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Road America

THE HISTORY OF ROAD AMERICA

roadamericaIn the early 1950's, 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 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.

TODAY – 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 $100 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 Blain’s Farm & Fleet 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.

 

The High Performance Driving Program teaches the physics and dynamics of precision driving. Participants learn advanced car control techniques through intense drills involving braking, cornering and acceleration. The program includes a variety of car control skills along with some exciting autocross challenges. Participants will also receive a track tour or behind the scenes tour of Road America.

A valid driver's license is required.

Participants are allowed to use their own vehicles.

Classes run from 9AM to 4PM

School supplied cars include: Chevrolet Cruze, Impala, Malibu, Camaro, Corvette or similar.

Price: $450 per person (school-supplied vehicle)

$350 per person (participant-supplied vehicle)

A lunch break is provided during the day and is usually 40-60 minutes. Please feel free to bring a bag lunch, take advantage of our Chef’s Selection box lunch (order when registering) or visit Elkhart Lake or Plymouth.

 

The High Performance Driving Program 2 (HPDP2) teaches the physics and dynamics of precision driving. Participants learn advanced car control techniques through intense drills involving braking, cornering and acceleration. The six-hour program includes a variety of car control skills along with approximately 60 minutes of classroom discussions.  The program is highlighted by on track lead/follow sessions leaving drivers with an experience of a lifetime.

Participants must provide their own vehicles show proof of insurance and registration and keep their vehicles adequately fueled during the event.  Vehicles are subject to a safety inspection by one of our qualified instructors.

Courses run rain or shine.

Prerequisites:

Participants interested in enrolling in this course need to be at least 16 years of age and posses a valid driver’s license.  They must show proof that they have successfully completed the High Performance Driving Program or similar course within the past three years or have participated in a track day within the previous ten years.

Proper safety gear is mandatory and includes the following:

Long Pants

Close Toed Shoes (Athletic or Driving Shoes)

Long-sleeved shirt or jacket

Snell approved helmet

Course size is limited and reserved on a first come, first served basis.

A lunch break is provided during the day and is usually 40-60 minutes. Please feel free to bring a bag lunch, take advantage of our Chef’s Selection box lunch (order when registering) or visit Elkhart Lake or Plymouth.

Price: $350 per person

Vehicles: Participant supplied vehicles only (street legal - high performance recommended)

Optional Helmet Rental: $10(Snell rated helmet will be required for on track sessions)

 

How to get to Road America

ADDRESS

N7390 State Hwy 67

Plymouth, WI 53073

920.892.4576

FROM THE NORTH (Green Bay, Minneapolis)

Travel south on I-43 to Sheboygan area

Exit Hwy 23 West to Plymouth

Exit Hwy 67 North to the right

Turn left (North) at the stop sign and proceed 3.5 miles to the track

FROM THE SOUTH (Milwaukee, Chicago)

Travel north on  I-43 to Hwy 57 north (Plymouth)

Take Hwy 57 North to Cty Rd J

(about 2 miles north of Hwy 23 overpass)

Turn left (West) onto Cty Rd J

Turn right (North) onto Hwy 67

FROM THE WEST (Madison, Fond du Lac, Fox Valley)

Travel on Hwy 23 east to Hwy 67

Exit Hwy 67 North to the right.

Turn left (north) at the stop sign onto Hwy 67 North and proceed 3.5 miles to the track

GPS COORDINATES

North 43º, 48.340 Min.

West 87º, 59.477 Min.

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