Road America is a 640-acre, world-class motorsports facility
featuring a 4.048-mile permanent road course and a 1-mile
supermoto/karting track. Since its first official race in
September of 1955, it has been a favorite circuit of racers
worldwide who relish the challenges of the undulating landscape
and the high-speed turns and curves. Fans return year after year
to enjoy the park-like atmosphere, fantastic food, and
wheel-to-wheel competition by the world’s fastest riders and
How many events take place at Road America?
Over 500 events are held annually at Road America. The
facility often hosts multiple activities on the same day
incorporating the four-mile track, the interior Motorplex,
and the beautiful grounds surrounding the facility. In addition
to public events, the facility is in use by various private
clubs, organizations, group programs, and schools.
What is the closest Airport to Road America?
Sheboygan County airport (private jets, smaller aircraft)
within 10 minutes.
Mitchell International Airport is located in Milwaukee
(commercial) within one hour of the track.
Appleton and Green Bay (commercial) within one hour of the
Chicago O’Hare Airport (commercial) within three hours of the
What is the shipping address for Road America?
Always include the first and last name of the recipient and their
SAMPLE: Attn: John Smith / Team Racing, Road America, N7390 Hwy.
67, Plymouth, WI 53073.
Please include the phone number of the receiver.
Packages can be picked up at the Shipping and Receiving
building (near Gate 6). Hours vary and are posted at
There is a $5 fee per package at the time of pick up.
Does Road America have electric vehicle charging stations?
Yes, we have one Tesla Charger on-site, call 800-365-7223 for
location and operating times.
Parking & Seating
Do you have reserved seating?
Road America’s key attraction is that there is no assigned
grandstand seating, and fans are free to roam about the property
to find their favorite viewing location. Trees are everywhere,
plus acres of green grass, rolling hills, seven jumbo screens,
and elevated vantage points that offer fans totally unique
perspectives to watch the action. There are benches built into
the hillsides for seating or you can bring blankets or folding
chairs and spectate from open grass general admission areas
around the facility. Road America truly is, America’s National
Park of Speed!
Can I bring my own chair to the general admission viewing
Collapsible folding chairs are allowed through the gates for use
in the general admission areas. They are not allowed into the
physical grandstand seating locations. Fans are discouraged
from reserving viewing areas by placing chairs, EZ-Ups, etc.
Any items left up, or out overnight in general
admission areas will be removed and confiscated by security.
Is there a charge for parking?
General admission parking is FREE with the purchase of a ticket.
Preferred Parking passes can be purchased for $25. The Preferred
Parking Pass is a Thursday-Sunday designated parking area with
easy walk-in access to the paddock. For NASCAR Cup on (Sunday
Only, July 4) on-site parking is $10 and must be purchased in
advance. Off-site parking is available at the Sheboygan County
Fairgrounds for FREE and includes a FREE shuttle to/and from the
event. Shuttle pickup/and drop-off are located at Gate 4.
All spectators will be parked during the IndyCar event in a
designated parking area with easy walk-in access to the paddock.
In the parking area nearest to the Main Gate, we encourage fans
to park along the newly planted tree rows, with cars facing North
to South to allow for more parking and easier entry and
Is Road America car-friendly?
Yes, very. During most events, aside from INDYCAR, NASCAR, and
IMSA where facility access is restricted, if you need a break
from walking, you can pretty much use your car to get around, as
long as you keep clear of the paddock. For the big events a golf
cart is the best way to get around and you can rent those in
The parking areas are filled with not just ‘nice’ cars, but
obscure, rare, fantastic vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The
close proximity to Chicago (about a two-and-a-half-hour drive)
and active local enthusiast community puts on a gathering of cars
that rivals anywhere else in the United States.
How will parking work for NASCAR Cup on (Sunday) July 4th?
Due to anticipated increased volume, convenient parking is
available for a fee at Road America. Please
anticipate purchasing a parking pass along with
On race day, (Sunday, July 4th),
fans should anticipate congestion while traveling to/from
and around Road America. Remember to arrive
early, and carpooling is highly recommended. Fans are
also encouraged to park for FREE at the Sheboygan
County Fairgrounds. A FREE shuttle will be available to
transport fans to/from Road America on Sunday
Fans who wish to park on-site at Road America on Sunday, July
4th, will need to purchase a parking pass in
On Sunday, July 4th, fans who have purchased on-site parking
passes in advance are encouraged to arrive early at the
gate closest to where they intend to park to help
facilitate their entry and exit. Upon entry, attendants will be
directing fans to the parking areas closest to their entry gate
to park for the event.
