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Road Atlanta: The first thing that strikes you about this place is that Forza doesn't do it justice. As you drive in the main gate, the hill from the Suzuki bridge into turn 1 looks more like the first drop of a roller coaster than the gentle downhill slope on your TV screen. You wonder if the other elevation changes are more dramatic than TV and video games suggest; they are.
Once on track, the place has a fantastic rhythm to it. Turn 1 is an ultra-fast right-hander that opens up as it climbs uphill. The track then bends to the left into 2 and back right into 3 at the top of the hill. 3 is a blind apex at speed and absolutely essential to nail properly or you will be offline for 4 and the "esses". The "esses" are a fabulous series of right-left-right bends that dip into a valley and back uphill into 5. 5 is a fairly tight left-hander that exits uphill.
There is enough compression at turn-in here to allow for surprisingly fast entry speeds. Overslow the entry and you will be eaten up by other cars in its uphill exit. Use all the exit curbing here and commit to it early. The straight that follows is quite short, you can grab 5th if you got a good run out of 5 before entering 6, the first part of the "button-hook" before the back straight. 6 is heavily banked and can be taken flat in 3rd. Better get it hauled down for 7 though. Over-cook 7 and you will lose seconds (not tenths) on the longest straight of the track. 7 to 10a is a crooked straightaway where you can relax your hands and reflect upon your previous mistakes. 10a is the hardest braking zone on the track. It's a classic compromise corner, stay driver's left on exit to set up for 10b and it's (again)
uphill exit. Put the car under your favorite colored box on the Suzuki bridge
as you climb the hill and bend to the right. (I chose yellow). Get ready for the "leap of faith" as you accelerate madly over the crest of a blind hill under a bridge. The car feels light and skittery as it unweights over the hill while your foot is plastered to the floor in forth gear. Watch carefully for your turn-in reference for 12. Here you'll be getting some reassuring compression
as you're approaching the rev-limiter. Grab 5th just past the apex when the car feels the most planted and try to avoid the track-out curbing which can really upset the car. Turn 1 is just a short straight away. It's a high-speed sweeper that bends back uphill and can tolerate alot of entry speed, provided you don't turn-in too early.
I had a couple "a-ha!" moments as the week ended:
1) this is more of a rhythm track than Road America. Many turns have blind apices and come up too fast for good visual turn-in cues. This is especially true in turns 2 through the esses.
2) the esses done properly are very rhythmic and enjoyable and will accomadate a surprising amount of speed and surprisingly little steering input.
3) Turns 10b, 11, and 12 are really a single huge arc to the right when done properly. This arc just happens to have a small mountain and several gear changes in the middle of it.
4) there's really only one straight long enough to relax your grip and focus, it's really a more technical track
I met several colorful characters including a former owner of the track who also owned a Lotus Esprit team back in the day. You may of heard of a couple of his drivers: Hurley Haywood and Paul Newman. Also, planes loaded with cannabis used to land on the back straight prior to his reign.
BTW, I did OK, for an old man running with the kart-kids. Qualified 15 of 18 in my group (I need to talk to SB about their group assignments). Finished 14th in race #1 and had a great race #2, finishing 9th. Got down to a 1:44.1XX. Even had a few good passes, including a "diamond-generator" (thanks Feff) in 12. Most importantly, I didn't spend the next race's budget in crash damage.
I will definately make the trip back to Road Atlanta, if not in November, some day soon.
 

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Thanks! I've never done Road Atlanta in a Skippy car, but I've done it with the Porsche Driving Experience (Doc Bundy was my right seater!). I can see the track in front of my eyes as I'm reading your track notes... nicely done, and congrats on hanging with the brats!
 
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