Imola

February 9, 2009 by  
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Imola is a picturesque little town in the province of Bologna which can be found on the Santerno river in north-central Italy. For much of the year this ancient Roman settlement enjoys a charming tranquillity that lends itself to romantic getaways and leisurely holidays. Imola is best known for two things – it is the home of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and the San Marino Grand Prix. It also unfortunately known as the track where the legendary Ayrton Senna lost his life in 1994. Rubens Barrichello was also badly injured in that very same race.

The Formula One San Marino Grand Prix is named for the nearby independent republic of San Marino but it is held in Imola. The track as Imola was used for the 51st Italian Grand Prix in 1980 and became a regular home for the San Marino Grand Prix shortly afterwards. This Formula One championship race has been run at the Autodrome Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola since 1981. It was named for San Marino as there was already an Italian Grand Prix at the time. Since San Marino is too small to host a grand prix, the decision was made to use the track at Imola and name the Grand Prix after the republic.

Motoring enthusiasts are usually pleased to learn that the area surrounding Imola is home to a number of racing car manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. What’s more, a number of local roads have been linked together to form a test track for these manufacturers. This means that bystanders are often given the opportunity to see new and improved models in action as they are being tested on the public roads. Imola has a strong racing legacy and cars have been zipping around the area since 1954.

The first non-championship event with Formula One cars to be held here took place in 1963. However the racetrack at Imola really came into its own when, in 1980, the Italian Grand Prix was temporarily moved to Imola from Monza after a massive and tragic start line pile-up. The following year the Italian Grand Prix was moved back to Monza and the decision was made to launch the track in Imola as the San Marino Grand Prix. Though the track has been incredibly popular during the course of it’s racing career, recent accidents and deaths have brought up complaints of unsafe road-surfaces and other scruples. As a result the San Marino Grand Prix may soon end a long and successful period as a brilliant Formula One Grand Prix host.

The 2010 Italian Grand Prix will be held at Monza.

Martinsville Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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The history and development of Martinsville Speedway and NASCAR are closely intertwined. Auto racing at Martinsville predates NASCAR, though with very humble beginnings and small spectator capacity. The Martinsville Speedway has matched NASCAR lap by lap, meeting new technology and safety standards, while also providing for the rapid growth of fans for the sport. Every serious NASCAR fan must visit Martinsville at least once, because your appreciation of the auto racing phenomenon in the United States will not be complete without it. Great car racing spirits reside at the Martinsville Speedway, and you can feel decades of NASCAR traditions permeate your bones when you join untold numbers of spectators at this famous site.

History and traditions apart, a special feature of NASCAR events at the Martinsville Speedway is the tent facility, where spectators can interact with top drivers. The question and answer sessions are special treats, and you can treasure your moments in close proximity to your heroes. These sessions can also add to your auto racing enjoyment, because you get to learn of key strategies and tactics drivers employ even as they move at such incredible speeds around the track. The whole thing is conducted in a spirit of friendly competition, and you might find that you enjoy this part of a Martinsville visit most!

The track at the Martinsville Speedway is not exceptional, but it is adequate by NASCAR standards. The length is only about half a mile, and the inclines on the oval do not even reach 15 degrees at any point. These are good conditions for drivers who like to go flat out. NASCAR fans, who know Richard Petty to be a top owner, will be delighted to know that he has driven to victory fifteen times at the Martinsville Speedway.

Since Virginia enjoys so much NASCAR activity, you can combine a NASCAR event at the Martinsville Speedway with trips to other auto racing tracks in the State. On the other hand, the beautiful Virginia countryside is replete with a host of outdoor recreation opportunities. Martinsville has a long history, and people with interests in the Aleutians and the colonization of North America will find plenty of interesting stuff to go nicely with the NASCAR excitement at the Speedway.

Istanbul Park

February 9, 2009 by  
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Istanbul Park blends in seamlessly among 10 thousand of years of antiquity. Respectful of the country’s past, yet bold enough to represent the future of Formula One. The circuit was constructed during 2005 and is unique in that the cars run in an anti-clockwise direction around the circuit, making the Turkish Grand Prix only the third race on the F1 Grand Prix calendar to do so (with the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace at Interlagos being the other two). This spectacular 5.378 kilometer track was designed by famed German architect Herman Tilke, the same man who created the memorable tracks at Sepang, Bahrain and Shanghai.

The track at Istanbul Park has an average width of 15 meters, ranging from 14 to 21.5 meters, and covering over 2.215 million square meters total. There are a total of 14 corners including six right and eight left turns, the sharpest with a radius of merely 15 meters. The circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 meters in length. The total race distance of the Turkish Grand Prix is 309.356 kilometers spread out over 58 laps.