Everyone is encouraged to study the general parking map prior to
When exiting following the event: To help ease
traffic concerns, we recommend exiting at the closest gate to
your parking location.
– Anyone exiting at the Main Gate will be
directed to turn right and head South on State Highway 67.
– Anyone exiting Gate 5 will be directed to turn
left and head North on State Highway 67.
– Anyone exiting Gate 3 will be directed to turn
left and head East on County Road J.
– Anyone exiting Gate 4 will be directed to turn
right and head West on County Road J.
How will motorcycle parking work for NASCAR Cup on (Sunday) July
On Sunday, July 4, motorcycles are encouraged to enter at Gate 3.
Limited space will be available on the South end of the VIP tower
parking lot for motorcycles.
Due to series and safety protocols, facility access for
motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters will be restricted. We
encourage all riders to respect the rules of the event and follow
instructions from parking and security personnel.
Are trailers permitted at Road America?
Spectator trailers are not permitted. Road America reserves the
right to deny trailer access to the property.
Any trailers for commercial purposes entering the property are
subject to inspection by Road America staff.
Does Road America search vehicles?
Road America staff reserves the right to search all property and
vehicles entering the facility.
What is spectating like at Road America?
Spectating is a race fan’s paradise, and it’s quicker to get
around and watch from different vantage points. Modern racetracks
seem to be built to keep the fans outside and make them walk the
longest way around. Road America is not one of those tracks as
you can move about the property freely from all over the inside
of the facility. When you walk from section to section and
it feels like you’re entering different ecosystems.
Can I reserve a viewing spot overnight with my lawn chair or
Fans are discouraged from reserving viewing areas by placing
EZ-Ups, canopies, lawn chairs, etc. Any items left up, or out
overnight in general viewing areas will be removed and
confiscated by security.
Tickets & Admission
Can anyone attend a club event?
Each club/organization determines whether the public will have
access to the event and, if so, sets the admission fees.
If you are interested in Club Events, please contact the club
directly using the links on our Events Schedule.
Do you ever sell out tickets?
Due to the size of our facility, we do NOT sell out of
What access does a general admission ticket give me?
All tickets include access to the paddock and free general
parking. The NASCAR paddock is closed to the public during the
Daily tickets, weekend tickets, and a Season Pass all
provide the customer with access to the paddock and free general
What are the ticket prices for children?
Children 16 and under are FREE with a paying adult and photo
Anyone over the age of 16 is the same price as an
adult. This also applies to all camping prices.
Where can I find information on camping?
Road America allows spectator tent or motorhome camping during
major public events. Additional fees apply and advance
reservations recommended, order online or by calling
Can I park at my campsite?
Yes, if you have a camping parking pass.
What is the paddock? Where is it located and do fans
The Paddock is an area centralized to what is commonly known as
the pits in motorsports in which the teams keep their race
transporters and motor homes. Aside from NASCAR and certain
events, Road America’s paddock is open to spectators. Road
America’s main paddock is located South of the Paddock
Concessions Stand and East of the Hagerty Tech Center and West of
the pit lane.
General admission ticket includes walk-in access to the
Fans can get an up-close look at the drivers, crews, cars, and
equipment during most events.
Vendors and concessions are available.
Fans can take photos and get autographs.
Remember: Racecars have the right of way!
Does Road America offer autograph sessions?
Road America includes autograph sessions in the major public
Please check the event schedules for dates and times.
Does Road America offer facility tours?
Tours are available by appointment only.
Please contact our office in advance to set up an appointment
(800) 365-7223 or email@example.com
Does Road America offer on-track touring for motorcycles?
The Salute to Cycles parade gives spectators the opportunity to
ride their own motorcycles on the track for a minimal fee.
The parade is offered during our MotoAmerica and Rockerbox
Motofest events (See Ticket information.)
Admission to the event is sold separately (16 and under are free
with paying adult & photo ID.)
The cost is per person/per day.
The amount of time that you will spend on the track varies.
