SONOMA, Calif. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Sears Point Raceway's road course will have a dramatically different look for the next six months.
The traditional 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course will temporarily become a nine-turn, 1.83-mile circuit as construction crews begin work on the lower portion of the track in conjunction with phase two of Sears Point Raceway's $35 million Modernization Plan.
The track was modified by constructing a link between Turns 9 and 1 on the permanent course. Construction began on Monday, Aug. 6 and was completed Wednesday, Aug. 8.
"This is obviously a temporary configuration, but it gives us the ability to keep the track operating during the upcoming construction. There are thousands of competitors and Jim Russell students who have plans to use the track over the next few months and we're going to do our best not to disappoint them," said Steve Page, Sears Point Raceway president and general manager.
The modified course made its debut Friday, Aug. 10, and will be used until March by all visiting racing series, including the Sports Car Club of America, American Federation of Motorcyclists and the California Sports Car Racing Group. The Jim Russell Racing Drivers School will also utilize the course for all of its activities. Meanwhile, all drag racing at Sears Point Raceway has been cancelled until early next year.
"This is going to be a fun, difficult, interesting turn. Sears Point did a very nice job in a short amount of time. It will be enjoyable, but there will also be a great degree of difficulty with the straight line breaking and off-camber exit," said Jacques Couture, of the Jim Russell Racing School.
Projects to be completed while the temporary course is utilized:
- A 15,000-seat permanent grandstand on the west side of start/finish line.
- Repaved road course and drag strip surfaces. Construction of a drag strip return road.
- Underground pedestrian tunnel beneath the start/finish line of the road course
- Expansion of the paddock area by 70%
The two-year, $35 million Modernization Plan, which began in September, 2000, is scheduled to be completed by the NASCAR Winston Cup event in June, 2002, and will transform Sears Point Raceway into one of the premier motorsports venues in the country.