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A little look on IndyCar Street Circuits...

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  • A little look on IndyCar Street Circuits...

    Hello,


    One of the attratives of the CART Championship when I was a teenager, was its street circuits. Ovals were not in my mind yet...
    Fast, bumpy, with very close racing, and lot of race action, streets circuits were a popular choise for racing promoters during the 80's and 90's.


    This thread is a reminder of the streets circuits during the CART / IRL eras.

  • #2
    Cleveland Grand Prix

    May be for the 'purist' Cleveland was not a trully street circuit, but I included it as it was the first circuit different to Oval or Road Courses presented in the championship up to the moment, with a location that was not design to host races... it was an airport after all!!

    EDIT--> The Grand Prix of Cleveland was promoted by Charles K. Newcomb, presented to CART management in 1981 and incorporated to the calendar from 1982 onwards.
    Located inside the Burke Lakefront Airport, on the shores of the Lake Erie, the races was a popular choice for race fans and drivers during its celebration.
    The circuit consisted of two parallel airport runaways (3 times wider than the Indy track), linked with 90؛ curves almost every turn. The concept was to test both straight speed and turns. It was expected to reach 185 mph, although the track record as of 2002 was 147.512 mph, set by Gil de Ferran on 22 July 1995.

    Base on:
    https://case.edu/ech/articles/g/grand-prix-of-cleveland

    The circuit: Burke Lakefront Airport

    Aerial view (fascinating at night )

    LAT

    1982-1989 - 2.485 miles

    Motosport


    1990-2007 - 2.106 miles



    Some photos of the event:

    1996 Start


    Aerial view of the first turn - a stunning start with 4-5 or even more cars in parallel...



    Tomorrow, a little bit more
    Last edited by AlfaRomeo182T; 12-16-2018, 01:41 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Caesars Palace

      Created for the 1981 Formula 1 season, the Caesars Palace circuit represented the madness for Formula 1 in the USA during the 80's. I was traslated to CART championship for the 1983-1984 seasons.

      Las Vegas was popular for promoting boxing and tennis tournaments... so why not races? It was another form of envisage great 'warriors' fighting for the laurels. The organisers hired Chris Pook as to follow the success of the Long Beach Grand Prix (next on this history...), and place concrete barriers in the hotel's parking lot, to create a 'look-a-like course' circuit. The atmosphere, according to European sources, was null and bleak... I expect a little bit more from your oppinion (better if you were there!), as I think it was better than this comments... The desert heat was a factor to remember, as it made havoc on the driver's stamina. Also, the anti-clockwise direction of running was a hard test for neck muscles and backs, with a smooth surface that invites teams to stiffen its cars suspensions to the maximum...

      After two rounds in Formula 1, the circuit was converted to CART championship. The infield disappeared, to create a 1.125 miles modified "oval" (with no banking...)


      Formula 1 start of 1981

      LAT

      General view



      1983-1984 - 1.125 miles


      ؟Any CART picture?

      Next in time, Long Beach, the first and real street circuit...

      Comment


      • #4
        Isn't it rather stretching things to claim Las Vegas was a street circuit?
        Duncan Rollo

        The more you learn, the more you realise how little you know.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by D-Type View Post
          Isn't it rather stretching things to claim Las Vegas was a street circuit?
          One could argue Cleveland was also not a "street" circuit as it was an airport. Caesar's Palace was a parking lot. Maybe temporary circuit is more appropriate...but I'm okay with street circuit.
          Real drivers don't need fenders!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AlfaRomeo182T View Post
            1982-1989 - 2.485 miles

            Motosport


            1990-2007 - 2.106 miles
            The change of the track layout was actually something that was not planned. In 1990, the track was initially set up as the original "long" layout, and Friday practice was held on it. But there was a series of really rough bumps where a few cars got into trouble. They red flagged the session, and after a drivers meeting, they decided to re-route the track and skip old turn 1 & 2 and just make the mainstretch longer. The change worked, and it was popular enough that they kept it permanently.
            Doctorindy.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I've never been able to get excited about Cleveland. Dead flat and all the turns are 90 degrees.

              Comment


              • #8
                Me, too. And I absolutely hated it playing on my racing sim. No fun at all!

                Comment


                • #9
                  For the inaugural 1982 race, I read in a racing publication that some drivers had a very hard time finding reference points on the flat airport layout. In the first practice, a few drivers missed various turns and got "lost". The problem came to a head in the first Super Vee practice when a group of cars missed a turn and barreled down a runway, stopping at the end of it. The drivers looked around at each other, wondering what to do. Mears and Big Al happened to be watching and got a good laugh. "See Rick, we're not so dumb, they're doin' it too!"
                  You have the IndyCar you deserve.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by uh_clem View Post
                    I've never been able to get excited about Cleveland. Dead flat and all the turns are 90 degrees.
                    Are there any street circuits with banking in the turns?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by uh_clem View Post
                      I've never been able to get excited about Cleveland. Dead flat and all the turns are 90 degrees.
                      I think the attraction of Cleveland was the long, wide open runways, which allowed the cars to really open it up, as well as be able to pass just about every corner.

