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Old 20 Sep 2008, 16:22 (Ref:2294232)   #1
matarleton
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Track Design

Inseveral of the threads I have followed, track design topics range from safety (or lack thereof), to pit entry and exit, to runoffs, length of straights and length of tracks. A thread was started where FIA rules are posted and I thought more design aspects would have been addressed.

So...

Here are my ideal parameters

1- Course length of less than 4 miles and more than 2. No super long tracks. They have such super long straights that drivers get weary of the very long period of flat out each lap. Ex: Take a Formula Ford out on a "roval" course at Daytona or Charlotte.

2- By extension from Point 1, no super long straights. Alot of roadcourses that are too long have straights that are too long. Conversely, each course should have one good length straight where high speeds can be achieved.

3- Safety. The track must be designed from the beginning with safety in mind.

4- Character. Many new tracks seem to have no character. They seem to be large and very plain outside of the track itself.

5- A course designed for the masses that also can be configured to be a challenging professional course. This may be best achieved by allowing the track to be split into two.

Any other thoughts?

Matt
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Old 20 Sep 2008, 17:17 (Ref:2294279)   #2
Purist
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Well, what's too long for a full lap, and what's too long for a straight? And are there exceptions to those two rules, in your mind?
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Old 20 Sep 2008, 18:03 (Ref:2294299)   #3
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I guess that depends on your vehicle of choice (who are you designing the track for... the masses, F1, etc.) and what you would see as a challenging and fun lap. The reason why I do not like long straights is because they are directly proportional to long laps. Longer straights and longer laps have a tendency to showcase the top end speed of the vehicle and not the driver or the fine cornering abilities of the vehicle.

For me personally, I have never felt quite that bad about being beaten by a vehicle that could only pass me on straights and that I could either close on or pass outside of the straight areas.

Therefore, my emphasis on a mid-ranged track length of 2.5 - 3 miles in length allows for a long enough straightaway for vehicles to hit their topend and then back down to go into the rest of the course. I also don't prefer the longest straight to be at the start/finish. For example: my latest track design (the one that is being built), has the shortest straight at the start/finish and the longest is the back stretch at almost 1000 meters.

Less than 2 miles is too short for competition, especially if it is less than 14 or 15 turns. Less turns means longer straights. How long is too long? To me, anything over 3.5 miles.

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Old 20 Sep 2008, 20:47 (Ref:2294368)   #4
AU N EGL
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for me

Length: 2.3 to 4 miles

If there are more then 18 corners, the track is too slow. Keep the corners down to 12 to 16 corners. A corner is 30* or greater. 4 corners per mile average.

Longest straights: 4000 feet is good. Need straights to get speeds up over 125 mph for most cars. Dont always need to do 170 mph

too much slow corners boars drivers. and so does too much high speed sections. a good mix.

Elevation changes are a must. Not a lot 30 feet to 100 feet is great. Dead flat tracks can also be boaring.

What else??

I like high speed carousels and high speed Esses. and technically demanding corners; off camber decreasing radius, double apex. ie no one can get it right

Occasionally, One track I drive, a very very tight corner. 110*. Many ppl hate this, but some times, that is a place to put the metal to the floor.

Corners like these hurt momentum cars, but torque monsters, can handle these.
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Old 20 Sep 2008, 22:37 (Ref:2294418)   #5
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Sorry Matt, but you opened the door for this. So, Road America, Sebring, Miller, Spa, Le Mans Paul Ricard, Nurburgring, Monza, and Suzuka are too long? And I suppose Portland, Lime Rock, and the old Laguna Seca aren't good circuits either because they're too short?

I think there should still be some car circuits where slipstreaming plays a significant role, and for that, you want a straight of at least 1200m. And really, 1500+m is the range you want to assure that's what you get (serious slipstreaming I mean).

I'm far more concerned with having a circuit that has individuality rather than trying to MAKE it a mix of everything. And like I've said, my tracks that I "design" don't come out nearly as well as those that I just let happen. I also must admit that, of the designs I've liked and put particular detail into, four of them are under 4 miles by my estimates.

I've worked varying levels of more significant detail (things beyond outright length and course outline) on about 12 of my designs (that's out of hundreds of track outlines I've drawn up). There is a fifth in that group of 12 or so that is under 4 miles, but I find it too "designed" compared to the others. The longest track in the batch I've estimated at 9 miles. Given that it folds on itself a few times though, it doesn't take up as much area as you'd think. I suppose I think of it as an ideal endurance sportscar circuit.
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Old 20 Sep 2008, 23:25 (Ref:2294432)   #6
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My parameters for a good circuit would be:

4 km it's just fine.
800-1000 mts main straight is enuff.
one each of curve types, I like double apex, carrousell,long sweepers,hairpins, succesive 90 deg flipping sides(a la Donington Park) and if possible elevation changes in corner areas.Some slow corners are to be had as well as high speed corners.

