Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fantasy 2-in-1 Race Track

I was looking at a diagram of the new Circuit of the Americas race track in Austin, Texas. Home to the U.S. Grand Prix Formula 1 race this year. It inspired me to upload a diagram of a fantasy race track I designed in the late 1990s. It has some similarities to Circuit of the Americas but was designed long before it. There is a street circuit beside a permanent, purpose-built circuit with link roads to combine the 2 for the option of a le Mans-style race. The street circuit is 4.25km (2.64 miles). It is top-left of the picture. I call it the Formula Opel circuit after the premier single-seater racing series in Ireland at the time. Beside it is the 7.15km (4.44 miles) Grand Prix circuit with link roads and short circuit options.
The Formula Opel circuit is unique for a circuit that is not figure-of-eight in that, counting chicanes as more than one turn, it has as many left turns as it does right: 22 in all (11 left, 11 right). It starts out anti-clockwise. Past the pits at the start of the lap into a fast left hand sweep and downhill to the lowest point of both circuits, a left, right, left chicane. Then a short straight, slightly uphill, to an esses. It levels off and crosses a dual carriageway into a tricky right and then the slow, tight hairpin left. A short straight before dipping down into another s bend. Rising up from the slightly banked exit onto a relatively long straight. Then a slightly banked left before a tight hairpin left. It drops down into 2 right hand turns in quick succession that take you into the village and the true street circuit part of the track. It is pretty much a purpose-built design from turn 1 to the hairpin before the village except where it crosses the dual carriageway. The rest is street circuit and public road to turn 1 just after the pits. Coming out of the double right-hander, you enter the village up a hill and then it levels off about a third of the way along that street. Then there is a tight right hander at a junction of the end of that street and a wide side street split down the middle by a barrier that takes you into an old farm yard. The circuit dips down and rises up into the farm yard right handed before a left hairpin bend and dips down and rises up again and levels off out of the farm along the other side of the street with the barrier in the middle. Back at the junction you turn right into an old creamery yard and turn left around the creamery coming back out along the other side of the village. There is a bit of a straight here and it drops downhill about 2 thirds of the way along that straight and turns right out of the village and levels off. Still on the public road, there is a short straight and then a right hand turn on to the start/finish straight. You can use the hill up to where the road merges with the dual carriageway as banking to maintain speed out of the final corner. The dual carriageway is off to the left but the circuit follows the junction off it on to a small country road modified to become the start/finish straight for the races. Then its full throttle past the pits for another lap. The hatched areas on the top of the picture are the built up areas of the village. To the left of that you can make out the grid markings and pit & paddock area. 
The bottom of the picture is where the Grand Prix circuit lap starts. The pit & paddock and main grandstand areas are here. Nearer to the Formula Opel circuit is a link road that makes up the pit straight of the small Kart track and the Club circuit. The Club circuit is basically the section of the Grand Prix circuit next to the village in reverse. You can make out the pit & paddock areas for the Club and Kart circuits parallel to each other. There is also a long link road about a third of the way up the picture for extra short circuit options. There are a couple of link roads that link the hairpin on the Formula Opel circuit just before the village to the Club circuit area of the Grand Prix circuit so that you can link the 2 for a le Mans-style super lap of 11.4km (7.08 miles). I'll post more in the next blog.
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