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On any given weekend across the country, you will find BMWs being pushed to the limit at some of the greatest race tracks the world has ever seen. Tracks can be exciting for many reasons; they can be fun to drive, challenging, technically demanding, picturesque, fun for spectators, or oozing with BMW motorsports history. So, which tracks are considered the most exciting in the U.S.? Every individual will have their favorites for personal reasons, but the tracks listed below have earned their place at the top of every BMW enthusiast's list.
Road America, located near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, has been a popular track since it started hosting races in 1955. From a driver's standpoint, this track is loads of fun. It covers a distance of over four miles, features 14 turns, including the famous "Kink," and has multiple elevation changes and a long back stretch where high speeds are often reached. The track has changed very little since the 1950s and has hosted multiple series over the decades, but it is most famous for G.T. and sports car racing. From a spectator standpoint, it has long ranked as a fan favorite. Several sections of the track are tree-lined, and it's often compared to a state park which makes it ideal for camping. Due to its beauty and length, Road American is an exciting experience, whether you’re driving on track or have your BMW just parked in the infield.
Daytona, located on the East Coast of Florida, is one of the most storied tracks in the world. While many think of it as a stock car racing circuit, it contains one of the most exciting road courses in the U.S. So what makes this track so exciting? The banking! The high banks of Daytona create an atmosphere unlike any other track, and it's a bucket list destination for many BMW enthusiasts. The track hosted its first race in 1959, and is home to the 24 Hours of Daytona, which has seen many BMW class victories and even an overall win. Due to its location, Daytona is a home track for Condor Speed Shop, and many of our products are tested in competition there on a regular basis. While Daytona doesn't have as many track days as other tracks, it hosts several G.T. and budget endurance races that feature many E30s, E36s, And E46s, so getting to experience this legendary track is possible for many drivers and a must for any spectator!
Laguna Seca, located near Monterey, California, is not just a shade of blue found on E46 M3s; it's also a track that has been around since 1957 and is hands down the most famous one on the West Coast. While it's not a very long circuit, coming in at just over 2.2 miles, it features an elevation change of 180 feet! Its most famous turn is "The Corkscrew," which features a considerable elevation drop that can take your breath away even as a spectator. The track has hosted many pro series over the years, including an annual historic which ranks as one of the best in the world. Laguna Seca sees some of the most iconic BMWs from past to present every year at its many events. You don't have to own a million-dollar piece of history to experience this exciting track because they hold various track days and budget sports car racing, so upgrade your suspension bushings and engine mounts at Condor Speed Shop and give this winding track a try!
Road Atlanta ranks as the most exciting track in the U.S. for many drivers and road racers in the Southeast. Nestled in the rolling hills on the outskirts of Braselton, Georgia, Road Atlanta is not as old as many of the tracks on this list, having been sculpted out of the Georgia Clay in 1970. It has changed a little over the years but still features significant elevation changes and 12 turns, some of which make up its famous esses. It seems to blend in with nature having trees and thick foliage on the infield and the outskirts of the track, which gives it a feeling of being a mini Nürburgring. Its longest form covers 2.54 miles, and on its long backstretch, the fastest prototypes touch 200mph. The track hosts all sorts of pro events, with the most famous being the 10-hour endurance classic Petit Le Mans, and numerous amateur series and track days. Everything from E21 320i Turbos to fire-breathing V8 E46 M3 GTRs have won big races here, and it's still a favorite for BMW motorsport enthusiasts today.
Watkins Glen in upstate New York has been a fixture for road racing since 1956. It has several configurations that have been used over the years, but officially has a length of 3.4 miles utilizing 11 turns. This is another track with a remarkable history that has hosted every racing series you can think of. It was home to the F1 US Grand Prix for two decades and has hosted one of the biggest sports car races in the U.S., the 6 Hours of The Glen, since 1968. The track regularly holds many pro and amateur events, plus track days and club races. Just being able to drive on a storied F1 track is a rare and exciting experience for road racers here in the U.S. At The Glen, you can push your BMW to the limits on a track where F1 history was made.
Sebring International Raceway, located in central Florida, has been one of the most exciting tracks in the world for well over half a century. At first glance, it looks like an apocalyptic wasteland with few trees and tons of concrete, but during its biggest yearly event, the 12 Hours of Sebring, this atmosphere gives it a real “Mad Max” vibe. The first sports car event was run here utilizing the concrete runways of an old Army Air Base in 1950, with the 12 Hours premiering in 1952. The 1952 event was won by a Frazer-Nash using a copy of a prewar BMW 328 six-cylinder engine (Archie Frazer-Nash had been the BMW importer to the U.K. in the '30s), and many of the world's most famous cars and drivers have raced there ever since with BMW taking many class wins and a few overall wins. The track also currently hosts track days, club races, and budget endurance races but still maintains part of the old concrete runways, so you will want to have upgraded suspension, suspension bushings, engine and transmission mounts, and all rubber components upgraded to UHMW (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) or the track will beat your car senseless. Its location makes this a home track for many on the team at Condor Speed Shop and our favorite because it is the ultimate testing ground for our products. The best drivers in the world will tell you that racing for 12 hours at Sebring equals 24 hours at any other track. The current track configuration of 3.74 miles and 17 turns offers an exciting challenge, and while nobody will mistake this track for a National Park, the storied history and unique experience makes this track one of the best.
Did your favorite track make the list? We’re lucky to have road racing circuits all over the United States, and hopefully, there is one within driving distance of you. So what's the best way for you to decide which tracks are the most exciting? Upgrade your BMW with performance parts, upgrade your brakes, install new bushings, replace your worn-out engine mounts, get a set of track wheels and tires, be sure your car is safe, and head to the track to find out for yourself!