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Located just outside Stirling in the small vilage of Drummond, Scotland, is perhaps the home of the earliest known location of racing. Whether you consider it to be simple folklore, or to have some basis in reality, the valley has certainly held racing events since the 1950’s, but possibly for thousands of years.
Based around what is assumed to be a disused and abandoned military installation, and surrounded by the walls of the valley, Loch Drummond is a relatively slow speed and highly technical track of two layouts (1.2 and 1.97 miles), that can really punish with lost time over a whole lap, for a mistake in a single corner.
“Legend says the hills near Loch Drummond contain the bones of an ancient giant, and that his white knuckles reveal themselves through the weeds. He raced through the nearby valley on his feet, but his legs grew fat and slow from eating on those he had defeated. He fell one time, and he died where he lay.”
– Ancient Scottish tale, passed down through the generations by families living locally in Drummond.
The area was once thought to be a place of ancient religious ceremonies, centered around a small henge of rounded stones located at the foot of the valley. Many people considered the area to be haunted, and there are many stories of disappearances and sightings of unusual things going back thousands of years. By 1946 however, the area was largely deserted, with only a handful of local farmers working in the valley.
June 1947 saw a flurry of activity, when the British military constructed a base to handle radio traffic for the region. Of course, due to the location, there was some controversy, especially as the area saw little need for such an installation. Less than two months later, after a period of strange activity, the installation was abandoned, and it was found that the stone circle had been used as the foundations for a brick tower within the base.
As time went by, ‘Glen Station’ and many of the valley stories were forgotten by all but a few. It wasn’t until the mid-1950’s, when a young farmer’s son began to travel from Duns, Berwickshire, to race at both Loch Drummond and nearby Crimond, that the area saw life once more. Soon, a young gentleman’s racing club was formed and saw great success for the next decade, using a simple set of racing rules: “no contact, and show respect to your fellow competitors.”
Fully resurfaced in 1972, 1993 and 2008, the track also saw the addition of a new section in 2009, but could not attract high profile racing categories until safety improvements were made, and the dangerous runoff areas were widened. Sadly, the recent financial crisis of 2012 proved to be a tough challenge to overcome in terms of organizing the races, and covering the costs of recent improvements to the track. This saw the gentleman’s racing club (then known as GRC) sell the track to local racing enthusiast, John Livet, who has promised to make sure the legacy of the Gentleman’s Club carries on.
Loch Drummond has two roadcourse configurations.
Highly technical Short layout of 1.2 miles/1.93 kilometers. 11 turns (8 actual), plus kink, clockwise rotation.
Highly technical Long layout of 1.97 miles/3.17 kilometers. 16 turns (10 actual), plus kink, clockwise rotation.
A lap of Loch Drummond begins flying down the start/finish straight and thinking about getting your braking for the first left-hand bend. Unfortunately, you still have a right-hand kink to deal with, and in some cars, you may actually be braking as you are still turning right, so be smooth and try to reduce your steering as much as possible, while staying as far to the right as you can for the entry to the next series of corners.
After the kink, you drop down into a tight left hander that immediately leads into a long series of rights that you should ignore the apexes of, and can take flat out in some cars. Stay on the left of the curves to carry more speed, until finally exiting onto the short straight that brings you back towards the pit complex. Hit that last apex on exit, and keep there, staying to the right down the short straight towards the slow 90° left-hander behind the pits.
On the long layout, the 90° left requires a good exit, as it is followed by the second of only three really noticeable straights on the whole track. Stay on the right of that straight and ready yourself for a difficult braking zone that dips down towards the apex of a tight left-hander. That left leads immediately into an uphill right which exits onto another very short straight. When exiting, use every bit of that kerb and even some grass as you to try to straightline it, gaining as much speed as you can.
After the second short straight, probably one of the most difficult corners on the track, a right hand bend that just won’t end. Ignore apexes again until very late, then use every bit of the kerb on exit as well, maximizing straightline speed for the third short straight, bringing you back towards the back of the pit complex and a heavy braking zone.
One of the toughest corners of either layout again, the left at the end of that straight is very important. It is easily the slowest turn, and again if you miss the apex and run wide, the rest of your lap can be ruined ruined as there will be far more grip on the racing line. Stay to the right on the straight before it, brake hard and turn in, bearing in-mind that the corner keeps going a lot longer than you expect it to. As you round the turn, bear in mind you have a right, right, right combination immediately after it, try to exit as far left as you can for the next right.
With the 90° left-hander and the following corners, you need to get as close to the apex as possible for each. One missed apex for the rest of the short layout at Loch Drummond means a reduction in speed and an improper line for the following turn, making it very easy to run wide on exit. The 90° left flows direct into a right, left, right, right, right combination that really can’t be broken up, or give any time for rest until the start/finish line.
The Loch Drummond fictional track is a free addon for our racing simulation rFactor2. Download it here.