All corners shall have more run-off than needed,you can't have too much safety.Grass run-off is OK but must have gravel pit 20 meters away from the next wall, wich shall be covered with energy absorbing entity such as AirFence(for motorcycle racing) haybales or tire barriers.

In general,I agree with Matt that super long circuits with super long straights are boring and doesn't test anything but the top speed of your vehicle.Also,a too long straight tend to blow engines as well.
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Old 21 Sep 2008, 03:15 (Ref:2294475)   #7
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Purist, if you read my original post, nothing more than 4 miles. My preference is mid-ranged tracks as per post #3 of 2.5 to 3 miles. Tracks shorter than 2.5 miles are fine for some but less than 2 miles and you are just getting either too tight or not enough turns. I believe I mentioned a balance.

Some of the very long tracks are simply best for F1, ALMS, Indy... high speed. I prefer a design for the masses that also appeals to higher speed vehicles. If you can achieve that then you have really done your job.

As far as Tom and Luiggis posts, I agree that a good balance of types of corners is key. We seem to agree mostly on length.

By the way, for those that like Sebring, rethink elevation changes. Sebring has very little elevation change. The highest point you can put a car on is the drive over bridge to the paddock... by far!

What is interesting in the posts are the design influence differences between three people that I know race compared to one that I know doesn't (for reasons I am also aware of). Amazing how the view of the spectator is different from the view of the racer.

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Old 21 Sep 2008, 04:35 (Ref:2294482)   #8
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I can understand having some tracks with more of a balance, but I also like tracks that are more specialized. That was something that made racing more interesting in the past in some ways. Into the early '70s, you couldn't be competitive at all the rounds of the World Sportscar Championship with a single model of car because the demands of the different circuits varied so much. You would be very lucky to get a podium at the Targa Florio with a car that was quite capable of winning the Spa 1000km.

Sebring is kind of an oddball in a number of ways. Also, though it is 3.7 miles to the lap, its longest straight is little more than 3,000ft in length.

The trouble anymore seems to be that tracks are largely designed for club racing or F1. New F1 circuits often seem rather formulaic, and don't necessarily produce good racing. The trend in club circuits seems to emphasize relatively short straights (generally 2,000ft or less), an overabundance of slow or medium speed corners, and often an overabundance of corners period.
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Old 21 Sep 2008, 13:39 (Ref:2294638)   #9
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Purist, I actually agree with you.

There definitely is a place for purpose built tracks. I would say that the new F1 circuits, while purpose built, are rather "surgical" feeling (hard to describe in one adjective what I am saying).

Most club circuits are designed to be slower for fear of liability because most clubs do not want to limit their customers and drivers, so, they let less experienced people out on the track.

Between the surgical purpose built tracks and the lesser club tracks is where my track fits in and this is the balance I have been talking about. I do think that a few club tracks (purpose built to be slower and more inclusive to everyone) and the surgical F1 tracks have their purpose as well but in general tracks should be more balanced.

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Old 21 Sep 2008, 13:53 (Ref:2294650)   #10
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My Favorite tracks:

VIR ( home track)
Road Atlanta
Mid Ohio
Road America

Tracks yet to run
Watkins Glenn
Sebring
Mosport
Matt's new track

tracks on the Bucket list
Leguna Secca
Sears Point
Daytona Road course
Neurenburg ( sp?)

Did not list European or Asian tracks, as not likely to get there to race or drive
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Old 22 Sep 2008, 13:41 (Ref:2295236)   #11
matarleton
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I like your track yet to run list!
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Old 22 Sep 2008, 15:03 (Ref:2295299)   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matarleton
I like your track yet to run list!
Not letting you off easy.

I want an engraved invitation to come run your track.


Tom
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Old 22 Sep 2008, 15:06 (Ref:2295302)   #13
matarleton
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Does it have to be engraved? Unless something huge goes wrong, it looks like its a go! Going to take a while to build though.

Matt
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Old 22 Sep 2008, 16:00 (Ref:2295358)   #14
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Naw Just an invite.

What are you looking at 20-24 months?
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Old 22 Sep 2008, 16:30 (Ref:2295376)   #15
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Right now we are looking at commencing track construction by the latest Jan. 2010 and as early as 12 months out from now. This is after all infrastructure such as utilities, access roads, zoning, etc. have been approved and either complete or are under construction. We should be able to have the track and scoring tower completed first around by the latest the end of 2010. If everything goes well from the beginning, we could be looking at a track opening as early as the Spring of 2010, if everything goes as slow as anticipated, opening Dec. 2010 or Jan 2011.

I have been working on this project for quite some time and now that things are coming together, we couldn't be more excited.

Matt
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