REEDY TC: Check out Tamiya USA's racetrack
Friday, May 22, 2015 01:22pm
By Aaron Waldron
What makes the Tamiya USA racetrack even more impressive than its brilliant racing surface, clean facility, and terrific location, is that it was built all the way back in 1993! Over the last 22 years, Tamiya Raceway has hosted racing events like the KO Grand Prix as well as the Reedy Touring Car Race of Champions from 2002 through 2007, then again in 2014 and this year. Every Saturday afternoon, it’s open for Tamiya customers to drive their cars between the beautiful red and white curbing that lines each corner.
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There are a few concrete picnic tables that remain under the patio-style roof year-round, but Tamiya USA brought in pit tables and a large tent in order to provide accommodations for the nearly 200 drivers competing this weekend.
The drivers’ stand is massive, with a permanent shingled roof. The platform offers a perfect vantage point for the layout from any spot on the stand.
The track’s outer dimensions measure 170 ft. long by 70 ft. deep. The asphalt surface was re-slurried in 2012. Though a bit smaller than many of today’s more contemporary layouts (the cars were much slower in the early 90s!) the layout is still a racer favorite to this day, combining technical infield sections with hard 180-degree corners that offer passing opportunities under braking.
The long front straightaway is heavily shaded by the drivers’ stand in the afternoon, but provides a smooth and wide runway for the cars to stretch their legs. The Modified cars break the 50 mph barrier before scrubbing speed entering a long, left-handed sweeper.
The constant-radius sweeper is a forgiving first corner for heads up races, but offers a challenge throughout the race as drivers try to carry as much speed as possible into the abbreviated back straightaway.
Even the 17.5-powered cars are carrying a significant head of steam into the track’s first 180, leading to thrilling pass attempts as the cars brake hard into the turn. While a wide entry is necessary to maintain momentum, drivers must drive defensively when pursued.
After the 180, the cars head back toward the right side of the course into a sweeping right-hand carousel. Its larger radius gives drivers a chance to carry more speed than the previous 180, but the exit is particularly important - the next section is the toughest on the track.
A quick right-left-right chicane, known as “the kink,” is negotiated at high speed. The section requires both precision and nerves of steel, and the curbing on the inside serves as a launch ramp for those who misjudge the apex. While the cars are still transitioning through the end of the kink, the drivers must brake before the next large-radius right hand turn.
The following corner is a tight left-hander that heads to the back fence, offering a short reprieve before the next high-risk section of the track.
At the end of the back straight, drivers must turn slightly past 90 degrees to the left in order to weave through another left-right-left chicane along the left side of the course. Entry speed isn’t nearly as important as the exit, as the final turn leads onto the front straightaway.
The fastest cars in Invitational complete the course in just over 12 seconds.