The motorcycles have a lead motorcycle/pace car, as well as a
pace car in the rear, and is a controlled lapping session.
You must participate in a riders safety meeting before the
Road America highly recommends the use of helmets, however,
special riding equipment is not required.
Cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, campers, buses, etc.
are NOT allowed on the track.
We recommend making an advance reservation either online or by
calling our offices at 1-800-365-7223.
Touring is held rain or shine.
No refunds or exchanges.
Does Road America offer on-track touring for cars only?
Touring gives spectators the opportunity to drive their own
streetcars on the track for a fee.
The cost varies by event and is per car / per day. Touring is
offered during several public events.
Admission into the event is sold separately (16 and under is free
with a paying adult & photo ID).
You may have passengers in the car — state laws apply (safety
belts and child restraints required).
The amount of time that you will spend on the track and speeds
Touring is a controlled lapping session with a pace car leading
and in the rear — no passing is allowed.
You must participate in a technical inspection (proper air
pressure in the tires, no leaking fluids, etc.) and drivers’
safety meeting before the touring session.
SUVs, vans, trucks, campers, buses, motorcycles, etc. are NOT
allowed on the track.
Space is limited to the first 200 cars per day and space sells
We recommend making an advance reservation either online or by
calling our offices at 1-800-365-7223.
Touring is held rain or shine.
No refunds or exchanges.
What activities are available for fans at events?
Fan activities vary by event and details are always included in
the event schedule.
Vendors and displays are available throughout the paddock.
Karting at the Road America Motorplex.
Family Fun Zone – check the event schedule for locations.
Paddock Shop for apparel and gifts
Big Screens – check event schedules for details
What should I wear when attending an event at Road America?
Road America is a large facility including grass, gravel,
pavement, trails, and hills. With this in mind, comfortable
walking shoes are recommended.
Sunscreen is always a good idea. If you forget your sunscreen it
is available for purchase at the Paddock Shop.
Racing continues either rain or shine and weather conditions
change rapidly in Wisconsin. Clear skies give way to fast-moving
clouds, haze, and summer showers, before clearing again in the
same afternoon. Don’t forget sweatshirts, jackets, or rain gear
if the forecast calls for rain.
For certain events, hot pit/hot garage access requires specific
attire including long pants and closed-toed shoes. Check with the
event schedule before arriving.
Where Are Some Popular Viewing Locations?
This turn ranks among Road America’s top vantage points. The
tight corner is a prime overtaking spot and leads to the
dramatic climb up to Turn 6. While plopping down in the grassy
meadow to the drivers’ right of the corner is a popular
option, you can also try the hillside between Turns 5 and 6.
For an added bonus, you’ll be able to track the cars half a lap
later as they pop up from Thunder Valley and whistle
through Turn 13 into Turn 14 before commencing their climb
up the start/finish straightaway.
Turn 3 to Turn 5
There’s little to be gleaned in terms of who’s going fast
and why; the cars steam past at top speed. The sheer
sensations of seeing, hearing, and – yes – feeling some two dozen
vividly colored, sexily shaped, roaring-rumbling-shrieking cars
flashing through the forest is not to be missed; particularly in
the cool of a morning practice session. And if (or when)
you’ve had your fill of sensory overload, wander along to the
braking area for Turn 5 to see who’s taken their daily dose
of brave pills.
Canada Corner (Turn 12)
A tight bend at the end of a long straight section, with amazing
viewing angles. It’s a great spot for overtakes and
challenging for the drivers, who must negotiate a slight
left turn under heavy braking, before making the sharp right turn
through the apex.
Thunder Valley (Turn 13)
Out of Canada Corner, drivers open the throttle to blast through
a section named for the way the engine sounds reverberate against
the forest and signage. It’s a spectacular way to get close
to the cars as they launch out of the corner under
full acceleration. Both this section and Canada Corner are
on the shaded, heavily wooded path that provides a welcome
relief from the mid-day sun.
Road America Straight
Even the main straight at Road America is uniquely challenging.
Drivers approach the start/finish line and flag-stand blind and
must crest a steep uphill section before it comes into view.
The Carousel (Turns 9 & 10)
Head to the inside of The Carousel to watch and time the
cars as they accelerate out of Turn 8, pass under
the bridge, and arc gently downhill through 240 degrees
of race track before passing directly below you en route to one
of the most famous turns in motorsports “The Kink.”
