Road America surface refresh: More than just a pretty face

Road America surface refresh: More than just a pretty face

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Road America surface refresh: More than just a pretty face

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A long-anticipated racing surface replacement project at one of North America’s most beloved race tracks, Road America, was completed in early November—a refresh of a racing surface that had not been overhauled since 1995.

Milling and grinding the entire 4.048-mile track, including the pit lane, began on October 3. Fine grading, a new base layer, and a new final surface asphalt layer followed in late October. The all-new race surface has the entire off-season to cure before racing resumes in 2023.

Photo: Les Tension

Aside from the opportunity to make minor adjustments, the original configuration of the entire racetrack remained. Advanced Materials Services consultants, Walbec Group engineers, and their Northeast Asphalt team were mindful of the tracks’ history and authentic character. Before milling off the old surface, the course was surveyed, the track’s unique characteristics were carefully logged guiding the grade-control process during each step of the repaving process.

In the end, more than 7,000-grade control points were set to ensure that the track width, camber angles, and curbing locations were unchanged within a tenth of an inch.

“Our goal was to put the track back exactly as we found it to maintain its distinct features and preserve the track’s significance in the racing world,” said Craig Donze, Engineering Manager for the Walbec Group. “High-quality aggregates were locally sourced from Wisconsin, and the team used a highly polymerized asphalt mix to maximize durability. Multiple tests were performed throughout the project to ensure the surface would handle the weather and racing stresses. Teamwork from initial planning through construction resulted in a racing surface that will provide competitors and racing fans enjoyment for years to come.”

Photo: Les Tension

Engineers and Road America worked collaboratively throughout the project to improve drainage around the property and upgrade features that cross beneath the racing surface before paving. This included increasing the size of culverts and running new conduits under the track to support the facility’s events. Over 800 truckloads were removed during milling, with nearly the same number of trucks bringing in the new asphalt racing surface for paving. During the project, two paving machines ran side-by-side to minimize the center seam visibility and maintain a consistent density.

“This was a massive endeavor, and we are extremely excited to have a new racetrack for competitors and fans to enjoy,” said Mike Kertscher, Road America’s President and General Manager. “The goal was to keep it the same as our founder Clif Tufte envisioned, and we’re certain we met that goal. We look forward to the future with this all-new track and pit lane, and we encourage everyone to get their season passes, tickets, and camping for what we anticipate will be an incredible season in 2023.”

For Road America 2023 calendar and news, click HERE.

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