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I wanted to find a track that didnt defeat the purpose of me going to the track to "not crash". I know a lot of tracks still have different types of barriers that you can still crash into. Are there any around Chicago or within a couple hours drive that have few or no barriers?
 

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Yes, Gingerman. Nothing to hit. You could spin all the way to Cananda and not hit anything. It's the only track I would drive with just my factory seat belt. Any of the others, I would drive without a harness and HANS device.


Gingerman Raceway, Ltd.




CGI Motorsports

Also, Chuck and Phil Miranda put on a nice track day....and reasonably priced and lots of track time. I'll be there one day before the end of the year.


Autobahn didn't have much to hit either, as I recall.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.
 

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Yes, Gingerman. Nothing to hit. You could spin all the way to Cananda and not hit anything. It's the only track I would drive with just my factory seat belt. Any of the others, I would drive without a harness and HANS device.


Gingerman Raceway, Ltd.




CGI Motorsports

Also, Chuck and Phil Miranda put on a nice track day....and reasonably priced and lots of track time. I'll be there one day before the end of the year.


Autobahn didn't have much to hit either, as I recall.
Watch the wall on turn 11:no:
 

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+1 to Gingerman

Of course if you could talk someone into letting you run your car on the kart track, you could drive at Autobahn too :p
 

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Yes, Gingerman. Nothing to hit. You could spin all the way to Cananda and not hit anything. It's the only track I would drive with just my factory seat belt. Any of the others, I would drive without a harness and HANS device.


Gingerman Raceway, Ltd.




CGI Motorsports

Also, Chuck and Phil Miranda put on a nice track day....and reasonably priced and lots of track time. I'll be there one day before the end of the year.


Autobahn didn't have much to hit either, as I recall.

Geez Tracy - quit scaring the new kid...

Trees at Blackhawk, what trees? I don't see no trees... ;)

Actually I'd have to agree with Tracy's assessment - and with her recommendation of CGI - they run a great show. While I know you could find something to hit at Gingerman, you'd have to try really hard...

Road America isn't too bad either - lots of run-off area there, although the speed tends to scare some people.

Autobahn on the other hand - well, not that I'm speaking from experience or anything, and don't go talking to JimK... In general it's pretty safe, but there are some pretty tricky/technical spots that can catch you out if you're not careful - followed by hard things...

The point though is any track can be dangerous, whether there's something to hit or not... The two big things I tell my students are: 1) Start out slow and work your way up, learning the track first before you try to go fast. And, 2) Not to over-react if you make a mistake.

I'm sure you've seen pictures of wrecked Elises... For instance someone last week posted a picture of their car sliding sideways - not a wreck, but it scared the sh** out of me... It was sliding sideway through the dust/dirt, off-track at some place in California. Beautiful picture, dirt flying through the air, perfect lighting... But I kept thinking - lucky a tire on the leading side didn't catch a soft spot, hole, or a curb, or that car would have flipped... :eek:

Just find a good school to go to - with good instructors - and you'll have a fun, safe time.

BTW - check out the Audi club - they run at all the tracks around the greater Chicago area and have great instruction. You don't have to own an Audi to join - there are usually half a dozen Lotuses at each event.

Cheers!
 

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and don't go talking to JimK...
hey!:mad:
actually Erv's right, ACC is a very safe track, just made a stupid mistake in the rain. The thing about Autobahn is remembering which turns close up on you and are therefore a very late turn-in and apex.
I think Blackhawk is pretty safe too, as it's not too fast (esp. in an Elise) and most of the trees are pretty far away.
I don't know about Road America for an inexperienced driver, pretty damn fast and the Kink is particularly unforgiving.
Go to an Audi event and have Erv instruct you.
 

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Great Lakes Lotus Club will be at Gingerman on Monday August 11th. I'm just sayin' ;)

Keep an eye on GLLC @ MotorsportReg as registration for that event will be up soon - we'll post to Lotus Talk also.
 

