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slefain
slefain SuperDork
8/13/12 2:18 p.m.

So I went and drove this on Saturday: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Grand+Prize+of+America+Ave,+Savannah,+Chatham,+Georgia+31401&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF-8&ei=MEgpUI7qAcPL0QH7lIGgDA&ved=0CEQQ_AUoAg

In this:

Stupid. Fun.

I'm writing up my review of the FX35 now. It was tough to hand back the keys today, but then I remembered how much it cost me in fuel so that made it easier to let go.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
8/13/12 3:19 p.m.

wait wait wait....so theres a real racetrack...in Georgia...USA....that you can go and...errr...drive...uummmm [shake]...whenever you ...ummmm...[shiver] want? ...like....ANYTIME[spasm]....hunnnnnggGGGHHH

Conquest351
Conquest351 Dork
8/13/12 3:27 p.m.

So what's the story behind the track?

oldsaw
oldsaw PowerDork
8/13/12 3:31 p.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

The track is located on Hutchinson Island and was designed as a dual-purpose venue. The intent was to use the surface for traffic within a commercial office park and then block off side streets for the occasional race.

Alas, it was part of a pipe-dream that failed and the only race was an IndyLights and NATCC weekend in 1996. Only recently has it been resurrected for vintage races.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
8/13/12 3:35 p.m.

That's the Grand Prize of America track in Savannah. It's actually across the river from downtown, behind the Westin, but there's a water taxi to get you back and forth, so not only is it a beautiful track, it's in a fabulous location to boot. HSR runs there; next opportunity will be in conjunction with the Hilton Head Concours weekend: Savannah Speed Classic

Margie

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
8/13/12 3:35 p.m.

Looks like either a BMX or a Moto-x track in the infield as well...doublepluscool

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/13/12 3:38 p.m.

Note that it has stop signs and two-way traffic, too, so it's not quite like our version of the Nurburgring. Subaru used it for hot laps during the press introduction for the original WRX. Fun place.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese SuperDork
8/13/12 3:41 p.m.

So, what's the security like there?

slefain
slefain SuperDork
8/13/12 3:46 p.m.
Derick Freese wrote: So, what's the security like there?

There is none. Technically it is a public road, so police would have jurisdiction. There is a single stop sign and two barriers set up to slow you down on the back straight, but other than that it is wide open.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado PowerDork
8/13/12 3:50 p.m.

I know a magazine that got Jack Baldwin to review the circuit after it was repaved..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhbdGVqbJFE

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltraDork
8/13/12 3:59 p.m.

Years ago our sports car club used to go down and drive around the track. I believe it was closed at the time so there were worries of John Law coming out. You don't want to screw up in Savannah. Chatham County has a very nice jail that they love to throw tourist in, escpecially during St Patricks Day.

It seems Savannah doesn't really like the track being there (noise boo birds), which is a shame, because ISTR Savannah had one of the first Grand Prix races in the US of A.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
8/13/12 4:13 p.m.

I've run a few AXes there, it's a great facility. It being a racetrack, the local gendarmes watch it like a hawk when there are no events being run. Not long before the last event I was at, a couple of sportbike squids were ripping around it at 3AM and one of them hit the concrete Jersey barriers that were around the paddock area.

slefain
slefain SuperDork
8/13/12 4:17 p.m.
Curmudgeon wrote: I've run a few AXes there, it's a great facility. It being a racetrack, the local gendarmes watch it like a hawk when there are no events being run. Not long before the last event I was at, a couple of sportbike squids were ripping around it at 3AM and one of them hit the concrete Jersey barriers that were around the paddock area.

I kept waiting for a car load of kids to go screaming by me while I was driving. Since it is a public road, I treated it as such.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado PowerDork
8/13/12 4:30 p.m.
spitfirebill wrote: It seems Savannah doesn't really like the track being there (noise boo birds), which is a shame, because ISTR Savannah had one of the first Grand Prix races in the US of A.

