This is a really good thread.
Just to keep it simple:
- Summit Point ("Home Track")
Summit Point Main is pretty much a yawn fest for the focus. At least until you get to the turn 3-7 complex that starts with "The Chute". Downhill - off camber turn that can get really exciting with throttle lift. Spin, Spin, Spin...hello wall.
Summit Point Shenandoah is a giant autocross with a couple of "gotchas" thrown in. It is a 2.3 mile course with 23 turns. It is VERY easy for smaller wheelbase cars to run down high horsepower monsters and overtake. It is a great "training track", but I would not want to race there as the surface is very narrow and there is minimal run off room.
- Virginia International Raceway (VIR)
The most beautiful track I've ever been to. There really is a "country club" atmosphere and that applies if you drive a focus or a Ferrari. Unfortunately, in stock trim, our cars do not perform very well here. LOOOOOONG straights favor the ultra high horsepower cars and there are not many tight portions (FULL course) that allow us to catch up and exercise an advantage. Still, everyone should run this track if given the chance.
- Road Atlanta
LOVE this track! The tight portions combined with the elevation changes make it a really amazing experience to drive. Key thing to remember is small steering corrections. If you get too crazy, you are bouncing and that is bad juju ... Much like VIR, the long straights favor the HP club, but there is ample opportunity to earn some respect.
Personally, I find the track to be one of the LEAST technical tracks out there. It flows very well and with the exception of surface changes (and knowing where they are) it is pretty straight-forward and easy to drive. A lot of people do not like the "Madness" complex, but cars like ours seem to really make up ground there.
- Watkins Glen
One of the few tracks that scare me. Not because of the technical nature of the course, but rather the legacy, history, and nostalgia. To think that I- a lowly focus schmuck, ran over the same surface as Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Mario Andretti, and just about any other motorsports pioneer you can name, is a bit intimidating. Add to that if you take out any gaurdrail or ARMCO material, you pay for it. Really tough pill to swallow - especially after you total your car.
- Roebling Road
Fun track, but after 2 sessions, it became VERY boring. It is completely flat. So much so that I found it distracting because I could see other cars 3 complexes in front of me and my mirrors would also show cars 2-3 complexes behind me. I wish I could say that I am just that fast, but....not so much
Call it Jerusalem, Mecca, the Vatican or Everest, it is an amazing place. Interestingly enough, not that difficult to drive fast - once you get over the fear. The banking plays with your head a little bit in the sense that you have to hammer down or you will feel like you will fall over. At the exit of the banking, the transition to level pavement is not "subtle" :-) The down side is the expense of running the course. Depending on the club, it can be BIG dollars to run there.
Gorgeous track. When he was still living
, Paul Newman was a frequent participant and just a "regular guy" in the paddock. Great experience to be on track with him. For me, the only tricky part of the track is the downhill run that leads onto the main straight. Truthfully, that has less to do with talent and more to do with..."BIG brass ones". Flat out downhill into a 90 degree right hander is enough to make you pucker.
- New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP)
Been there once on the Thunderbolt course. Very easy to drive fast. Turn 1-2 can be a little interesting, but navigating it is all about throttle management. I know it is the same ownership as VIR, but I think NJMP has the potential to be more successful.
Keep the SHINY side up!!
I hope to get out West next year to experience how the other half lives...