Hidden away in an especially lush and distinctly rural area of south-central Tennessee, tucked into farmland and rolling hills behind a silo and single main gate just a mile down the largely untraveled Polecat Road, is a bright gem of a 2.2-mile racetrack.
A “polecat” is a Eurasian mammal, but in rural Tennessee, the word is slang for “skunk” — appropriate as what Lockheed Martin’s “Skunk Works” is to modern aviation, the Polecat Training Center is to road racing. At once an ultra-modern training facility hosting both the PTC Driving Academy and Milspec defense training center, it is also a throwback to road racetracks pre the super-sanitary Alan Wilson era of track design.
Uniquely, PTC’s 19 corners are each purpose-designed to teach something, as if the late Piero Taruffi’s long-out-of-print hardcover reference “The Technique of Motor Racing” had somehow been translated from words to to asphalt. A few of its corners mimic some of North America’s more well-known bends such: Turn 5 at Road America, the Carousel at Mid-Ohio, and others.
The track swoops, rolls and flows with the landscape, with 120 feet of elevation change from Turn 1 to Bistro (Turn 16 — so named because a gourmet restaurant there at the top of the hill is in the plan for Phase 3 of PTC’s expansion.)
PTC, aka “Polecat”, is the multi-million-dollar dream of Tennessean Paul Arnold, real estate developer, experienced race car driver (both a former NASA Eastern States and Factory Five Challenge champion) and enthusiast, whose brainstorming dinner with friend and veteran Skip Barber Race School instructor Keith Watts plus a stack of cocktail napkins in 2015 morphed into a serious action plan.
Read the full story at VintageMotorsport.com.