It seems to me that we are in a renascence period in world of race tracks. There is a nice combination of many new road courses, as well as establish tracks with great history. What is your favorite track and why?
+1. We're lucky to live in the Bay Area with 3 good tracks close by. I like all three for different reasons. But Sonoma is definitely my favorite.I think I prefer Sonoma (aka Sears Point, aka Infinion).
I've only driven on 4.5 tracks, up here we have Laguna Seca and Sonoma about and hour in each direction, further North is Thunderhill, a little further South is Buttonwillow. I've also driven about 10 laps on the south half of Silverstone as one of their "experiences" (in a Ferrari 360). Laguna is fun, and I've done most laps there, about 700. But Sonoma is just more of a challenge, its a difficult track, and the walls are intimidating. The new bit at Thunderhill is very interesting, I'm going to have to go back to that, the big 5 mile circuit is too much, but the "Mid Thunderhill" configuration looks like it could be perfect (cut through from 13E to 8E). I really want to try COTA sometime, that looks like a very fun track.
I remember your previous comments on the track surface at HPT. This time you forgot to mention the concrete safety barriers and how close they are to the track itself.If they would fix the pavement I would say Heartland Park is a nice track, not as nice as say Road America, but a good technical track, sadly the pavement is a problem right now so I can't choose Heartland Park.
Instead I would choose the Lake Garnett track.
Why? Because it takes cajones to drive this thing fast. It's got some technical portions, it has tight turns, it has a high speed straight, it has a changing radius chicane, oh and it also has no rumble strips, no curbing, no tire stacks, no padding, no run off in some areas, a LAKE in the middle of it that yes you can run into, stone pillars along the bridge and other assorted hazards coupled with some beautiful scenery! Here's a map:
There's a reason they shut this track down in 1972, speeds were getting so fast and the danger so high that deaths were almost routine. The amount of money it would take to turn it into a "safe" full time race track was cost prohibitive at the time so it was never done. I see why all the greats wanted to drive this track back in the day, Carol Shelby, Don Yenko, Gordon Smiley and others all carved their places in history at this track. It's sort of sad that history passed it by for so long, but now it is staging a comeback as a place for terrific events. (See my separate topic thread on the subject)
Yep Lake Garnett, my current favorite....
PS. map picture above doesn't show the elevation changes, some are significant...