Road Atlanta (known for sponsorship reasons as Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta) is a 2.54-mile (4.088 km) road course located just north of Braselton, Georgia, United States. The facility is utilized for a wide variety of events, including professional and amateur sports car and motorcycle races, racing and driving schools, corporate programs and testing for motorsports teams. The track has 12 turns, including the famous "esses" between turns three and five; and Turn 12, a downhill, diving turn. The track is owned by through its subsidiary , and is the home to the Petit Le Mans, as well as AMA motorcycle racing, and smaller events throughout the year. Michelin acquired naming rights to the facility in 2018.[1]


In 1969, David Sloyer, Earl Walker, and Arthur Montgomery purchased a 750 acres (300 ha) plot of farmland in Braselton, Georgia, with the intent to build a world-class road racing facility. When a Can-Am race had to be canceled due to flood damage, the series organizers chose Road Atlanta to replace it. The track then began to take form quickly, taking only six months to excavate, grade, and pave the road course.

The esses during practice for the 2006 Petit Le Mans.

The first race was held on September 13, 1970. Vic Elford, in a Chaparral 2J, won pole and Tony Dean, in a Porsche 908/02, won the 300 km Can-Am event, with Stirling Moss as the Grand Marshal. Throughout the 1970s, more top-level series came to Road Atlanta, including Can-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA Camel GT, and Trans-Am.[2] The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) held their annual national championship, the SCCA Runoffs, at Road Atlanta from 1970 to 1993.[3] The first road race in NASCAR Busch Grand National Series history took place at Road Atlanta in 1986.[4]

The track was sold in 1978, and was passed from one owner to the next—culminating in bankruptcy in 1993 under the Whittington Brothers (Don & Bill). A partnership between business executives Frank Drendel, Jim Kanely, Eddie Edwards, George Nuse, and Bill Waddell was formed to purchase the track. The next three years were spent making gradual improvements to the facility. New buildings were constructed, others were renovated, the track was widened and resurfaced and the grounds were landscaped.

In November 1996, the track was purchased by Don Panoz, who would make Braselton the base of operations for his motorsports-related ventures. Panoz introduced the first major changes to the track, removing the Dip and creating a chicane at the end of the long back straight. These changes brought the track up to FIA standards, so that international events could be held. A new pit and paddock area was also constructed on the infield side of the track, allowing for larger events, and a 10,000-seat terrace area was constructed around the new Turn 10 complex.

In 1998, major racing resumed at Road Atlanta with the first edition of the Petit Le Mans endurance race. The race attracted worldwide attention, and included entries from the Le Mans-winning Porsche factory team. The race would be the first race of the American Le Mans Series and included a spectacular accident where a Porsche 911 GT1 backflipped and flew into the side barriers. Petit has continued to be an annual event at Road Atlanta, and a marquee event in the ALMS.

Prior to the 2007 Petit Le Mans, the entire track surface was repaved. The works also included moving the walls in the esses away from the track, with the intention of improved driver safety and better sight lines for spectators.[5] In the late winter of 2007/2008, the circuit was again modified with the reconfiguration of turns 4 and 12, for the ostensible safety benefit of motorcycle racers (the racing line for cars remained essentially unchanged).

In April 2008, Road Atlanta hosted the 4th stage of the Tour de Georgia, one of the largest cycling stage races in the United States. The stage was run using standard racing bikes instead of the more aerodynamic time trial bikes. Slipstream Chipotle won the stage with a time of 19:38.86, while Astana and Team High Road finished second and third respectively. Used in local cycling events, the circuit is run counterclockwise (in reverse), owing to safety issues from the downhill Turn 11 to Turn 12, creating a steep climb from Turn 12 to Turn 11, and a much safer route for cycling.

The October 2008 Petit Le Mans had a four-day crowd of 113,000 people with an average weekend crowd of nearly 80,000 fans.[6] The race entry list includes a number of new and returning cars.