The bridge is a convenient point to start your watch, and you’ll
easily find a bush, tree, or some other (stationary) feature
on the exit of the turn to serve as the finish line for your
“section timing” exercise; one that will make abundantly clear
which cars are gaining (or losing) time negotiating The
Carousel and thus carrying the most speed into The Kink on down
through Kettle Bottoms to Canada Corner.
Outside of Turn 7
Stand eye level with the track surface and can look straight
through the apex. From there you can watch the cars turn in,
roll slightly, change direction and maybe even induce some
slip from the rear as they make their way around. You’re low
enough to see daylight under the race cars and close enough
to hear the tires. You can see the suspension at work, and
pick out which drivers are committed, and who’s using the curbs.
The best part is that like most of the great spots at Road
America, you don’t need special accreditation to see this,
it’s open to everyone.
Access Around the Facility
Can I bring my own golf cart, ATV, dirt bike, etc?
Spectators are NOT allowed to bring off-road vehicles
on the property. In other words, the vehicle needs to be street
licensed in order to use it on our property. Bicycles or
street-licensed mopeds are acceptable modes of transportation
around the facility but are not allowed in the paddock. Roller
skates, roller blades, scooters (motorized or non-motorized), and
personal golf carts are NOT allowed.
Are alcoholic beverages available at Road America?
Beer and wine are available for purchase at our concession
Turn 1 concession stand does serve mixed drinks and liquor.
Are pets allowed on the premises?
Pets are strongly discouraged. You must remember that this is a
It is Road America’s policy that should you absolutely need to
bring your pet, it must be kept under the control of a leash or
in your vehicle with adequate ventilation, food, and water.
Pets are NOT allowed unattended in the campground.
You must pick up and dispose of waste left behind by your pet.
Should the pet cause harm or become a disturbance to other
spectators, it will be grounds for ejection from the park without
Pets are NOT permitted in Paddock areas during
Can I bring my own food and drink to Road America?
Carry-ins are allowed into the property.
We ask that you refrain from bringing your own beverages/coolers
into the concession stands and seating areas around the stands.
You can bring your own beverages, food, grills, and coolers and
have a picnic in the open grass areas or if you are camping
We ask that you do not bring glass into the property and that you
dispose of charcoal in the properly labeled containers.
Keep in mind that Road America is known for its great food at
several concession stands around the property.
What Concessions are available?
Paddock Concessions / Parker John’s BBQ and
New to the track is Parker John’s BBQ & Wings located in the
Paddock! Treat yourself to our hickory smoked pulled pork, jumbo
smoked chicken wings, massive loaded baked potatoes, and
their famous Wisconsin fried cheese curds. Escape the sun
under the covered outdoor patio area and cool off with an
ice-cold beer, your favorite soft drink, and soft-serve ice
Plymouth Optimists – Located inside Turn 6:
Stop on by to experience delicious steak sandwiches, hot
pretzels, or nachos with cheese, as well as a selection of 10
Elkhart Lake Lions – Located at the top of the hill
overlooking Turns 5 and 13:
Do you enjoy sweet corn, then come up the hill for a hot steamed
cob of corn with butter and your choice of seasonings?
Enjoy broasted appetizers (chicken tenders, onion rings,
french fries, cheese curds, mozzarella sticks). For a unique
taste try their signature sandwich, the 1/3 lb. schnitzel
burger sandwich, topped off with a slice of pepper jack cheese.
Several other delicious brats and burgers are available as
Lakeland University’s Launch Pad – Student
Operated - Located outside Turn 12:
The Launch Pad, operated by Launch: (Lakeland University
Student-Run Businesses), is cooking up smoked pork, wings with
bourbon BBQ sauce, all-day breakfast, 1/3lb burgers, Johnsonville
brats, nachos, and a new featured special each weekend. Support
young entrepreneurs! Visit the Launch Pad, above Turn 12.
The Gear Box – Located on the Midway:
Enjoy famous Egger Sandwiches, made-to-order omelets, awesome RGP
potatoes, roasted sweet corn, their signature T.K.A sandwich, or
the ever-popular GEARBOX MELT. Try some delicious wood-fired
pulled pork & brisket cooked in an on-site BBQ pit. Enjoy views
of Turns 5 and 14 from the large patio and bench seating
area. An A.T.M and ice are available.
