Road Atlanta - Feature
An insider's guide to our favorite racing circuits.
WHY WE LOVE IT
Old-timers swear this track was ruined in 1998 when new owner Don Panoz inserted a chicane into the long back straight, thus bypassing the infamous dip prior to the blind last corner.
But they're wrong: This undulating ribbon is still one of the most exciting places to drive a car, any car. And it's insanely quick. The only truly slow corners are the chicane and Turn Seven, which leads onto the back straight. We love the blind approach to Turn 12 and how you have to carry the precise amount of speed up the front straightaway into Turn One. The stretch out of that corner into Turn Five is like running through a huge soup ladle with curves in it.
The track feels like it's in Gone with the Wind country, but it's less than 50 miles from downtown Atlanta. Swells can stay at Panoz's Chateau Elan resort if they can't abide Atlanta traffic.
WHERE IT IS: Braselton, Georgia
WHEN IT OPENED: September 1970
LENGTH, NUMBER OF TURNS: 2.54 miles, 12
HOW TO GET ON IT: Skip Barber (www.skipbarber.com) invites you to one of its schools here. Clubs--such as Porsche and BMW--rent the facility, but individuals have to contact the track for pricing and insurance information (800-849-7223). (www.roadatlanta.com)
HISTORICAL NOTE: An open field became a racetrack in just six months after Can-Am officials awarded the Bridgehampton race to Road Atlanta's founders