In September 2012, the track was purchased by IMSA Holdings as part of its acquisition of Panoz Motor Sports Group. The intention was to combine the Grand AM and American Le Mans Series. NASCAR K&N series has announced a return to the track in October 2013 as part of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

In December 2017, the track hosted its first 24 Hours of LeMons event, the Kim Harmon Scrotium 500. The series is also scheduled to return in 2018.[7]

In 2019, the track became Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta after Michelin and IMSA Holdings announced the naming rights agreement.[8]

In 2020, Michelin Raceway hosted the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler : Extreme Hill Edition and 4k Races because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Road Atlanta in gaming

Road Atlanta has been featured as one of the main drivable courses in the Xbox video game Forza Motorsport and its sequels, and in the 1999 PC racing simulator Sports Car GT. The track was also digitally created for Electronic Arts' F1 series (´01´02), then "modded" to be compatible with multiple PC games. Scratch-made versions of the track have also been created for rFactor, Papyrus' NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and It also appears in the PlayStation 2 game Le Mans 24 Hours and on

Lap records

The fastest official race lap records at the Road Atlanta for different classes are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Current Layout: 4.088 km (1998–present)
LMP1 1:07.056[9] Christian Klien Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 2008 Petit Le Mans
LMP2 1:08.489[9] Ryan Briscoe Porsche RS Spyder Evo 2008 Petit Le Mans
DPi 1:08.869[10] Felipe Nasr Cadillac DPi-V.R 2019 Petit Le Mans
DP 1:13.478[11] Olivier Pla Ligier JS P2 2016 Petit Le Mans
Prototype Challenge 1:15.871[11] Jack Hawksworth Oreca FLM09 2014 Petit Le Mans
GT Le Mans 1:16.542[10] Ryan Briscoe Ford GT LM GTE-Pro 2019 Petit Le Mans
LMP3 1:16.564[12] Kyle Kirkwood Norma M30 2020 Road Atlanta IMSA Prototype Challenge round
F3 Americas 1:18.707[13] Kyle Kirkwood Ligier JS F3 2018 Road Atlanta F3 Americas Championship round
GT Daytona 1:19.767[10] Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2019 Petit Le Mans
US F2000 1:21.968[14] Sage Karam Élan DP08 2010 Road Atlanta US F2000 round
GT4 1:26.215[15] Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT4 2020 VP Racing Stay Frosty 240
Formula 4 1:27.406[16] Crawford F4-16 2016 Road Atlanta F4 United States round
TCR Touring Car 1:28.830[15] Michael James Lewis Hyundai Veloster N TCR 2019 Fox Factory 120

Track configurations



Petit Le Mans
Drift Atlanta
The Mitty

The facility is also home to the Skip Barber Racing School.


See also


  1. ^ "'Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta,' new track developments for 2019". October 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "History of Road Atlanta". Road America. 1970-09-13. Archived from the original on 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  3. ^ [1] Archived December 31, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Busch Series champions and milestones". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  5. ^ "Road Atlanta News". Road Atlanta. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  6. ^ "ALMS News | American Le Mans Series". American Le Mans. 2012-10-09. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  7. ^ "The 24 Hours of Lemons - Road Atlanta". Road Atlanta. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  8. ^ Klein, Jennifer (2018-10-12). "Michelin And Road Atlanta Announce Naming Rights Agreement To Begin in 2019". IMSA. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  9. ^ a b "2008 Petit Le Mans". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  10. ^ a b c "2020 Petit Le Mans Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  11. ^ a b "2016 Petit Le Mans Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  12. ^ "2020 Petit Le Mans IMSA Prototype Challenge Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  13. ^ "2018 F3 Americas Championship Round 11 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  14. ^ "2010 USF2000 National Championship Atlanta Session Facts". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  15. ^ a b "2020 VP Racing Stay Frosty 240 Race Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  16. ^ "2016 F4 United States Championship Round 12 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  17. ^ "2017 Z Nationals Information". Retrieved 2018-02-07.

External links