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Tracks built in urban areas


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#1 MPea3

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 18:23

Are there any tracks which were built in areas which were urban at the time of construction?

In the 1946 AAA Championship thread, John Glenn Printz mentions the track at the Indiana State Fairgrounds as being in the city of Indianapolis, as opposed to the IMS which is in Speedway, IN. Certainly both are now in urban areas, but the area in which the Speedway was built certainly wasn't an urban area in 1909. Having spent time at the Fairgrounds, the housing near there appears to be from no earlier than the 30's, so I suspect it was also away from people when built.

This got me thinking about other tracks being built in urban areas. Most tracks that I can think of were built away from population, only to have people move in over time. Like airports, I can't imagine why someone would move in next to a race track and then complain about the sound.

Thinking of the local tracks, the area near Lakewood (near being within 2 or 3 miles) was never heavily populated. Even with Atlanta having grown up around it, it's still not very close to any housing. The Atlanta Motordrome, now the site of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, was out in the middle of nowhere until airport construction began. Old aerial photographs show nothing but heavily forested land in the area.

Both Road Atlanta and the Atlanta Motor Speedway are about an hour or so outside of the center of Atlanta, but both are now quickly becoming suburbs. You can buy a brand new house less than a mile from either.

Looking at Monza on Google Earth, it looks very close to the city. Was that area developed when it was built or did it come later?

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#2 Rob G

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 18:45

Aside from the numerous temporary street circuits that exist of course, one that comes to mind is Portland International Raceway, which was built on the former site of a public housing complex that had been destroyed in a flood. While not in the middle of a neighborhood, it is within about 1/4 mile of the fringes of the northwest part of town.

#3 MCS

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 19:56

Originally posted by Rob G
Aside from the numerous temporary street circuits that exist of course, one that comes to mind is Portland International Raceway, which was built on the former site of a public housing complex that had been destroyed in a flood. While not in the middle of a neighborhood, it is within about 1/4 mile of the fringes of the northwest part of town.


Really? :eek: I'm amazed, I'd no idea.

Not a bad circuit, the racing on my only visit in 1991, was actually pretty good.

The chap next to me didn't seem to think so though - he fell asleep after two laps of the feature race, the IMSA GTP round.

Max Mosley. Honest.

#4 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 20:13

The next time you see max would you wake him up? :)

#5 petefenelon

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 20:41

On one side of the roughly triangular circuit and racecourse, Aintree backs onto the Leeds-Liverpool canal which then backs right onto Aintree Lane, which marks one edge of the village, much of which in that area was built in the 30s. (In fact in quite a lot of the shots of cars coming up towards the Anchor Bridge crossing you can see the primary school I went to!).

But I guess that doesn't entirely count as the racecourse was there when Aintree Lane was little more than a path!

#6 MaxScelerate

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 20:51

Well, Tiger Wood could probably drive a ball from Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve and break a window in downtown Montréal... :smoking:

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 21:15

Anyone care to mention Warwick Farm, Sandown Park, Albert Park, Adelaide Parklands or the Gold Coast Indy circuits?

#8 D-Type

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 21:55

Crystal Palace was built in a park in a totally urban greater London environment and definitely qualifies.

As Monza was built in a (former) royal park, it may well also have been surrounded by built up areas when it was built.

I think Avus is within the boundaries of Berlin. The two straights are the two carriageways of an autobahn and the unbanked south bend at its different locations was a simple flat corner through a break in the central reservation, the only part that was built as part of a race circuit is the banked North bend which is set off to the side to allow the autobahn to continue past. So possibly this doesn't count as a race track.

The area around Brooklands is built up now. I don't know if it was 100 years ago. Is Indianapolis a similar case?

#9 David Birchall

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 23:22

Originally posted by Rob G
Aside from the numerous temporary street circuits that exist of course, one that comes to mind is Portland International Raceway, which was built on the former site of a public housing complex that had been destroyed in a flood. While not in the middle of a neighborhood, it is within about 1/4 mile of the fringes of the northwest part of town.


