Road America, unofficially referred to as America’s “national park of speed,” opened in 1955 when the Elkhart Lake road races needed to move off of public roads and on to a closed circuit. Clif Tufte designed the majestic four-mile, 14-turn configuration that remains in use today, even though the circuit’s barriers and runoff zones have kept pace with the highest current safety standards.
From the first SCCA National race weekend through to today, Road America has regularly hosted IndyCar, IMSA, NASCAR, Trans-Am, World Challenge and MotoAmerica, in addition to many national and regional SCCA and vintage events. The number of Hall of Fame drivers who have gone wheel to wheel at Road America is way too long to list. But like all the nation’s great parks, Road America doesn’t just belong to the mighty.
“We host over 500 events per year,” says John Ewert, communications director for Road America. “Ten of them are major events covering every aspect of professional motorsports. The rest are for amateur and grassroots racers, as well as enthusiast track days and driving schools.”
Indeed Road America hosts multiple driving and motorcycle school programs. For cars, there is an introductory and an advanced high-performance driving school where participants can use their own cars or drive one of the track’s fleet. There’s also a program for teens and a winter driving school, too.
Motorcyclists have eight programs to choose from, ranging from basic rider courses, to dirt bikes, to supermoto, and even scooters. Want to go beyond a school-style experience? Road America offers a multitude of ways to get on track, depending on your interest, skills and equipment.
For those who own current or vintage racecars and are in need of laps to dial in setups or test new parts, there are 10 Test & Tune days, each limited to just 20 participants to ensure a maximum of track time with a minimum of impediments. Owners of street-legal high performance cars can benefit from one of four Track Days that safely allow you to drive your car at speed in a controlled setting for just $295.
If speed isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy Road America during a Sunset Cruise. Take your own vehicle on track with friends and family aboard for a guided drive that lets you get up close and personal with every one of Road America’s twists and turns for just $20 per car.
Karters and off-roaders shouldn’t feel left out. The CTECH Manufacturing Motorplex is specifically designed for karting (and motorcycles) and can run programs even when the main circuit is in use. Likewise, the Off-Road Driving Experience lets you kick up some dirt and enjoy Road America’s wonderful wooded terrain behind the wheel of a Yamaha Viking utility vehicle.
FITNESS & FOOD, TOO
Road America is located on the edge of beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wis., midway between Green Bay and Milwaukee.
Membership is not required to participate in any of Road America’s track programs or driving experiences, which range in cost from $20 up to $350. For non-motorized activities, Road America offers Four-Miles of Fitness, opening the track to cyclists, runners and skaters to get a solid workout without the bother of car traffic.
Driving events and programs do have some car and safety restrictions. Be sure to check ahead to make sure you and your vehicle qualify for the events or programs you’re interested in participating in.
Fans and racers always give Road America high praise for having great track food. Since its early days, Road America has worked with local non-profit groups to operate food and beverage concession stands as a fundraising vehicle while supporting the local community.
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