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CATEGORIES (articles) > Motor Sport > Terminology > Chicane explained

Chicane explained

The Ford Motor Company chicane at Le Mans

A chicane (originally meaning subterfuge) is a sequence of tight serpentine curves (usually an S-shape curve or a bus stop) in a roadway, used in auto racing and on city streets to slow cars. These are usually located after long straightaways, so that they are one of the best spots for overtaking in modern racing.

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 lengthend straightaway. Such chicanes are used at Watkins Glen International and Daytona International Speedway, where there is a car chicane and motorcycle chicane.

The term is used in other types of racing, including bobsleigh, 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.

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