List: Ten Great American Road Courses

By John Beltz Snyder

May 03, 2011


Infineon Raceway – 2.52 miles, 12 turns: Located in Sonoma, California, we recently tackled this track in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. In its full-course form, the monstrous Turn 6 is a doozy, a dizzying, ear-popping downhill carousel. NASCAR uses a modified version of this road course, bypassing that turn.


Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – 2.238 miles, 11 turns: Another great track in California, this course in Monterey is famous for the infamous Corkscrew. We love to watch the Monterey Historics, which features classic racecars on this favorite road course.


Road America – 4.084 miles, 14 turns: In Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, this long road course is a favorite of many drivers. Pilots should watch out for “the kink” at Turn 11. Also, deer have been known to cause problems at Road America.


Monticello Motor Club – 4.1 miles, 22 turns: With 450 feet of elevation change, this private track is located in the woods of Monticello New York. It was under consideration for hosting of the upcoming Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, which eventually went to Austin, Texas. Keep an eye out for our upcoming profile of this road course.


Virginia International Raceway – 3.27 miles, 17 turns (Full Course configuration): Venue to various racing series, NASCAR testing, and Ariel Atom events, VIR is notable in its many different configurations. Located in Alton, Virginia, it has many interestingly named turns, including “Hog Pen,” “Horseshoe,” “Snake,” “Roller Coaster,” “NASCAR Bend,” and “The Bitch.”


Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – 2.4 miles, 15 turns: Located just outside Lexington, Ohio in Troy Township, Mid-Ohio is challenging and technical track with high-speed straights. Take care not to totally lose control on the turn entering “Thunder Valley.”


Sebring International Raceway – 3.7 miles, 17 turns: The site of a former Army Air Force training base now hosts the American Le Mans Series 12 Hours Of Sebring. It is rough track crisscrossed with old runways, and its “Sunset Bend” Turn 17 is particularly well known.


Lime Rock Park – 1.53 miles, 7 turns: A short, fast course in Lakeville Connecticut, Lime Rock forgoes bleachers, with spectators able to watch from the hillsides. The turns have very straightforward names, such as “Big Bend,” “The Left Hander,” “The Right Hander,” “The Uphill,” “West Bend,” and “The Downhill.”


Watkins Glen International – 3.37 miles, 12 turns: Watkins Glen, New York was home of the United States Grand Prix for 20 years, and has hosted numerous racing series, vintage events, and driving legends. Turn 9’s blind approach and sharp angle make it particularly tricky.


Road Atlanta – 2.54 miles, 12 turns: Home to Petit Le Mans, a 1000-mile/10-hour endurance race. Located near Braselton Georgia, Road Atlanta’s downhill esses are its most striking features, along with its treacherous Turn 12, a fast sweeper onto the front straightaway.

Infineon Mazda Road Monticello Virginia Mid-Ohio Sebring Lime Watkins Road

They’re built specifically for racing, and there are no speed limits. For obvious reasons, we love being able to drive on a racetrack. Even as spectators, we come to know and love these venues that play host to the greatest sights, sounds, history, and experiences a car lover can imagine. This list offers 10 truly great road courses in the United States.