You are correct, sir! For the Vanderbilt Cup, no less.
http://www.vanderbiltcupraces.com/index.php/blog/article/saturday_april_4_2009_film_the_great_savannah_races_1908-1911

JoeyM
JoeyM UltimaDork
8/13/12 5:05 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: That's the Grand Prize of America track in Savannah. It's actually across the river from downtown, behind the Westin, but there's a water taxi to get you back and forth, so not only is it a beautiful track, it's in a fabulous location to boot. HSR runs there; next opportunity will be in conjunction with the Hilton Head Concours weekend: Savannah Speed Classic Margie

wasn't there an SCCA Solo tour stop there within the past few years, too?

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/13/12 6:43 p.m.

sounds like a great location for a track.. shame the city hates it there

Anti-stance
Anti-stance Dork
8/13/12 7:07 p.m.

Back when I was stationed at Beaufort MCAS in 2001-2003, some fellow car people and I used to go out there every Saturday night and drag race on the front straight from the turn just below the "T" in track on the satellite pic to the checkered line just before the end of the pit road. That was short lived as the cops showed up after the 3rd weekend.

I was young and stupid then and would never do that again. But driving around the track was pretty fun but as stated before too dangerous to play on. The golf course and the hotel/convention center is so close and won't hesitate to call the cops on someone.

I will state it again, I was young and stupid and wouldn't go out there to "play" unless it was an AX event.

Edit: I know there has been some historic races out there in the last couple of years so it totally looks different since the early 2000s.

Vintage BMWs out on the track.

xcellr8edaudi
xcellr8edaudi
8/13/12 7:31 p.m.

Hey I live in Savannah and go to the track often. There are monthly SCCA Auto-X's in a parking lot within the center of the abandoned track, but the track is a public road. Therefore, cops get called down there often. You can always get a few runs in, but sportbikes doing triple digits and ricers trying to drift and drag out there draws a lot of attention fro the public down that way. It is a blast to just cruise around the track, as it's lined with red and white stripes and instantly you feel like you're in a real race. There is a barrier at the start/finish area, restricting a full loop, but it's pretty close, and you still get a decent amount of track to use. I would recommend if you're in the Savannah area, to check it out, however, would not tr to promote or set up anything to happen on the track. it's kind of a nice hidden gem to have there, and I'd hate to have it fully closed to the public.

T.J.
T.J. PowerDork
8/13/12 8:15 p.m.

I've always thought those silly Nissan SUVs looked like a melted shoe. I like to laugh at them when I see them.

M2Pilot
M2Pilot Reader
8/13/12 8:25 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: That's the Grand Prize of America track in Savannah. It's actually across the river from downtown, behind the Westin, but there's a water taxi to get you back and forth, so not only is it a beautiful track, it's in a fabulous location to boot. HSR runs there; next opportunity will be in conjunction with the Hilton Head Concours weekend: Savannah Speed Classic Margie

We went to the Savannah Speed Classic last year. It was a nice event with plenty of interesting cars & paddock access included. Porsche,BMW, Jag, & Land Rover had hospitality tents & free drives in their latest cars. Between driving the Range Rover & being a member of BMW CCA we had plenty of free beer & sandwiches & such. There was also a car corral full of interesting stuff.

rjracin240
rjracin240 New Reader
8/16/12 11:31 a.m.

Had a great time driving it during the Z convention this time last year!

jonnyd330
jonnyd330 Reader
8/16/12 1:07 p.m.

Yeah I saw that when I was playing golf at the weston last fall. I didn't know it was a public road otherwise I would have had my car out there.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
8/18/12 9:59 a.m.

I think I need to go down with the inlaws next year. Too bad they go at the end of July.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
8/18/12 10:06 a.m.

I did drive the track with the Trooper, pulling the trailer. There's some decent banking in some of the turns, the track is not real technical (at least to my way of thinking, for instance elevation changes are minimal) but I bet it could be a lot of fun.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker UltimaDork
8/18/12 10:23 a.m.

BMWCCA Peachtree Chapter hosted a race there in 2011. I missed the event but I wasn't aware that the venue was no longer available. I swear I heard a promo for historics there earlier this year.

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