Road Atlanta

Road Atlanta (known for sponsorship reasons as Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta) is a 2.540 mi (4.088 km) road course located just north of Braselton, Georgia, United States. The facility is utilized for a wide variety of events, including professional and amateur sports car and motorcycle races, racing and driving schools, corporate programs and testing for motorsports teams. The track has 12 turns, including the famous "esses" between turns three and five; and Turn 12, a downhill, diving turn. The track is owned by IMSA Holdings, LLC through its subsidiary Road Atlanta, LLC, and is the home to the Petit Le Mans, as well as AMA motorcycle racing, and smaller events throughout the year. Michelin acquired naming rights to the facility in 2018.[1]

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta logo.svg
Road Atlanta track map.svg
LocationHall County, Georgia, United States
Time zoneUTC-5 (UTC-4 DST)
Coordinates34°8′48″N 83°49′4″W / 34.14667°N 83.81778°W / 34.14667; -83.81778Coordinates: 34°8′48″N 83°49′4″W / 34.14667°N 83.81778°W / 34.14667; -83.81778
FIA Grade2
OwnerNASCAR via IMSA Holdings, LLC (2012–present)
Broke ground1969
OpenedSeptember 13, 1970; 52 years ago (1970-09-13)
Former namesRoad Atlanta (1970–2018)
Major eventsCurrent:
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Petit Le Mans (1998–present)
Grand Prix of Atlanta (1973–1992, 1994–1999, 2003, 2005, 2013, 2020)
MotoAmerica (1980, 1987, 1989–1990, 1998–2010, 2012, 2015–present)
Trans-Am Series (1972–1973, 1982, 1984, 1986–1987, 1989–1990, 1993–1995, 1999, 2002, 2009–present)
Former:
FR Americas (2018–2019, 2021)
Pirelli World Challenge (1990, 1993–1995, 1999–2009, 2011)
NASCAR Xfinity Series (1986–1987)
Can-Am Road Atlanta Can-Am
(1970–1974, 1978–1980, 1982, 1984)
Star Mazda (2004–2010, 2012)
Grand Prix Course (1998–present)
SurfaceAsphalt
Length2.540 miles (4.088 km)
Turns12
Race lap record1:07.056 (Austria Christian Klien, Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, 2008, LMP1)
Motorcycle Course (2008–present)
SurfaceAsphalt
Length2.550 miles (4.104 km)
Turns12
Race lap record1:23.421 (United States Ben Spies, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 2008, AMA Superbike)
Original Course (1970–1997)
SurfaceAsphalt
Length2.520 miles (4.055 km)
Turns12
Race lap record1:08.639 (United States Davy Jones, Jaguar XJR-14, 1992, IMSA GTP)
Websitewww.roadatlanta.com

HistoryEdit

 
Generic logo (used since 1998)

In 1969, David Sloyer, Earl Walker, and Arthur Montgomery purchased a 750 acres (300 ha) plot of farmland in Braselton, Georgia, with the intent to build a world-class road racing facility. When a Can-Am race had to be canceled due to flood damage, the series organizers chose Road Atlanta to replace it. The track then began to take form quickly, taking only six months to excavate, grade, and pave the road course.

 
The esses during practice for the 2006 Petit Le Mans.

The first race was held on September 13, 1970. Vic Elford, in a Chaparral 2J, won pole and Tony Dean, in a Porsche 908/02, won the 300 km Can-Am event, with Stirling Moss as the Grand Marshal. Throughout the 1970s, more top-level series came to Road Atlanta, including Can-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA Camel GT, and Trans-Am.[2] The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) held their annual national championship, the SCCA Runoffs, at Road Atlanta from 1970 to 1993.[3] The first road race in NASCAR Busch Grand National Series history took place at Road Atlanta in 1986.[4]

The track was sold in 1978, and was passed from one owner to the next—culminating in bankruptcy in 1993 under the Whittington Brothers (Don & Bill). Business executives Frank Drendel, Jim Kanely, Eddie Edwards, George Nuse, and Bill Waddell formed a partnership to purchase the track. They spent the next three years making gradual improvements to the facility. New buildings were constructed, others were renovated, the track was widened and resurfaced and the grounds were landscaped.

In November 1996, Don Panoz purchased the track and made Braselton the base of operations for his motorsports-related ventures. Panoz introduced the first major changes to the track, removing the Dip and creating a chicane at the end of the long back straight. These changes brought the track up to FIA standards, so that international events could be held. A new pit and paddock area was also constructed on the infield side of the track, allowing for larger events, and a 10,000-seat terrace area was constructed around the new Turn 10 complex.