I heard last night that PIR is about to get a repaved--at public expense !! I have raced there quite a few times and while it may not be the most challenging track in the world I wish it was in Vancouver....

#10 MPea3

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 00:03

Originally posted by D-Type


The area around Brooklands is built up now. I don't know if it was 100 years ago. Is Indianapolis a similar case?


In aerial photos I've seen from Brooklands in it's early years, the area doesn't look built up at all.

#11 cosworth bdg

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 02:47

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Anyone care to mention Warwick Farm, Sandown Park, Albert Park, Adelaide Parklands or the Gold Coast Indy circuits?

And now they have plans to bastardise the Adeliade Parklands Circuit just for the V8 Supercars Wankers................... What about it's F1 history. ?

#12 Rob G

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 05:01

Originally posted by D-Type
The area around Brooklands is built up now. I don't know if it was 100 years ago. Is Indianapolis a similar case?

The area around IMS was pretty much farmland in 1909. Today there are neighborhoods all around it, and from what I've seen it looks as though many of those houses were built in the '40s and '50s. The town of Speedway, Indiana wasn't incorporated until 1926, and it is now completely surrounded by the city of Indianapolis's more recent annexations.

#13 Catalina Park

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 08:06

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#14 stevewf1

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:12

Riverside International Raceway...

http://en.wikipedia....ational_Raceway

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:19

Originally posted by Catalina Park
Posted Image


Good point!

But who let the dog into the pits?

#16 Sharman

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 16:29

Looking to the future even those circuits which were really rural get houses built near them. Then the peasants who bought them in the full knowledge of their proximity to a motor sport facility start screaming about the noise as they did at Brooklands in the 30s. So any track is going to be classfied as urban because Rural District Councils become Urban District Councils etcetc.

#17 scags

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 20:06

That's what happened to Bridgehampton. it was surrounded by sand dunes and potato fields, then multi- million dollar houses full of wineing New Yorkers. Now it's a golf course.

#18 wildman

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 20:50

Originally posted by stevewf1
Riverside International Raceway...

http://en.wikipedia....ational_Raceway


I'd have to disagree with that. As late as 1980, when I visited RIR the one and only time for the Times 6 Hours, the immediate area around the circuit was far from what one would consider "urban" - even 23 years after the track's opening. Those who aren't familiar with Southern California geography might assume that RIR was "in L.A.," but as it was nearly 100 miles east of downtown, it remained beyond the reaches of suburban sprawl for a surprisingly long period.

#19 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 21:05

Interlagos:

Posted Image

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#20 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 21:40

California Speedway in Fontana; if I recall correctly that is both new (Google suggests '97) and in a built up area.
http://maps.google.c...62,0.21698&om=1

On this side of the pond, Rockingham (built 2001) touches the edge of Corby urban area.
http://maps.google.c....10849&t=k&om=1

#21 Sergio Sultani

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 22:44

Originally posted by Rob Semmeling
Interlagos:

Posted Image


Very good Rob.

Look the Satelite photo of Interlagos

Abraço,
Sergio Sultani.

#22 wildman

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 00:20

Would the Norisring qualify? Though its original purpose was something less frivolous than motor racing, it's certainly in an urban setting.

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#23 HistoricMustang

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 10:26

I believe Central City Speedway located in Macon, Georgia falls into this category.

Heck, the name best describes where it was located.

AIRPS will visit this track, along with Middle Georgia Raceway, on Saturday before attending the National Vintage Racing Association event in Macon.

Henry

http://www.terraserv...10&t=pan&OL=Off

http://www.racing-re...o/tracks?id=037

#24 jj2728

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 12:07

Imola springs to mind.

#25 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 13:49

The Rodriguez Bros autodrome in Mexico city is very urban I seem to recall and Milwaukee is surrounded by suburban looking houses. Was it originally like that back in the 1900s when it started?

#26 RA Historian

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 13:56

Originally posted by simonlewisbooks
Milwaukee is surrounded by suburban looking houses. Was it originally like that back in the 1900s when it started?