Gear Box II – Located by the Carousel and Motorplex
Campers, let them do your cooking for you! Featuring the
famous Egger Sandwiches & all-you-can-eat pancakes. Enjoy
wood-fired pork and their awesome track famous GEARBOX Melt
signature sandwich. They also offer campfire wood while
supplies last. An A.T.M and ice is available.
Altona at Turn 14:
Altona / Turn 14 – The Legendary Altona Supper Club of New
Holstein is located at the last Turn (Turn 14) and offers their
famous patty melts, along with traditional brats & hamburgers.
Pizza, BBQ pulled pork, ham & cheese, mac & cheese, chef salads,
and more. Come say hi to the Altona Staff and get some great
food & beverages for a great price!
Los Amigos Locos at Turn 1:
Head on down to Los Amigos Locos on the outside corner of Turn 1
to experience the track’s only authentic Mexican cuisine. They
offer items such as Mexican street tacos, carnitas tacos,
chicken quesadillas, churros, and of course freshly made
margaritas! Let the kids enjoy the Family Fun Zone and some
of our kid-friendly items on the menu including grilled cheese,
hotdogs, french fries, along with a variety of hand-scooped ice
cream and treats such as the Spongebob popsicle and rainbow
pops. Enjoy an ice-cold beer, margarita, bloody mary, or
mixed drinks under the covered patio seating or belly up to
the new trackside bar to watch the race. Just a reminder to
all you early risers and all-nighters they now
serve amazing breakfast tacos and breakfast sandwiches all
Perl’s on The Hill:
Enjoy the view from the top of the hill and see racing action
from Turns 6, 7, 8, and 9 up at Perl’s on the Hill. Treat you and
a friend to the track’s largest Nacho Grande or grab a walking
taco for yourself and don’t forget to try one of the local Cedar
Crest ice cream flavors in a waffle cone. Lots of other
great food options are available. Find a seat under the covered
patio dining space and enjoy a day of fast racing and great food.
Serving hot made to order breakfast sandwiches all day.
WIN Tunnel – Near the VIP Tower along the front
Antoinette’s at the Win Tunnel features all your race track
favorites PLUS their delicious Mac & Cheese with homemade
sauce. Featured choices are Original, Chicken Bacon Ranch,
Southwest, Buffalo, and Johnsonville Brat. They also feature
breakfast items, tacos, nachos, ice-cold beer as well as liquor
and cocktails. Visit Antoinette’s at the Win Tunnel next to the
Antoinette’s at Turn 3:
Antoinette’s at Turn 3 features their famous broasted chicken
served at their restaurant in downtown Plymouth. They also
serve all of your race track favorites like Johnsonville Brats,
burgers, chicken sandwiches, and hot dogs. They also feature
breakfast items, tacos, nachos, and ice-cold beer. Visit
Antoinette’s at Turn 3 across from the Corvette Corral.
Can I use my cell phone while at Road America?
You can use your cell phone at RA, but keep in mind that service
areas vary, and access declines as the number of people attending
an event increases.
Road America does not have cell phone charging stations.
Do Not rely on your cell phone if you need to relay or
receive important information.
Do you have camping at Road America?
Road America does allow spectator tent or motorhome camping
during major public events.
We recommend that you make advance reservations.
You can make your reservations online or by contacting the Road
America offices at 1-800-365-7223.
Contact an RA security representative and supply them with a
description of the child, i.e., name, age, the color of hair,
clothes they are wearing, etc.
What to Leave at Home
What to leave at home?
Personal golf carts, ATV’s and unlicensed vehicles
are NOT allowed on Road America property.
They WILL be impounded upon arrival until the end of
Firearms and fireworks are also prohibited.
Drones, QuadCopters, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems/Vehicle
(UAS/UAV) are NOT Allowed.
Offensive signage (including flags and banners that contain the
Any other items that may impose a safety hazard or diminish the
enjoyment of the event for other guests.
Prohibited items discovered during security inspections at the
facility entrances must either be returned to the owner’s vehicle
or discarded. Unlawful items discovered during security
inspections are subject to confiscation and the person in
possession of those items is subject to arrest. Any prohibited
items discovered inside the facility are subject to confiscation.
Track Speed Record
What is the track speed record?