In 1998, major racing resumed at Road Atlanta with the first edition of the Petit Le Mans endurance race. The race attracted worldwide attention, and included entries from the Le Mans-winning Porsche factory team. The race would be the first race of the American Le Mans Series and included a spectacular accident where a Porsche 911 GT1 backflipped and flew into the side barriers. Petit has continued to be an annual event at Road Atlanta, and a marquee event in the ALMS.

Prior to the 2007 Petit Le Mans, the entire track surface was repaved. The works also included moving the walls in the esses away from the track, with the intention of improved driver safety and better sight lines for spectators.[5] In the late winter of 2007/2008, the circuit was again modified with the reconfiguration of turns 4 and 12, for the ostensible safety benefit of motorcycle racers (the racing line for cars remained essentially unchanged).

In April 2008, Road Atlanta hosted the 4th stage of the Tour de Georgia, one of the largest cycling stage races in the United States. The stage was run using standard racing bikes instead of the more aerodynamic time trial bikes. Slipstream Chipotle won the stage with a time of 19:38.86, while Astana and Team High Road finished second and third respectively. Used in local cycling events, the circuit is run counterclockwise (in reverse), owing to safety issues from the downhill Turn 11 to Turn 12, creating a steep climb from Turn 12 to Turn 11, and a much safer route for cycling.

The October 2008 Petit Le Mans had a four-day crowd of 113,000 people with an average weekend crowd of nearly 80,000 fans.[6] The race entry list includes a number of new and returning cars.

In September 2012, the track was purchased by IMSA Holdings as part of its acquisition of Panoz Motor Sports Group. The intention was to combine the Grand AM and American Le Mans Series. NASCAR K&N series has announced a return to the track in October 2013 as part of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

In December 2017, the track hosted its first 24 Hours of LeMons event, the Kim Harmon Scrotium 500. The series is also scheduled to return in 2018.[7]

In 2019, the track became Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta after Michelin and IMSA Holdings announced the naming rights agreement.[8]

In 2020, Michelin Raceway hosted the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler: Extreme Hill Edition and 4k Races because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In gamingEdit

The track was first included in the 1999 PC racing simulator Sports Car GT. Road Atlanta is featured in the Xbox video game Forza Motorsport[9] and all its subsequent entries.[10]

The track was also digitally created for Electronic Arts' F1 series ('01'02), then modded to be compatible with multiple PC games. Scratch-made versions of the track have also been created for rFactor, Papyrus' NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and BeamNG.drive. It also appears in the PlayStation 2 game Le Mans 24 Hours and on iRacing.com.[10]

In November 2022, the track was added to the PlayStation game Gran Turismo 7. The track was added to the game as part of update 1.26, which was released to mark the series' 25th anniversary.[11]