The Milwaukee track is on the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds in West Allis, Wis. It was started over 100 years ago, and was out in the country then. I would imagine our friend Steve Zautke can add a lot more.
Tom

#27 LB

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 18:30

Crystal Palace leaps to mind so does Ingleston. Mind you I assume both of these more utilised existing roads rather than being purpose built.

A lot of the dirt tracks are fairly urban I assume. Western Springs in Auckland certainly was/is.

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 19:58

Originally posted by LB
.....A lot of the dirt tracks are fairly urban I assume. Western Springs in Auckland certainly was/is.


When it comes to that, the speedways in Sydney were all close to suburbia in my youth...

The Showground Speedway for a start, though there were some buildings between the unending rows of terrace houses and it, was only a short walk from thousands of homes.

The Sportsground Speedway was right next door, as I recall. Parramatta Speedway was in the grounds now occupied by the rugby league, that's within sight and hearing of the homes in Marsden Street. Over the other side of the Parramatta Park there was Westmead Speedway where the hospital has now been built. It faced homes on the Parramatta side and there was plenty of residential area within half a mile of it.

Windsor Speedway was near the railway station, with homes across the road.

And back at Parramatta Park, they raced a few glorious times within that park on the bitumen roads therein. Homes faced that on the Westmead side. I have some movie of a non-sporting but motoring event on the road facing those homes.

#29 David McKinney

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 20:21

Originally posted by Ray Bell
And back at Parramatta Park, they raced a few glorious times within that park on the bitumen roads therein. Homes faced that on the Westmead side. I have some movie of a non-sporting but motoring event on the road facing those homes.

But were the roads built for racing (as specified by the original post) or were they already there?

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 20:34

Ah yes... I missed that small point...

This excludes most of the places I've mentioned, I guess. Though not really. Sandown Park and Warwick Farm remain, Adelaide Parklands... the bit of circuit within the racecourse was put down for the racing... Albert Park as it was originally was merely the existing road, but that was severely modified for the 1996 return.

And the speedways... I'm sure most of them were modified to become speedways after having started life as trotting tracks or something.

#31 Mark_Silverberg

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 21:10

The Hutchinson Island Circuit used in 1997 for indy lights was (on an island) in the river adjacent to down town Savannah, GA. While it was not a permanent circuit, is also was not a street circuit as the road when built were made to race track standards. The circuit was only used for one event but, it desired, could be back in service. This is the only case I know of a road racing circuit being built in a populated area in the US - in all other case the area became populated after the circuit was built.

Of course several ovals have been built in polulated areas such as Irwindale Raceway and California speedway. The land did have previous industrial uses - although there are residences close to each.

#32 LittleChris

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 22:41

Originally posted by MrAerodynamicist
California Speedway in Fontana; if I recall correctly that is both new (Google suggests '97) and in a built up area.
http://maps.google.c...62,0.21698&om=1

On this side of the pond, Rockingham (built 2001) touches the edge of Corby urban area.
http://maps.google.c....10849&t=k&om=1


Both formerly the site of steelworks I think, with Fontana in its previous guise forming the backdrop to one of the Terminator films.

#33 Peter Lohmar

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 02:46

"The area around Brooklands is built up now. I don't know if it was 100 years ago. Is Indianapolis a similar case?"

In 1909 the area upon which IMS was built was pretty much open farmland northwest of the city of Indianapolis.

The city eventually (well, pretty quickly actually) grew around the track. What became the town of Speedway became incorporated in the mid 1920's and is wholly surrounded by the city of Indianapolis.

#34 Jim Thurman

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 18:11

Most fairgrounds tracks in the U.S. were built on the edge of town. Often development was close and has since grown around. The local fairgrounds here, with a sporadic and spotty oval history was relocated three miles Northwest just three years ago. Of course, there are already new homes across the freeway, so if they attempt to develop an oval, it is bound to be a problem.

In the Midget days, tracks at existing stadiums and ball parks brought racing right to the heart of the city, and it flourished. Many of those Midget facilities could be reached by trolley or bus (or foot).

It's hard to come up with a purpose built race track in a very built up area, apparently everyone has had more sense than that!