Turn 8 in particular has achieved legendary status in a short amount of time. The corner is a fast, sweeping corner with four apexes, similar to a multi-apex sections of the old Nürburgring. Spectators and drivers alike raved about Turn 8, comparing it to legendary corners such as Eau Rouge and 130R. The circuit itself has already been compared to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Another notable corner is Turn 1, a sharp downhill left-hander immediately after the front straight. This corner has been nicknamed by some as the “Turkish Corkscrew” in comparison to infamous “Corkscrew” at Laguna Seca. Both the 2006 F1 and MotoGP races at the circuit featured mutliple incidents at this corner.

Logistically speaking, Istanbul Park currently has a total capacity for 155,000 spectators, which are accommodated in 10 grandstands and 5 unnumbered and grassed general admission areas. Istanbul Park is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, approximately 90 kilometers from the centre of the city.

The Main Grandstand at Istanbul Park is located on the Pits Straight directly opposite the start/finish line and pit-boxes. It presents you with an excellent view of the Pits Straight, including the build-up to and the start of the race, the checkered flag at the finish of the race, as well as a view of the racing teams and their pit activities. The western side of the grandstand is situated opposite the podium, offering spectators great views of the podium celebrations after the race. The start line is located towards the middle of the grandstand. The F1 Village is also located behind this grandstand, which is easily accessible from this grandstand. Three bigscreen TV’s are located along this great grandstand, enabling spectators to follow the entire race and not lose track of the procedures.

Overall the five general admission areas provide for excellent viewing and offer good value for money admission. Istanbul Park is a naturally hilly circuit featuring a variety of steep mounds, which makes the viewing in the general admission areas good. But as always there are no seats and you must be there early to get a good spot, which you stand to lose should you have to visit a toilet or leave to buy food.

Milwaukee Mile

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Milwaukee Mile is a racetrack found in West Allis, Wisconsin, USA. It has been one of the main venues for American motor sports since 1903, holding at least one race a year. It is officially the oldest operating motor speedway throughout the world, with Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning eight years later in 1911. The Milwaukee Mile has played a large part in determining the face of auto racing during the past century.

Before 1953 the Milwaukee Mile was operated as a dirt track, but was paved in 1954, leaving the dirt infield track for weekly programs that took place during the 50’s and 60’s. It was repaved again once the 1967 season came to a closure and by 1970 the quarter mile dirt track and the half-mile road course were converted to accommodate the pit area.

The Legendary Oval has a list of past winners that are part of racing history, including names such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Barney Oldfield, Parnelli Jones, Rex Mays, A.J. Foyt, the Unsers and the Andrettis. The track is also known for being the only track to hold races for the Indy Racing League, NASCAR and the Champ Car World Series. NASCAR used Milwaukee for two Busch Series stock car races in 1984 and 1985. In 1993 the NASCAR Busch Series went back to Milwaukee where Steve Grissom won the event. Since then the Busch Series has been running every year from the Milwaukee Mile. Similarly the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series began its course in Milwaukee in 1995 and has returned every season.

After hosting NASCAR and IndyCar Series races for many years, it was announced at the end of 2009 that the Milwaukee Mile would not be hosting any events for these two sanctioning bodies in 2010. Instead the races traditionally held in Wisconsin will be hosted by Road America. Nevertheless, this legendary oval will no doubt continue to play a role in hosting other auto racing events.

Nazareth Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Nazareth Speedway, though not currently in operation, was a well known NASCAR racing track. The circuit of Nazareth Speedway is located in Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, USA. In use since 1910, the track has been the site of several great motorsport events. Nazareth Speedway is a 1 mile oval and is sometimes still used for testing. Let us take a look at the history of this well-known NASCAR track.

As previously mentioned, motor sport events were taking place in the area during the 1910s. The dirt track of Nazareth was renovated and opened in 1966. Named Nazareth National Speedway, the track was 1.125 miles with 5 turns. Only one event was held in this inaugural season with Frankie Schneider taking the lead. In 1967 Nazareth Speedway hosted 9 events, 5 of which were won again by Schneider. Five modified events were held in 1968. On 13 July 1968 the track was host to USAC Dirt Champ cars. Al Unser won the race. Mario Andretti, a local racer, took the lead in the 1969 USAC Dirt Champ car race. After holding some 52 races, Nazareth National Speedway was closed in November of 1971.

In 1982 Lindy Vicari took over management of the Nazareth Speedway. Vicari had a new shorter 1 mile oval track constructed in place of the old dirt track. It was once again closed in 1984. Roger Penske decided to purchase Nazareth Speedway in 1986. He had it paved and it was once again opened in 1987 under the name of Pennsylvania International Raceway. The track featured a warm-up lane designed by Rick Mears. It received the name Nazareth Speedway in 1993. As the track was actually a little shorter than 1 mile, the CART sanctioning body ruled that it was to be advertised at its correct length of 0.946 miles. Races that went on for 200 laps were then increased to 225 laps. Nazareth Speedway came to host top IRL and Busch Series events. Unfortunately it was closed in 2004. Despite this, Nazareth Speedway can still be seen in NASCAR 07, an EA Sports video game. The future of Nazareth Speedway is still uncertain, though it is very unlikely that NASCAR vehicles will grace this track again.

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