You have seen her from a distance, or been surprised when she suddenly sprung up at you out of nowhere. At first you'll take things slowly because you don't want anyone to get hurt, but once you get to know her, you'll start to push boundaries until you're completely out of control. And while the rush can often all be over in just a few seconds, you know she'll always be there for you the next time you come round.
Yep, there's a lot to be said for a great corner. So here are eight corners in racing games you simply must drive around before you die. Gotta drift 'em all!
Before we start, we should make the distinction between great corners and great looking corners. For instance, this:
Above: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! Can't wait to drive around that!
...turns into this:
Above: Oh. It's nothing like I expected. Boo!
You'll find this little tease in Daytona USA's Dinosaur Canyon. As you come over the hill and look upon its sultry curves, you have to say 'wow'. But it's actually an optical illusion. What looks like being the most amazing sweeping corner you've ever driven through turns out to be disappointingly flat when you get up close and personal. Not only that, you simply cannot slide around it properly no matter how hard you jab the throttle and mash the gears. A huge disappointment.
So now you know what isn't a great corner, let's see what is:
Gran Turismo 2 onwards: Laguna Seca Corkscrew
This corner is amazing because it's REAL. And sure, I hear you naysayers whingeing and whimpering that it's actually two corners and therefore not a 'best corner' at all, but I say it having two corners just makes it doubly awesome.
It's probably the least noob-friendly corner in any racing game. Even drivers who never brake and so spend most of their time crawling along the gravel traps will approach it at mega speed because it's got a long straight before it. There's hardly anything that says 'brake now' as you hit the crest of the hill.
The apex to both corners lies behind the brow of the hill, so you're going in blind every time. To cap it off, the elevation of the road makes even that second corner satisfying to negotiate, as you clunk down onto it like some kind of… satisfying clunky thing.
Above: Those kerbs are making this Martini shaken, but not stirred
Dirt 2: London Battersea right-hander
The DiRT 2 Battersea right-hander was absolutely made for showing off. Firstly, most people don't realise they should be slowing down for it before they can see it. It's sneaky like that. So while they're shouting obscenities at the run-off area (which won't even let them back on with its solid wall), you can be blazing off down the next straight.
But it doesn't stop there. You can even use it to make enemies! (Erm… yay?) Why not show off by locking the hand brake to spin 450 degrees (that's right round, one and a quarter times, fraction fans), to emerge facing the straight after the corner and driving straight through. No-one likes a show-off, especially one who uses a corner to make them look stupid.
Above: That is one hell of a slide. Go ahead, get completely sideways - it's the only way to do it quickly
Sega Rally – Lakeside left-hander
Of all the corners in Sega Rally, the best is one actually the least brazen. Other corners say 'look at me, I'm awesuuuuuum' but this one just sits there quietly, pretending it's nothing special. But we know its secret.
The great thing is, you can almost get through it flat out. But not quite. Factor in the Lakeside course's incredibly harsh speed-sapping trackside walls and suddenly it all matters that little bit more. As a result, it's great fun to see how close to flat you can manage each time you encounter it. It does depend on your definition of fun, of course. I'd say it's somewhere between popping the foil on a jar of coffee and listening to girls talk about boobs.
Above: The fact it goes ever-so-slightly downhill is genius. Forget Einstein - these are revolutionary physics
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec - Seattle chicane
This corner is pretty much the turn you make between corners. You tackle a 90-degree right-hander, only to realise you have to continue turning to meet the apex of the following chicane.
As if this masterpiece of track design wasn't awesome enough, you clatter over tram lines in the road as you slide into the chicane's first turn. The tyres struggle for grip as they bounce over the metal, the car moves up over those big kerbs like a poetic maelstrom of ecstasy and your brain makes approving tingly sensations just to make it clear that this is one hell of a corner.
Above: I'll admit, it doesn't look like much. I'd even go so far as to say it looks very, very dull. But it's not