Chicane

Chicane

[shi-keyn, chi-]

A chicane is a sequence of tight serpentine curves (usually an S-shape curve or a bus stop) in a roadway, used in motor racing and on city streets to slow cars. On modern raceways, chicanes are usually located after long straightaways, making them a prime location for overtaking.

Some tracks, such as Portland International Raceway, feature optional chicanes. Faster cars will race with the chicane, but slower cars (such as amateur club racers) may avoid the chicane since the cars are not capable of developing excessive speed in the lengthened straightaway. Such chicanes are used at Watkins Glen International and Daytona International Speedway, where there is a car chicane and motorcycle chicane.

Another example of a chicane is on the Tsukuba Circuit, a Japanese track. A chicane was added after the 5th corner, creating a right turn, followed immediately by a left. This chicane is used only for motorcycle racing. It was implemented to divert motorcycles from taking the 6th corner, which is a high speed long sweeping left corner. The 6th corner was deemed unsafe for most motorcycles, as following the corner is a slow right hairpin corner. In most cases a motorcycle would still be leaning left when the rider should begin braking for the 7th corner, causing an unsafe right turn into the 7th corner.

The term is used in other types of racing, including bobsleigh and dogleg, to indicate a similar shift in the course or track.

"Mobile chicane" and "moving chicane" are terms describing a driver (usually a backmarker) who does not move out of the way of the front-runners quickly enough when about to be lapped (despite repeated showing of blue flag) and who thus creates problems (and sometimes costs valuable championship points, podiums and victories) for the driver behind. This same term, applied to traffic calming, can refer to the usage of portable devices to create a chicane configuration.

References

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