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If you want to try Road America, be sure to do it with a driver's school ( I personally learned the track through many BMWCCA schools there and recommend them) so you have an instructor in the car with you to explain the corners and braking zones. The track is very fast and it is easy to "lose it" in many of the corners with "the kink" being the worst because of the high speed and the unforgiving concrete wall just off the track. Learning at any track with an experienced instructor for that track is the way to go. You will quickly learn how much you don't know about driving and you will more easily pick up the essential skills needed to negotiate the track properly. As I mentioned in one of your other posts, an autocross school or a handling school at a skid pad is the way to go for safety at the handling limits of your car. Especially at a skid pad you can lose control and spin your car to your heart's content with no chance of damaging it. The Badger Bimmers chapter of BMWCCA used to put on handling skills days in an autocross type setting that included a skid pad and they probably still do today. This is how I gained my basic track driving skills before actually getting out on a track and I would urge you to do the same.
 

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As I mentioned in one of your other posts, an autocross school or a handling school at a skid pad is the way to go for safety at the handling limits of your car. Especially at a skid pad you can lose control and spin your car to your heart's content with no chance of damaging it. The Badger Bimmers chapter of BMWCCA used to put on handling skills days in an autocross type setting that included a skid pad and they probably still do today. This is how I gained my basic track driving skills before actually getting out on a track and I would urge you to do the same.
:up: Although it's tough to find a school that provides the experience - I completely agree with Dan on the skid pad. I got the chance to take my Elise on a skid pad a few years back, and it's amazing what you learn - both the ability to control your car once you're in oversteer/understeer conditions, but also what it takes to cross the line into those conditions in the first place.
 

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Gingerman.....from Mapquest. The circled area is really the only place you could have an issue....except something bizzare like having a tire blow as you were parallel to pit road.
 

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BTW - check out the Audi club - they run at all the tracks around the greater Chicago area and have great instruction. You don't have to own an Audi to join - there are usually half a dozen Lotuses at each event.

Cheers!
+1 for the Audi Club! There's even an event this weekend at Blackhawk Farms, if you're itching to get out on track. (AudiChicago.org to sign up)

If you are driving hard enough at your first few events to worry about hitting something, your instructor is not doing his/her job.

Even the "safest" track is not safe. Accidents happen. I have an amazing series of pics somewhere of a red M3 flipping at Gingerman...
 

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Even the "safest" track is not safe. Accidents happen. I have an amazing series of pics somewhere of a red M3 flipping at Gingerman...

At Gingerman last year a Mini lost its brakes at the end of the main straight, went straight off the track into a berm and summersaulted a few times. Luckily both driver and instructor were OK.
 

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I think the OP was asking which local track has the fewest trees, concrete walls, tires walls, fences, ARMCO barriers that could become a factor, should he drive off course. I guess if we're just going to try to scare him, sure, you might get killed driving to the track too. :rolleyes:
 

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I would also recommend Gingerman. It's a great track for Elises and there were time when I was trying to lose the back end and couldn't do it. There is one area that can be risky right before the long straight but you learn quickly where it is. I always thought the north autobahn track was good for beginners too. You can get in trouble but not if you just stay within your talent's limits which is very doable. It was my first track event and it was great fun.
 

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CGI and GingerMan

Yes, Gingerman. Nothing to hit. You could spin all the way to Cananda and not hit anything. It's the only track I would drive with just my factory seat belt. Any of the others, I would drive without a harness and HANS device.


Gingerman Raceway, Ltd.




CGI Motorsports

Also, Chuck and Phil Miranda put on a nice track day....and reasonably priced and lots of track time. I'll be there one day before the end of the year.


Autobahn didn't have much to hit either, as I recall.
**************************

I can vouch for the good track day provided by Chuck and Phil at GingerMan.

Also, anyone have their Lotus lap times at GingerMan? Is 1:38 good?
Ray
 

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Agree with Gingerman as well as CGI.
Would also consider Putnam Park west of Indy. A bit more than 2 hours...more like 3...but very safe and fast. One of the best tracks for a Lotus.
 
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