Lap recordsEdit

The fastest official race lap records at Road Atlanta for different classes are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Grand Prix Course: 4.088 km (1998–present)
F1 (unofficial) 1:01.200[12] Marc Gené Ferrari F2003-GA 2018 Ferrari Corsa Clienti[13][14]
LMP1 (official) 1:07.056[15] Christian Klien Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 2008 Petit Le Mans
LMP2 1:08.489[15] Ryan Briscoe Porsche RS Spyder Evo 2008 Petit Le Mans
DPi 1:08.869[16] Felipe Nasr Cadillac DPi-V.R 2019 Petit Le Mans
LMP900 1:11.782[17] Allan McNish Audi R8 2000 Petit Le Mans
LMP 1:12.653[18] J.J. Lehto BMW V12 LMR 1999 Petit Le Mans
LMP675 1:12.781[19] James Weaver Lola EX257 2002 Petit Le Mans
DP 1:13.478[20] Olivier Pla Ligier JS P2 2016 Petit Le Mans
GT1 (Prototype) 1:15.239[21] Allan McNish Porsche 911 GT1-98 1998 Petit Le Mans
WSC 1:15.510[22] Didier Theys Ferrari 333 SP 1998 Sports Car Grand Prix of Road Atlanta
Formula Atlantic 1:15.563[23] Jonathan Summerton Swift 016.a 2009 Road Atlanta Atlantic Championship round
LMPC 1:15.871[20] Jack Hawksworth Oreca FLM09 2014 Petit Le Mans
LMP3 1:15.942[16] Garett Grist Ligier JS P320 2021 Petit Le Mans
LM GTE 1:16.233[16] Alexander Sims Chevrolet Corvette C8.R 2021 Petit Le Mans
GT1 (GTS) 1:17.053[15] Jan Magnussen Chevrolet Corvette C6.R 2008 Petit Le Mans
Formula Regional 1:18.707[24] Kyle Kirkwood Ligier JS F3 2018 Road Atlanta F3 Americas round
Star Mazda 1:19.242[25] Peter Dempsey Star Formula Mazda 'Pro' 2008 Road Atlanta Star Mazda Championship round
GT3 1:19.310[16] Bryan Sellers Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2021 Petit Le Mans
TA 1:19.505[26] Chris Dyson Ford Mustang 2022 Road Atlanta Trans-Am round
GT2 1:20.407[15] Jaime Melo Ferrari F430 GTC 2008 Petit Le Mans
US F2000 1:21.968[27] Sage Karam Élan DP08 2010 Road Atlanta US F2000 round
Ferrari Challenge 1:22.845[28] Cooper MacNeil Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo 2020 Road Atlanta Ferrari Challenge North America round
GT 1:23.163[29] Dirk Müller BMW M3 GTR 2001 Petit Le Mans
TA2 1:24.373[30] Mike Skeen Ford Mustang 2022 Road Atlanta Trans-Am round
GT4 1:26.215[31] Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT4 2020 VP Racing Stay Frosty 240
Formula 4 1:27.406[32] Skylar Robinson Crawford F4-16 2016 Road Atlanta F4 United States round
IMSA GT3 1:27.876[33] Bill Auberlen BMW M3 (E36) 1998 Grand Prix of Road Atlanta
Stock car racing 1:27.896[34] Brett Moffitt Toyota Camry 2013 Road Atlanta K&N Pro Series East round
TCR Touring Car 1:28.197[35] Denis Dupont Audi RS 3 LMS TCR (2017) 2022 Fox Factory 120
Motorcycle Course: 4.088 km (2008–present)
AMA Superbike 1:23.421 Ben Spies Suzuki GSX-R1000 2008 Road Atlanta AMA Superbike round
MotoAmerica (Superbike) 1:23.934[36] Danilo Petrucci Ducati Panigale V4 R 2022 Road Atlanta MotoAmerica round
MotoAmerica (Supersport) 1:28.173[37] Sean Dylan Kelly Suzuki GSX-R600 2021 Road Atlanta MotoAmerica round
North America Talent Cup 1:48.329[38] Alessandro di Mario Aprilia RS250SP2 2022 Road Atlanta North America Talent Cup round
Original Grand Prix Course: 4.055 km (1970–1997)
IMSA GTP 1:08.639[39] Davy Jones Jaguar XJR-14 1992 Nissan Grand Prix of Road Atlanta
IMSA WSC 1:11.670[40] Andrea Montermini Ferrari 333 SP 1997 NAPA Grand Prix of Atlanta
Can-Am 1:14.000 Mark Donohue Porsche 917/30 TC 1973 Road Atlanta Can-Am
IMSA GTP Lights 1:17.118[41] Parker Johnstone Spice SE91P 1992 Nissan Grand Prix of Road Atlanta
F5000 1:17.265[42] Brian Redman Lola T330 1973 Road Atlanta F5000 round
IMSA GTS 1:17.690[43] Steve Millen Nissan 300ZX Turbo 1994 Grand Prix of Atlanta
IMSA GTS-1 1:18.803[44] Darin Brassfield Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 1995 Road Atlanta 3 Hours
Formula Super Vee 1:21.023[45] Mark Smith Ralt RT5 1989 Formula Super Vee Road Atlanta - Round 7
IMSA GTO 1:21.616[46] Steve Millen Nissan 300ZX Turbo 1991 Road Atlanta 300
IMSA GTS-2 1:22.151[47] Martin Snow Porsche 911 GT2 (993) 1997 NAPA Grand Prix of Atlanta
Trans-Am (TO) 1:23.604[48] Paul Newman Nissan 300ZX Turbo 1987 Road Atlanta Trans-Am round
IMSA GTS-3 1:24.022[47] Henry Taleb Nissan 240SX 1997 NAPA Grand Prix of Atlanta
IMSA GTU 1:24.640[43] Bill Auberlen Mazda RX-7 1994 Grand Prix of Atlanta
All American Challenge 1:26.638[49] Tommy Riggins Oldsmobile Cutlass 1991 Road Atlanta 300
Stock car racing 1:28.453[50] Terry Labonte Oldsmobile Cutlass 1986 Food Giant 300
IMSA Supercar 1:35.388[51] Doc Bundy Lotus Esprit X180R 1992 Nissan Grand Prix of Atlanta
Trans-Am (TU) 1:39.932[52] John Morton Datsun 510 1972 Road Atlanta Trans-Am round

Track configurationsEdit

EventsEdit

CurrentEdit

The facility is also home to the Skip Barber Racing School.

FormerEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "'Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta,' new track developments for 2019". Racer. October 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "History of Road Atlanta". Road Atlanta. Archived from the original on 2012-10-04.
  3. ^ "SCCA Runoffs Moves To Heartland Park Topeka In 2006". Sports Car Club of America. January 6, 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-12-31.
  4. ^ "Busch Series champions and milestones". Yahoo! Sports. May 8, 2006. Archived from the original on 2022-11-17. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  5. ^ "Road Atlanta News". Road Atlanta. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  6. ^ "ALMS News | American Le Mans Series". American Le Mans. 2012-10-09. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  7. ^ "The 24 Hours of Lemons - Road Atlanta". Road Atlanta. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  8. ^ Klein, Jennifer (October 12, 2018). "Michelin And Road Atlanta Announce Naming Rights Agreement To Begin in 2019". IMSA. Archived from the original on 2018-10-14. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  9. ^ Brown, Joe (April 2005). "Race Against Reality". Popular Science. Vol. 266, no. 4. pp. 46–54. ISSN 0161-7370.
  10. ^ a b "Road Atlanta". Giant Bomb. Fandom. Game appearances.
  11. ^ "Four new cars and a new track coming to Gran Turismo 7 this week!". racinggames.gg. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  12. ^ "Watch a V10 Ferrari Formula 1 Car Obliterate the Road Atlanta Lap Record". Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Watch Marc Gene Smash the Road Atlanta Track Record in a Ferrari F1 Car". Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Watch A V10 F1 Car Annihilate Road Atlanta's Lap Record In This Stunning Footage". Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d "2008 Petit Le Mans". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d "2021 Motul Petit Le Mans Race Official Results (10 Hours)" (PDF). Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  17. ^ "2000 Petit Le Mans". Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Petit Le Mans 1999". Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  19. ^ "Petit Le Mans 2002". Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  20. ^ a b "2016 Petit Le Mans Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Petit Le Mans 1998". Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  22. ^ "Road Atlanta IMSA 1998". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  23. ^ "2009 Formula Atlantic Le Petit Le Mans". Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  24. ^ "2018 F3 Americas Championship Round 11 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  25. ^ "2008 Indy Pro 2000 Atlanta Race Statistics". Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  26. ^ "TA XGT SGT GT Round 3 - Official TA/GT Results" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  27. ^ "2010 USF2000 National Championship Atlanta Session Facts". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  28. ^ "2020 Ferrari Challenge North America Trofeo Pirelli Road Atlanta Race 2 Official Results (30 Minutes)" (PDF). Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  29. ^ "Petit Le Mans 2001 Race Results" (PDF). IMSA Racing. October 6, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-03-17.
  30. ^ "2022 TA2 Round 3 - TA2 Race Provisional Results" (PDF). Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  31. ^ "2020 VP Racing Stay Frosty 240 Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  32. ^ "2016 F4 United States Championship Round 12 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  33. ^ "Road Atlanta IMSA 1998". Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  34. ^ "Checkered Flag on the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Season". Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  35. ^ "2022 Fox Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Race Provisional Results" (PDF). Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  36. ^ "2022 MotoAmerica Superbikes at Atlanta Race 1 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  37. ^ "2021 MotoAmerica Championship at Atlanta Supersport Race 1 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  38. ^ "2022 North America Talent Cup: Di Mario Wins Race One At Road Atlanta". Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  39. ^ "Road Atlanta Grand Prix 1992". Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  40. ^ "Road Atlanta 2 Hours 1997". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  41. ^ "Road Atlanta Grand Prix 1992". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  42. ^ "1973 Road Atlanta F5000". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  43. ^ a b "Exxon Supreme GT Road Atlanta 1994". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  44. ^ "Road Atlanta 3 Hours 1995". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  45. ^ Ingram, Jonathan (September 7, 1989). "Plainly Smith (Bosch / VW Super Vee Round 7/ Road Atlanta)". No. On Track Magazine. On Track. Qualifying for pole effectively ended in the first session when Mark Smith clicked off what would prove the fastest lap at the outset. His time of 121.023 eclipsed Geoff Brabham's 10-year-old record of 122.430
  46. ^ "Road Atlanta [GT] 1991". racingsportscars.com. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  47. ^ a b "SportsCar GTS Road Atlanta 2 Hours 1997". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  48. ^ "1987 Trans-Am Road Atlanta". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  49. ^ "Road Atlanta [GT] 1991". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  50. ^ "1986 Food Giant 300". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  51. ^ "IMSA Supercar Road Atlanta 1992". Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  52. ^ "Trans-Am Road Atlanta - Two Five Challenge 1972". Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  53. ^ "2017 Z Nationals Information". znationals.com. Retrieved 2018-02-07.

External linksEdit