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Old 10th July 2010, 05:54   #1
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Default America's Best Road Courses

US is known for its oval tracks, but the less obvious truth is that it is also home to some of the finest road-racing courses in the world. The great circuits featured here generally date back to a time when racetracks were supposed to have elevation changes, blind corners, and distinct personalities. Most of the ones built in the past two decades are relatively similar to each other and essentially drama-free, designed to be safe rather than challenging. In the good old days, danger was an accepted part of the deal.

Road Atlanta

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WHERE IT IS: Braselton, Georgia

WHEN IT OPENED: September 1970

LENGTH, NUMBER OF TURNS: 2.54 miles, 12

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Old-timers swear this track was ruined in 1998 when new owner Don Panoz inserted a chicane into the long back straight, thus bypassing the infamous dip prior to the blind last corner.

But they’re wrong: This undulating ribbon is still one of the most exciting places to drive a car, any car. And it’s insanely quick. The only truly slow corners are the chicane and Turn Seven, which leads onto the back straight. We love the blind approach to Turn 12 and how you have to carry the precise amount of speed up the front straightaway into Turn One. The stretch out of that corner into Turn Five is like running through a huge soup ladle with curves in it.

It’s less than 50 miles from downtown Atlanta
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Old 10th July 2010, 09:08   #2
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I've raced at Road Atlanta in my shifter kart. An experience I cherish even today. What an awesome track!

Turn 2 is the best.
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Old 10th July 2010, 09:53   #3
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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
I've raced at Road Atlanta in my shifter kart. An experience I cherish even today. What an awesome track!

Turn 2 is the best.
wow. that must've been fun. got pix? put them up.
I went to road atlanta for a drift championship event.
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Old 10th July 2010, 20:08   #4
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I'll dig them out. There is also a Panoz racing school attached to the track with about 25 Porsche 911s lined up outside.
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Old 11th July 2010, 14:09   #5
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@14000RPM - What's this road course all about? Something got to do with the other thread on Nascar? Enlighten me pls. Tks.
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Old 11th July 2010, 19:23   #6
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@14000RPM - What's this road course all about? Something got to do with the other thread on Nascar? Enlighten me pls. Tks.
Now the term road course often is used as a catch-all phrase for any racetrack that is not an oval. this is particularly applicable in the US.
The rest of the world know a racetrack (which runs F1/Gp2/Moto GP etc) with only one definition but here in US, since Ovals are popular, the term Road Course is used. Road Courses do not have the bankings that Ovals have.
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Old 12th July 2010, 05:29   #7
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Default Infineon Raceway

WHERE IT IS: Sonoma, California

WHEN IT OPENED: December 1968

LENGTH, NUMBER OF TURNS: 2.53 miles, 12

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Once called Sears Point, the track features a tantalizing mixture of corners—many of them approached blind—and a significant amount of elevation change. Both NASCAR and the IRL use adulterated forms of the track, but the most popular layout is the original 2.53-mile plan that mixes the technical section from Turns One to Seven with the sphincter-tightening esses on the backside of the track. There’s no long straightaway, but Turn 11 becomes a good spot to overtake as it’s approached by the high-speed Turn 10 and a short back straight.

Like all the best U.S. tracks, there are subtleties to some sections that take repeated visits to learn. The right, left-right, and right flicks of Turns Two through Four seem simple enough, until the camber tries to spit you into the hillside every time around. And the approach to Turn Six is tricky: You turn in after cresting the brow of a hill, leading to many a missed apex.

Its home in Sonoma Valley is only 35 miles from San Francisco.

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Old 12th July 2010, 05:49   #8
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Default Virginia International Raceway

WHERE IS IT: Alton, Virginia

WHEN IT OPENED: August 1957; closed October 1974; reopened March 2000

LENGTH, NUMBER OF TURNS (FULL COURSE): 3.27 miles, 17
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this track is known to be the nearest thing to the Nürburgring’s fabled Nordschleife, It is used regularly by many automakers for high-performance development.
.... and it’s set in beautiful countryside.

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Old 12th July 2010, 06:24   #9
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What makes a track or a road course technical? Are all tracks technical? In what way? Appreciate to shed some light on this pls. Tks.
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:50   #10
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Default Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

WHERE IS IT: Monterey, California

WHEN IT OPENED: November 1957

LENGTH, NUMBER OF TURNS: 2.24 miles, 11


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Before 1988, when the track grew to incorporate two new turns, it was a ballsy, flat-out place. But the added tightness has made Laguna a technical challenge, with a mixture of slow, medium, and fast corners that flow together beautifully if you get it right. If you overdrive the track and have a bad day, your brain will explode trying to figure out where you’re losing the time.

the most favoured turns are the quickies—Four, Six, and Nine—but the most important corners are Five and 11 because they lead to the longest “straightaways” on the course. And then there’s the Corkscrew, the left-right corner that plunges downhill and is the course’s signature turn. The first few times through, you’ll think you’re falling off the planet, but, eventually, you’ll get the hang of it. We were always told to aim for a tree on the hillside opposite the corner but later found our gut feel more trustworthy.
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:57   #11
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Default Road America

WHERE IS IT: Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

WHEN IT OPENED: September 1955

LENGTH, NUMBER OF TURNS: 4.05 miles, 14


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This is one of America’s oldest permanent road circuits, and one of its most beautiful. Although the track’s facilities and access to viewing have steadily improved over the years, the track layout is basically unchanged, a tribute to the intelligence of the original designers. They made excellent use of the natural terrain, which features moderate elevation changes.

At 4.05 miles, Road America is one of the longest U.S. circuits—the Grand Course at Virginia International Raceway and the full course at Miller Motorsports Park are longer—but it’s very fast, so spectators don’t have to wait too long for the field to come around again. From a driver’s point of view, the most challenging turns—aside from the Kink—are the Six-Seven left-right combination at the top of the hill after Turn Five (the approach goes under a pedestrian bridge and is semi-blind) and the 13-13A combo following Canada Corner. The latter is a rhythm section, and the second half is a blind entry.

END OF THREAD....
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Old 2nd August 2010, 18:02   #12
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Laguna Seca rules man. I like Road Alanta as well, but it does not have the "Cockscrew" corner
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Old 2nd August 2010, 18:18   #13
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I believe most ovals can also double up as a road course if needed. I am sort of familiar with two ovals- the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the Daytona International Speedway and they can be modified to run as a road course as well. I have not driven on these modified road courses so I don't know how interesting they would be compared to a a track that was designed from scratch to be a road course like Elkhart Lake or Sonoma. I have driven on the H-M oval though and it was super fun.

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Old 3rd August 2010, 04:55   #14
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I believe most ovals can also double up as a road course if needed. I am sort of familiar with two ovals- the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the Daytona International Speedway and they can be modified to run as a road course as well. I have not driven on these modified road courses so I don't know how interesting they would be compared to a a track that was designed from scratch to be a road course like Elkhart Lake or Sonoma. I have driven on the H-M oval though and it was super fun.
you drove on the Miami speedway? more details please.

I've driven a NASCAR on the talladega speedway. the oval i.e
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