New Capital Improvements Include Changes to the Carousel Turn and Inner Loop
By: WGI Staff on 1/19/2010
Reed Sorenson, #43 McDonald's Dodge, will have less worries about Turn 10.
Fans and drivers will notice some major changes in several turns when they come back to the legendary road course of Watkins Glen International during the 2010 season. The Glen is continuing their capital improvement plan and undergoing another major renovation project, which is just the latest series of changes, since the permanent road course’s debut in 1957.
Among the changes is the removal of gravel traps and grass, modification of the catch fence, installation of SAFER Barriers, and the relocation of guard rails. The project will be the largest improvement project on the 3.4-mile road course since the installation of new catch fences prior to the first IZOD IndyCar® Series race at Watkins Glen International in 2005. The renovation project will affect all series that race on the 3.4-mile circuit and include improvements to the Inner loop or “Bus Stop”, Turn 5 (known as Turn 9 of the short-course or the “Carousel”), Turn 10 and Turn 11.
“We make it a point to evaluate our entire facility every year and we identified these areas as needing improvement,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “The feedback we received from each of the sanctioning bodies was very positive and in agreement with our recommendations. We think the drivers will like what they see when they return here and should lead to even better on-track action for our fans.”
Officials from Watkins Glen International and its parent-company International Speedway Corporation (ISC) recognized a need for improvements around the road course. Shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 season, officials from WGI, ISC, and North American Testing Co. (NATC) convened to discuss ideas of possible improvements. After an initial list was formed, the track officials met with executives of NASCAR, the Indy Racing League, GRAND-AM, and all of the other series that compete on the road course to gather feedback. Based upon those discussions, improvement plans were devised that will be completed prior to the start of the 2010 season at The Glen.
Along the portion of the course known as the inner loop or “bus stop,” the existing gravel trap will be replaced with a paved runoff area, which will allow more side-by-side racing throughout the tight turns. Additionally, a SAFER barrier will be installed along the interior concrete barrier wall and the existing catch fence system will be removed with a modified version installed.
Turn 5, also known as the “Carousel Turn” will include the removal of the existing grass to pave an extended runoff area and the installment of a rumble strip built to FIA specifications along the track edge of pavement. The existing guard rail system will be modified to install a crash attenuator system, to help absorb the impact when a car makes contact with the wall.
Similarly, the project in Turn 10 will include the removal of a portion of the current gravel trap, which will be replaced with another paved runoff area. Additionally, the current FIA rumble strip will be extended along the track edge of pavement.
Finally, Turn 11 improvements will feature the installation of a SAFER barrier in front of the exterior guide rail system. Additionally, all grass areas between the new SAFER barrier and the track will be paved to help provide better traction when a driver is attempting to bring their car to a stop.
Tickets for the entire 2010 season including the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 5-8, and Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 2-4, weekends are on sale now! Fans can take advantage of advanced sale prices and new options by calling the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can all be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4, and is closed Sunday.