Road America is one of those brilliant race circuits that deserves its status as a classic. Top tier American single seater action returns to the track for the first time since 2007, with IndyCar racing around it this weekend. Here’s what makes the track so awesome!
The 4.048-mile Road America track layout remains pretty much unchanged from its original layout, which started hosting races back in 1955. That’s a rarity in the modern motorsport world and it retains all of the old school charm, with a classic, flowing vibe – something that is missing on many new tracks.
One of the more attractive features of Road America, which ties in well with the first point, is the amount of elevation change over the course of the lap. There are constant rises and falls at the track, giving it even more quirkiness and character. The most famous is the uphill run to the finish line on the main straight. These are the kind of features we like to see on a race circuit!
The Road America track is the venue for many top racing championships, including the IndyCar series – the return of top tier American single-seater racing after Champ Car’s last race in 2007 – and the Nascar Xfinity championship (yes, they don’t just turn left!). There’s also the Pirelli World Challenge, MotoAmerica and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Because of its classic characteristics, the Road America track is ferociously fast. Like, really quick, and with some brilliant, high-speed corners too – particularly towards the end of the lap. From the exit of Turn 10 to the final corner, it’s all very quick, flowing and tricky. There are also several long straights, which really push engines to the max.
As well as some seriously fast turns, there are also several really tricky, more technical parts of the track. The ‘Carousel’ is a ridiculously long right-hander, which is undoubtedly one of the most difficult sections to master. There’s also Turn 5, a slow left-hander that follows a long straight. These are just a few of the challenges drivers face on a lap of Road America!
The Road America is like Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (but with more history and character of course) in that it features a real mix of corner types and straights, meaning it is a true test of a car. It puts the whole package under intense pressure and helps prove which racing machines and drivers have the edge.
As it is an older, more historic circuit, Road America has a pretty bumpy track surface, as the IndyCar onboard above from a recent test shows! This is just one of the many elements that make this track so challenging and such a favourite for drivers.
With all of these old school characteristics and mixture of demands, it’s no surprise Road America makes a pretty awesome track and the racing it produces is always eventful and exciting. When the long straights, slow corners and fast sections are all brought together, it throws up a whole host of challenges for the drivers and really bodes itself well to wheel-to-wheel action. Which is good for us, obviously.