Cars

18 American Race Tracks You Should Be Driving Right Now

Published On 01/13/2015 Published On 01/13/2015
The Best Race Tracks to Drive Right Now
Porsche

Despite the enormous investment required to build and operate a race track, America is fortunate to have a ton of top notch courses just begging you to get out there and drive. Some are utterly fantastic, but are so far out in the sticks you need to take an extra day off of work just to get there and back -- so, knowing that you're a busy professional person, we rounded up 18 that are an easy drive from civilization. If you live anywhere remotely close to any of these cities, and you haven’t already been on these tracks, you’re doing it wrong.

Fortunately, they’re all open to the public. Just pick the time and group that works for you and get after it.

Bertron8

Near New York City

Lime Rock Park
Distance from city: 2.5 hours
In a very real sense, Lime Rock’s the spiritual grassroots home of motorsports in New England. So many different clubs and organizations host events here that you could spend almost all of your free time on track. And that's not a bad thing.


Monticello Motor Club
Distance from city: 2 hours
A combination of seriously fast straights and complex corners that require ridiculous amounts of patience to get right means you’ll have fun in just about any car at Monticello. As a bonus, there’s also a pretty righteous off-road course on the grounds.

Drew Stephens

Near Washington DC

Summit Point Raceway
Distance: 1.5 hours
There are three different circuits on the Summit Point property, and you can generally take your own car one or two Fridays a month. When some of the larger national car clubs rent the track you can get some serious seat time on its various layouts, one of which includes a replica of the infamous Karussell corner at the Nurburgring.

The359

New Jersey Motorsports Park
Distance: 3 hours
There are two track layouts at New Jersey Motorsports Park: Thunderbolt and Lightning. NJMP frequently plays host to several amateur racing series every month, and also features its own track day and high performance driving school series.

High Plains Raceway

Near Denver

High Plains Raceway
Distance: 1 hour
Just an hour east of the Mile High City, the relatively new High Plains Raceway has some of the most cost-efficient track time you’ll find anywhere, and it’s far enough away from the mountains that there's nowhere near as much snow as Denver. Translation: it stays open year-round.

Pueblo Motorsports Park
Distance: 2 hours
Elevation changes, flowing twisty bits leading onto a long straight, the Rockies on the horizon—what’s not to love?

Willow Springs

Near Los Angeles

Willow Springs
Distance: 1.5 hours
There’s something going on at Willow Springs nearly every weekend of the year, so depending on how you work your schedule, there’s never an excuse to have to sit around not driving on the weekend.

Buttonwillow
Distance: 2.5 hours
If you’re going to spend two and a half hours driving to a track, it’s gotta be a good one. Buttonwillow’s deceptive in that it’s faster and trickier than it looks. If you wanna learn something new, you want this track.

Laguna Seca

Near San Francisco

Laguna Seca
Distance: 2 hours
“The Corkscrew”—you know it, or you haven’t been paying attention at all. Laguna Seca’s home to some of the finest vintage racing every summer, but the rest of the year it opens its schedule up to various car clubs, whose members clamor for a chance to tackle the legendary course for themselves.

Jennifer Low

Sonoma Raceway
Distance: 1 hour
For a car enthusiast, Sonoma, neigh Infineon, neigh Sears Point, is the best thing about Wine Country. It’s a bay-adjacent course that has over 160 feet of elevation change and is so good that even NASCAR can’t resist going there to turn left and right.

Scott Tucker

Near Austin

Circuit of the Americas
Distance: 30 minutes
The new home of Formula One in the United States does allow some clubs to partake in that awesome climb to turn one, then the roller coaster of a course that follows suit. COTA's worth the drive from much, much further than just Austin.

Harris Hill Road

Harris Hill Road
Distance: 30 minutes
Harris Hill consists of a combination of high speed straights and bumpy sweeping corners that’ll test both your suspension and your commitment to a given turn. There’s plenty of course time available and the track even hosts its own racing series.

Paul A. Valentine

Near Dallas

Eagle's Canyon Raceway
Distance: 1 hour
ECR will test your brakes as well as your brain. A solid track with plenty of schools going on, you'll find out your aptitude for driving track very quickly.

Motorsport Ranch
Distance: 1 hour
Though most clubs in the region make it out to MSR at least once a year, it’s not the access that sets MSR apart, it’s the facilities. For members, MSR has garages that cost about the same as a good storage unit, so you can keep your track toy on-site.

Royal Broil

Near Chicago

Road America
Distance: 3 hours
Road America is fast, it’s old, and ask anyone who’s been there and they’ll tell you it has the best concessions of any track around. Bonus: head over there in the winter and you can autocross in the snow, which takes legit skill.

Autobahn Country Club
Distance: 1 hour
Think of ACC as kind of the anti-Shoreline Drive. There are plenty of programs to drive virtually any car you want, and if you need the extra time (you will), it has membership levels to make sure you get your fill of track time.

Chuck Shultz

Near Atlanta

Road Atlanta
Distance: 1 hour
Road Atlanta is such a great track with enough demanding elements that multiple manufacturers use it as a place to host driving schools. Every car club tries to get a weekend there, which is difficult, since top series like IndyCar and the World Endurance Championship have key events at Road Atlanta, too. Note the car on track in the photo: that's Paul Newman. Yeah.

Curtis Palmer

Barber Motorsports Park
Distance: 2 hours
The home base for the famed Skip Barber Racing School, the facilities at Barber Motorsports Park are so nice that if you go off track and do your own landscaping, you can be charged for the grass you screw up. When you’re out on the track, it’s a mix of technical corners and blind crests where you have to assume the track is still there, since you can’t see it.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He hasn't yet driven all of these tracks, but he wants to.

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