Road Atlanta - Home of The Prestigious Petit Le Mans

September 28, 2016
Alexander S

  • Road Atlanta

Road Atlanta is the racing track located near the town of Braselton in Georgia and it is the home of Petit Le Mans, one of the best-known endurance races in the world.

This wonderful track was opened in 1970. Interestingly, construction of the circuit took only six months and in September was held the first race. Tony Dean, driving a Porsche 908/02 was the winner of the Can-Am Series race and that was the beginning of the glorious history.

Cars racing, Road Atlanta Petit Le Mans panorama view

View at Road Atlanta

Road Atlanta is a fast and challenging racing track

This is 4.088 km long track with 12 turns, situated on 750 park-like acres in the rolling hills of Northeast Georgia. Lap record time holder is Stephane Sarrazin and the record was set in 2008. The Frenchman driving an LMP1 Peugeot drove a lap in 1:06.242. The motorcycle course is a bit longer – 4.103 km and also has 12 turns. Lap record time (1:23.421) was set in 2008 by Ben Spies who was driving Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Road Atlanta map/track layout

Map: Road Atlanta track layout

There are not so many tracks in the world which so quickly established itself as one of the most prominent and respected by the drivers. Many famous racers all over the world competed at Road Atlanta over the years in the series like Can-Am, Trans-Am, IMSA Camel GT, and even the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series as the first road race in the series’ history was held at Road Atlanta. The SCCA National Championship Runoffs also were held at Atlanta Road from 1970 to 1993.

Ups and downs of the track after many ownership changes

Starting from 1978 the circuit changed owners several times. While the races were regular over the years, it was obvious that the venue needs major development, especially in the terms of safety. In 1993, the circuit went into the bankruptcy but luckily Road Atlanta quickly get new owners. In the next three years, the track was widened and resurfaced, facilities were renovated and the landscape beautified.

Part of the circuit

Part of the Road Atlanta circuit

Despite major improvements, Road Atlanta still was lacking something from the glorious days in the early 1970s. A solution of the problem has arrived with a new owner, late in 1996. Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Don Panoz purchased Road Atlanta and continued the development of the track and facilities.

Petit Le Mans was a success from the start

The layout of the track was redesigned, courses for club racing also were installed, just as runoff areas and concrete barriers. The garages were renovated before new pit and paddock area construction has begun and the works were completed in 1998. The same year was held the first Petit Le Mans, 10 hours and 1.000 km long race, the season finale of IMSA Championship.

Road Atlanta: Petit Le Mans 2011 start

Start of the 2011 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

The success of the race was so huge that Panoz in the next year became one of the founders of the new championship, named American Le Mans Series. Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta became one of the most important races of the championship, always attracting many top drivers from Europe and other parts of the world.

Road Atlanta is continuously improving

Since then, Road Atlanta continuously was improved and modernized and nowadays this is one of the best racing venues in the North America. In 2012, the track was purchased by NASCAR as part of the acquisition of Panoz Motorsports Group. A year later, NASCAR races returned to Road Atlanta with K&N East development Series, but Petit Le Mans, now as a part of unified United SportsCar Championship, still stands as the most important event.

Road Atlanta turn view race track racing

Motorcycle races are also popular at Road Atlanta

One of the top entertainment venues in Georgia

Road Atlanta is utilized for different types of events, from the professional and amateur car and motorcycles races to racing and driving schools, testing programmes and other non-racing activities. As one of the top entertainment venues in Georgia, Road Atlanta offers a fun and family-friendly environment to individuals, families, and corporate groups. There is also available several camping areas at attractive locations around the circuit.

Scenery of Atlanta Road

Beautiful scenery of Atlanta Road

Getting there and accommodation

The nearest international airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, around 60-minute drive to the south from the circuit.Almost the same time you’ll need from Athens-Ben Epps Airport which offers domestic flights.

Visitors coming to Road Atlanta

Races at Road Atlanta are always well visited

Road Atlanta is located some 80 km north of Atlanta, but it is just minutes away from a 4-Star resort which offers comfort and amenities such as three golf courses and luxurious spa. Of course, nearby the circuit is also available a plenty of hotels.

Address: 5300 Winder Highway, Braselton, GA 30517, United States
Phone: +1 770 967 6143

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