Roebling Road Raceway – a unique race track just for racing, not for watching
The Roebling Road Raceway, opened in 1958 and known as the Savannah International Raceway until 1976, is a race track located in Bloomingdale, Georgia. The 9-turn 2.02-mile (3.25 km) road course is special because it’s one of the finest American non-spectator race tracks and the entry is allowed only if you are in the group which participates in the race, training or some other track event.
As a race track not opened for championship competitions, Roebling Road Raceway is fulfilling its calendar with plenty of club events, media presentations, team tests, driving educations and other events for more than 300 days during the year. The owner of the circuit is the Buccaneer Region of the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America).
Robert Roebling wanted his own race track
The story about a race track in Savannah region started during the 1950s when the races mostly took place on the temporary airport circuits. One of the enthusiastic racers was Robert Roebling, great grandson of John A. Roebling, the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge and scion of the Roebling Wire Rope company. Together with close friend and well-known SCCA member John Reuter, Roebling began planning a permanent circuit.
Reuter designed a track while Roebling managed a construction. In that time, the State of Georgia was beginning construction of Highway 17. The builders needed some space to store their equipment so Roebling offered his land. During the construction of the Highway, the road building equipment also participated in the construction of the race track. Thanks to that, Roebling had a minimum cost of building the circuit. At the end, he had only to pay for the final paving.
The Savannah International Raceway was opened in 1958
A grand opening ceremony for the 2.02-mile race track named Savannah International Raceway was held in August 1958. Immediately after that, the Savannah Region of the SCCA started to organize races. In 1959, Roebling donated the track to the Council for Traffic Safety, installing Marvin Davis as a president and naming John Reuter as a manager and instructor. Besides races, the driver-trainings were organized on the track.
As the Savannah Region of the SCCA was very small, the interest for races wasn’t big and it was difficult to attract enough drivers. One of the bad points was also the abrasive nature of the circuit because it was built to the same standards as the Highway and that caused much criticism from competitors.
The Buccaneer Region of SCCA was born in 1972
The neighboring Gator Region of the SCCA from Florida also held yearly national races at the track. In 1972, Tom Nehl became the race chairman of Gator Region and he offered to buy the Savannah Raceway. His idea was to unite the Savannah and Gator Regions to manage the track.
The SCCA regions merged later that year to form the new Buccaneer Region. The Buccaneer Region continued to run SCCA-sanctioned events but also organized a driving school, regional and national races.
Roebling Road Raceway – new name of the circuit since 1976
Tom Nehl improved the facilities with some novelties (timing and scoring tower, restrooms, guardrails) and then agreed to rename the track in honor of Robert Roebling. So, since 1976, the official name is the Roebling Road Raceway.
The problem with the abrasive track surface was still remaining, so the fundraising campaign started, wanting to collect a money for the pavement. The cost of new asphalt was $63,000. The Region raised $24,000, the rest was donated or loaned by Tom Nehl.
Optional chicanes were added in 1997
With new asphalt, the popularity of the race track increased. The track became extremely popular not only for racing but also for testing and many other non-racing events. In 1992, the Buccaneer Region bought the track and it continues under this ownership until today.
Some new facilities were built in the infield but the track remains non-spectator, with viewing places only for those who came with participants on the track. The track layout remained the same (3,251 meters), only the optional chicane complex was added to the front straight in 1997, with an option of a small or big chicane. In the same year, the track underwent another complete resurfacing.
Operational more than 300 days annually
The Roebling Road Raceway is today one of the most popular non-spectator facilities in the USA because it offers interesting and easy-to-learn road course, suitable for beginners and amateurs, just twenty minutes from the nearest airport and located in the center of the tourist area.
The proof that it’s a good combination is a busy schedule of events round the year, with more than 300 working days.
Video : A lap around Roebling Road Raceway
Address: Roebling Road Raceway, 1135 Roebling Road, Bloomingdale, GA 31302, USA
Phone: +1 888-398-7223
Official website: www.roeblingroad.com