gentle sloping curb on the inside of the apex. The fastest way through is to jump the curb, hitting the apex slightly early. (fast in, slow out — the next turn comes up quickly) Cones are usually laid out visually remind you where to turn in, where to hit the apex, and where to exit the turn.  After turn seven, turn eight comes quickly so get back over to the left to set up for the next right turn.

Turn Eight

Turn eight leads into a faster straight, so you’ll be prioritizing exit speed over entry speed.  Enter turn eight wide to set up for a late apex. Like turn seven, cones are usually laid out which represent your turn-in point, apex point, and corner exit point. It’s also a closing radius turn, so if you come into here too fast you’ll get into trouble as it tightens. Turn nine is a gentle left-hand turn, so get over to the right after corner exit, to set up for it.

Turn Nine

Turn nine is similar to turn four, in that you shouldn’t need to brake, but rather lift off the gas in order to get through the gentle left hander. In low horsepower cars, you’ll probably manage to get through here flat-out. Approach from the right, hit the apex in the middle of the turn, and exit in the middle of the track as turn ten, a slow right hand turn will come quickly after.

Turn Ten

Both turn ten and eleven need to be taken with the goal in mind of entering Cayuga’s longest straight at the highest possible speed. Approach from the left and hit the apex of turn ten slightly early. This will get you over to the left on corner exit, in order to enter turn eleven wide.

Turn Eleven

Cayuga is generally seen as a forgiving track. There’s only one turn you cannot under any circumstance screw up, and that’s turn eleven, due to the unforgiving wall that awaits you on corner exit. Like turn five, the idea here is to make turn eleven into as much of a straight as possible.  Enter wide, jump the smooth curb that sits on the inside of turn eleven and hit the apex late. (slow in, fast out) On exit, try to use up as much of the track as possible, getting as close to the wall as your nerves will allow. I have heard people mention that there is a slight bump in the track if you go very wide, so hug the apex. You’ll be hitting the official ‘finish line’ shortly after, in time to start the whole thing all over again.

Get everything right, and you'll be challenging this guy. (maybe.. probably not)

You can find a high resolution copy of our full map of Cayuga here. 

Happy lapping!