1:39.866 / 145.924mph (234.791 kph) set by Dario Franchitti,
2000 Team Kool Green Honda Reynard, CART Championship Race
Where can I find information on Road America’s History?
The History of Road America
In the early 1950s, sports car races were being run on the
streets in and around Elkhart Lake. When the state legislature
banned racing on public roads, a man named Clif Tufte organized a
group of influential local citizens and leaders of the Chicago
Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). This group
developed plans and sold stock to build a permanent racecourse.
The overall vision of Road America grew out of the dreams of
Tufte, a highway engineer, who chose 525 acres of Wisconsin
farmland outside the Village of Elkhart Lake for the track.
Tufte’s dream became a reality in April 1955, the natural
topography of the glacial Kettle Moraine area was utilized for
the track, sweeping around rolling hills and plunging through
ravines. By September 10, 1955, the track’s first SCCA national
race weekend was held. At 4.048 miles in length, with 14 turns,
the track is virtually the same today as it was when it was first
laid out and is revered the world over as one of the world’s
finest and most challenging road courses.
Millions of dollars in improvements have been made throughout the
years, but the original 4.048-mile, 14-turn configuration has
never been altered. In 2005, Elkhart Lake’s Road America, Inc.
celebrated its 50th anniversary. Its history was documented in a
book, “Road America: Celebrating 50 Years of Road Racing” by Tom
Schultz. Celebrities such as David Letterman, Tom Cruise, Patrick
Dempsey, Tim Allen, Ashley Judd and the late Paul Newman have
visited this venue, not only for the great racing but also the
scenic surroundings of this resort community.
Road America is big business, attracting 800,000 visitors a year
from every corner of the world. Economic impact studies show that
Road America, its events and visitors generate more than $70
million dollars annually each year. Over 425 events are held
annually at Road America, often running multiple activities on
the same day incorporating the four-mile track, the
interior Road America Motorplex and the beautiful
grounds surrounding the facility.
The First Race
In 1955 the SCCA granted a sanction for an SCCA National, the
highest form of road racing in the country at the time, held
September 10 and 11. The feature, a 148-mile race for the era’s
large sports racing cars, became a duel between two men and their
cars. Sherwood Johnson of Rye, N.Y., was one of the country’s
best drivers. He was driving semi-works D Jaguar for the Briggs
Cunningham team. Phil Hill of Santa Monica, Calif., a rising
racing star on the west coast, took to the track in a Ferrari
Monza. For 37 laps Johnston and Hill were inseparable but then
began to fight for the lead during the last six laps. As they
approached the finish line on the last lap, Hill inched ahead and
barely won the race. Phil Hill’s average speed was 80.2 mph.
The First Professional Race Weekend
The first professional race weekend was the August 1956 NASCAR
Grand National race. At the time NASCAR was just a regional
southern series and not widely popular. Well under 10,000
spectators attended the two-day event. On Saturday Paul Goldsmith
won in a Jaguar Mk., VII sedan with a winning speed of 59.2 mph.
The Sunday race was run in the rain and was a display of spinouts
and hay bale bashing. The day’s winner was Tim Flock in a Mercury
at a speed of 71.4 mph.
Who do I contact for Media Credentials?
Media credentials must be requested in accordance with RA
policies, additional information is available on
our News page.
Who do I contact for Vendor space during an event?
Who do I contact for Volunteering at Road America?
Road America is always looking for non-profit organizations that
are interested in assisting with parking attendant positions,
concessions, etc. Call us at 800-365-7223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do I contact to make wedding arrangements at Road America?
Please contact our offices at 1-800-365-7223 or
Driving the Track
Can I buy Fuel at Road America?
Yes, fuel is available for purchase via credit card at all club
events. To gain access to the pumps, purchasers need to be
participants who are registered in an event that is taking place.
There are two types of fuel available: Sunoco Standard, 110
octane, (leaded), and Sunoco 260 GTX , 98 octane (unleaded).
What is it like to drive the track from a racer’s perspective?
Road America is a racetrack that sports car drivers both revere
and respect. Like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit in
France, Road America’s extended straights are a test of
horsepower and its high-speed curves are a test of bravery.