                      Does it have the beauty and challenge of a picturesque, winding, hilly natural course like Road America or Barber...certainly not. Is a concrete canyon...narrow with walls on both sides, hideous and ugly, and nowhere to pass like the Meadowlands or Houston, etc., etc....not at all.
                      Doctorindy.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by uh_clem View Post
                        I've never been able to get excited about Cleveland. Dead flat and all the turns are 90 degrees.
                        Used to be my favorite race all year! Something about the big, wide open runways appealed to me as a kid. I often wonder why IndyCar doesn't look to other secondary municipal airports for potential temporary circuits, there's a lot of them by major metropolitan areas that wouldn't case too much disruption to host a race at.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post
                          The change of the track layout was actually something that was not planned. In 1990, the track was initially set up as the original "long" layout, and Friday practice was held on it. But there was a series of really rough bumps where a few cars got into trouble. They red flagged the session, and after a drivers meeting, they decided to re-route the track and skip old turn 1 & 2 and just make the mainstretch longer. The change worked, and it was popular enough that they kept it permanently.
                          Originally posted by dalz View Post
                          For the inaugural 1982 race, I read in a racing publication that some drivers had a very hard time finding reference points on the flat airport layout. In the first practice, a few drivers missed various turns and got "lost". The problem came to a head in the first Super Vee practice when a group of cars missed a turn and barreled down a runway, stopping at the end of it. The drivers looked around at each other, wondering what to do. Mears and Big Al happened to be watching and got a good laugh. "See Rick, we're not so dumb, they're doin' it too!"
                          Oh, very good anecdotes ... I have no season review to find out this type of curiosities...



                          Originally posted by D-Type View Post
                          Isn't it rather stretching things to claim Las Vegas was a street circuit?
                          Originally posted by Pelican Joe View Post
                          One could argue Cleveland was also not a "street" circuit as it was an airport. Caesar's Palace was a parking lot. Maybe temporary circuit is more appropriate...but I'm okay with street circuit.
                          Cleveland and Las Vegas was not a street circuit in definition, if we are looking for a race that took place inside a city avenues. The interesting facts about all circuits to review at this post are:

                          - All are temporary courses, with use limited only to racing (IndyCar / IMSA / F1, etc.)
                          - The principal aim of every circuit was to bring closer motor racing to the masses and fans.
                          - Advertising and publicity of the location (Las Vegas, Long Beach, Detroit, etc.)

                          This is why I included this two for the moment.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by uh_clem View Post
                            I've never been able to get excited about Cleveland. Dead flat and all the turns are 90 degrees.
                            Originally posted by Michael Ferner View Post
                            Me, too. And I absolutely hated it playing on my racing sim. No fun at all!
                            Originally posted by Doctorindy View Post
                            I think the attraction of Cleveland was the long, wide open runways, which allowed the cars to really open it up, as well as be able to pass just about every corner.

                            Does it have the beauty and challenge of a picturesque, winding, hilly natural course like Road America or Barber...certainly not. Is a concrete canyon...narrow with walls on both sides, hideous and ugly, and nowhere to pass like the Meadowlands or Houston, etc., etc....not at all.
                            Doctorindyresumes very well the spirit of Cleveland... as a circuit, it has no interest at all, but its wide areas permit to pass (SIM Racing included)


                            Originally posted by ACCP View Post
                            Used to be my favorite race all year! Something about the big, wide open runways appealed to me as a kid. I often wonder why IndyCar doesn't look to other secondary municipal airports for potential temporary circuits, there's a lot of them by major metropolitan areas that wouldn't case too much disruption to host a race at.
                            As was your case, ACCP, Cleveland was one of my main interest to follow CART during my first years of motor racing... It was a entertaining race after all. Roberto Moreno win at 2000, Paul Tracy near the end of ChampCar, or Gil de Ferran in 1996 was some good memories.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Long Beach Gran Prix

                              The jewel of the crownd. If we have to name a US street circuit, Long Beach would be the first one in our mind for the mayority of us.

                              Former travel agent and motor racing fan, Chris Pook was the braindchild and promoter of the Long Beach circuit. Inspired by the Monaco GP, he was determined to create a similar event on the US. In a attemp to bring tourism, the city of Long Beach started a plan to revamp the entire city. The british businessman found its opportunity here to develop its dream's race.

                              During Autumn of 1975 the inagural event took place, for a F5000 race meeting. The twisty sections, bumps, and tight curves created a furor that attracted one year latter the Formula 1 circus. With the name of " United States Grand Prix West", the event took place during 1976 to 1983. Andretti in 1977, Lauda or Watson with McLaren, or the first win for Nelson Piquet, was the highlights of the F1 race here.

                              The renewal for 1984 was not possible, as there was not an agree with Bernie Ecclestone terms, so Chris Pook decided instead to promote to CART. With this decision, Long Beach converted itself as the main and true street course on the calendar from 1984, creating a landmark for the championship and fans. Andretti (Mario and Michael) and Unser Jr. (6 wins, 4 of them consecutive) made the street circuit its home. After them, Paul Tracy or Sébastien Bourdais were other dominators. Nowadays, Long Beach is one of the prominent races of the IndyCar calendar, and one (not to say the best) attraction of the city of Long Beach



                              The circuit:
                              Long Beach Street Circuit


                              Aerial view (beautiful place)

                              LAT

                              1984-1991 - 1.670 miles

                              Motorsport


                              1992-1998 - 1.586 miles
                              Motorsport
                              1999 - 1.824 miles
                              Motorsport
                              2000-Today - 1.968 miles
                              Motorsport
                              Last edited by AlfaRomeo182T; 12-21-2018, 01:29 AM.

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