And I also concur that Riverside International Raceway was hardly "urban". RIR was in a lightly populated area for many years. The small town of Edgemont was very near, in fact a fire station was across the street from turn 9. A lot of tracks have been very near small towns.

Despite what anyone connected with ESPN's on air crew or Dick Berggren think, what really closed a lot of tracks in California was the very thing that popularized the sport here - proximity. Instead of being 30 miles from the city, most non-fairground tracks in California were just a few miles from the city. As cities grew together or grew out, the tracks were in development's path. For just one example, West Capitol Raceway in West Sacramento was literally 10-15 minutes from downtown Sacramento. But, even in the 70's, that was the rule more than the exception.

#35 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 02:33

The hermanos Rodríguez track was in the outskirts of Mexico city, actually parts of the now park were trash dumps. It alos had the little town (Magdalena Mixiuhca) cementery, and there was this funny story about Ricardo being buried there, which we all believed as kids and we would climb the gate and go looking for it. never found it though!
Now it is really in the city, which can go on for some 10 miles to the west and about twice that to the east (and much more to the south and north. But in the beginning it wasn't really urban.
Carlos Jalife

#36 RAP

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 08:20

"Crystal Palace leaps to mind so does Ingleston. Mind you I assume both of these more utilised existing roads rather than being purpose built"

At Crystal Palace the roads of the circuit were purpose built in the winter of 1936/7. There are "before and after" maps in my book "A Record of Motor Racing at Crystal Palace" that show that in some places they followed the line of the existing loose-surface paths but in others eg Terrace Straight, there was no existing pathway.

#37 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 10:31

Imola was mentioned earlier, it was definatetly urban when I was there, but I am not sure of the relative ages of the buildings to the track - anybody know?
What about Roskilde-ring?

#38 Graham Gauld

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:19

LB You are quite correct about Ingliston but it was not exactly in a built-up area. I know that when Hugh McCaig and I ran racing there we occasionally received complaints about noise but as Ingliston is around 300 metres from the main runway of Edinburgh Airport we never faced any great problems.
One circuit that has not been mentioned, however, is Modena which today has been swallowed up but even in the 1950's there was an army camp on one side and houses at the southern end. As Modena was also a small airfield at the time Horace Gould told a wonderful story about the day a US Air Force jet made a forced landing at Modena and once the fault had been repaired the problem was how to get it out again. You must imagine that the racing circuit was roughly a rectangle forming the perimeter with a diagonal main runway that started beside the pits. What happened was the authorities ordered everyone out of the houses at the far end of the circuit. The pilot then taxied round the racing circuit and he speeded up as he came along the short straight parallel to the main road and then turned sharply on power into the diagonal main runway and gunned it. Eyewitnesses said tht the plane just cleared the houses and no more.
Today the only thing left is the old concrete control tower and the circuit buried under houses and a park.

#39 Mistron

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 18:09

possibly O.T. as a case of urban area spoiling the chances of a good circuit rather than the other way round, but I always thought the road through Hollyrood park and round the back of arthurs seat in Edinburgh would make a lovely circuit (admittedly narrow in places, and tricky for spectators on the back side.... ) sadly the residents of the local 'urban area' might disagree and mean that it'll never be possible!

It'd not be fair to wake up the politicians in the scottish parliament, and it is the Queens garden........

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#40 Graham Gauld

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 20:07

Mistron
You are about fifty years too late. Holyrood Park was considered as a circuit in 1954 by the then secretary of the Lothian Car Club. One of the main problems was tht it was situated in a Royal Park and should the Queen be in residence the start finish line would have been about 400 yards from her bedroom. There was some interest in it and I was one of the people who inspected it but the back section of the road which has a wall and a drop on one side and a rock face on the other made the concept pretty unworkable. Then came the Le Mans disaster in 1955 and the whole thing was dropped and it is totally impossible to have that site as a modern racing circuit.

#41 Mistron

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 21:08

It's still good fun though...............

Interesting to hear that the idea has been looked at before. Certainly very unsafe as a circuit, I'd agree