We asked Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner to take us for a
virtual lap around this fast, flowing circuit that winds through
the hills and valleys of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine. Here is what
the 26-year-old driver and 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans winner had to
say about this challenging 4-mile, 14-turn road course that’s
known as the National Park of Speed:
I like race tracks that are fast, with quick corners and a
layout that has a rhythm – and Road America has all of those
things. When my Corvette’s setup is right and the car feels
comfortable, it’s a very rewarding lap.
Turn 1 is very fast and very difficult because you are
turning and braking simultaneously. I approach the first turn
flat out in sixth gear, then downshift to fourth and use the
access road on the left side as my braking reference. The key
here is to carry the engine speed through the middle of the
corner and then get back on the power hard.
Coming out of Turn 1, I shift up to fifth gear through the
gentle Turn 2 bend and approach Turn 3, which can be a difficult
corner to get right. Going into the turn, I downshift to third;
with the camber in this corner, it’s easy to lock upright the
front tire. If you’re close behind another car coming out of Turn
1, then Turn 3 can be a good passing opportunity. However,
there’s not much room at the exit with a ditch behind the rumble
strips, so if you use the curb you have to get back on the road
Turn 4 is just a gradual bend in the road, but Turn 5 is
super important because it’s a great passing opportunity. Going
downhill under the Sargento Bridge, I’m in sixth gear through one
of the fastest parts of the track. The braking zone for Turn 5 is
a great place to pass; we decelerate from 150 mph, so the balance
of the car under hard braking is critical. There’s room on the
exit to run wide, and then it’s back hard on the throttle going
up the hill to the Corvette Bridge.
You have to be easy on the brakes going under the Corvette
Bridge into Turn 6 because the car gets very light going over the
crest of the hill. It’s a blind corner, too, which adds to the
excitement factor. This corner has a lot of grip, so it’s
possible to toss the car across the apex and then let the track
catch it at end of Turn 6 – big fun!
I’m back on the throttle hard going into Turn 7 and through
the Hurry Downs, one of my favorite sections at Road America. The
car needs good balance to make this transition quickly; if it’s
right, you don’t use the brakes at all, just lift a little on the
throttle. Turn 8 is a tight, 90-degree corner, so if the guy in
front makes a mistake in Turn 7, you can really put the pressure
on here. The track is typically a little slippery here in the
braking zone. I go down to second gear, let the track catch the
car in the apex, and then power slide out of Turn 8.
Next up are Road America’s most famous corners, the Carousel
and the Kink. I hold my breath a bit and get settled for this
very difficult series of turns. Going into the Carousel, I bring
the car to the left and try to drive it as flat and long as
possible, usually taking several apexes. I turn the steering
wheel to the point that I can get the most out of the front
tires, and use my right foot on the gas pedal to steer the car.
The Carousel sets you up for the long, fast ride through the Kink
and Kettle Bottoms.
The Kink gets your undivided attention – it’s one quick
corner. There are faster corners, but the Kink is special because
you can’t take it flat out. It becomes a game to see who can stay
on the throttle the longest. Hitting a curb in the Kink can upset
the car, and that’s the last thing you want in that corner. I
enter the Kink in fifth or sixth gear, depending on the gear
ratios, and lift just a bit on the entry. I admit that on the
first lap I do tap the brake, but after that, I go through the
Kink without braking – although my foot is usually hovering over
the brake pedal!
After the Kink, it’s a flat-out run down through a tunnel of
trees to Canada Corner and another excellent overtaking
opportunity. If you have a fast car, you can really make up time
on a competitor, but it’s difficult to pull off a pass if he
drives a defensive line. I shift down to second gear for Canada
Corner, and it’s important to have a car that puts the power down
well to accelerate through Thunder Valley and the Bill Mitchell
Turn 13 seems to get faster every year as the engineers find
new ways to give us more downforce. The exit is very fast, but
it’s tough to see where the apex is and how much room you have at
the exit. Last year I had a close encounter with the wall there
when I was pushing too hard on cold tires. I learned that Turn 13
can bite you.
It’s important to get a good exit from Turn 14, the final
corner because it leads onto the long, uphill straight. The car
gains speed slowly climbing the hill and then sets you back in
the seat when the track finally flattens out. The front straight
is a good place to draft. The GT cars often run two-wide here,
which makes it difficult for the faster Prototype cars to get
around us, but that’s just part of the multi-class racing at Road