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Ozarks Int'l Raceway Review: The newest track in the USA opens in central Missouri

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  • Ozarks Int'l Raceway Review: The newest track in the USA opens in central Missouri

    It's the 3rd week of May, and we've just finished our inaugural visit to the brand new Ozarks Int'l Raceway. Having only just opened about 8 weeks ago, they've only done a handful of large-scale events. Chin Track Days is among the very earliest 100+ car track events to occur at this new track. Ahead of our event, enthusiasts could not find a lot of reliable intel online about what to expect. What was known for sure is that it is a 3.9mile/19 turn serious lap with substantial elevation change. Well, we've been there and done that, now. And we will say today that this track immediately joins the short list of the very best laps in the USA. We don't say that lightly. Chin Track Days has made laps at more than 40 road courses across the country, including almost all of the well-known top-tier tracks on the IMSA calendar. Mostly at Chin events, yet also exploratory at other tracks not on our schedule. That has conditioned us with a well-calibrated benchmark for what constitutes a great lap. Drivers, Ozarks is the real deal, and deserves your effort and commitment to make the trip. With tremendous flow, the lap undulates across the landscape, never going straight-and-level at all. Big braking zones are rare, lots of blind medium-speed sweepers that fool you to overslow, and then you realize, "dammit, I can go faster through here next lap..." and then, you overslow again! You're familiar with big elevation changes? Rd Atl: under the bridge and downhill at T11-12. VIR: top of roller-coaster, down to hogpen. Laguna Seca: corkscrew. COTA's Turn 1. Well, Ozarks features elevation change on that scale six times each lap. The track is constantly disappearing from you, going up or falling away, rarely can you see further than 10 seconds down track. Driving a Chin-spec NC MX-5, we saw top speeds ~110-115mph, and cornering speeds exceeding 70-80mph in most corners. Slowest corner is T18, a hairpin left intended to slow cars for pit-entry. That's followed by a hill climb of 90' vertical! Fastest corners are the T8-T9 complex. Brave souls with good grip can go through there at 90+mph!

    Before our date in May 2022, earlier in the spring, several events were run in chilly and damp conditions. On the new green circuit, that presented very challenging grip conditions. As in, there was none. Thus, many drivers overestimated either their tire performance or their driver capability, and went off as a result. After several consecutive wet events early on, with drivers hitting barriers following their own impatient errors, Ozarks received some unfair criticism that it was "unsafe". In many places on the lap, the barriers are close. Going off may likely result in contact and consequences. Folks, it's a race track. Make a mistake, and the track may punish you. At home, you have a favorite kitchen knife? That very sharp one in the drawer? Is the knife dangerous? When used as intended, the knife is a pleasure to use, and precise results can be realized. Drop the knife on your foot, or pick it up edge-first, and you might get cut. Duh. This race track is that knife. Use it carefully, deliberately, with patience and respect, and you will be rewarded. The principal developer behind Ozarks says, "the track is supposed to be challenging. I've driven at the sanitized institutional race tracks that are consequence-free. Everybody gets up to full-speed target laptimes within 2 sessions. That's not what we wanted. We wanted Ozarks to be a driver's track. We think we got it right." Well, Chin Track Days thinks they got it right, too. We urge enthusiasts of every kind to visit Ozarks International Raceway. The next Chin date there will be September 10-11, 2022. We hope you'll join us. Paying fees to Chin Track Days is not the reason we say that. We say that you should go to Ozarks because you are an enthusiast!

    Last edited by The Management; 05-19-2022, 04:26 PM.
    Drive Well, The management

  • #2
    Thanks for reading this far. We'll also comment that the paddock, garages and bathrooms are also top-tier. Not a porta-potty in sight. Modern, highly-finished meeting rooms. No mod-space trailers here. On-site food truck is local BBQ that ought to be on TV! Plenty of space for RVs/coaches. However, there are no hook-ups currently. Plan on boon-docking in the paddock. There are nice showers. At this writing, Ozarks is about 95% finished. Remaining to finalize is the main-entry gateway, and also on-site fuel has yet to be installed. That brings up the one downside for this grand facility: it is in the middle of nowhere. Getting 93-octane premium fuel in a street car is a 45-min roundtrip right now. If you need race gas, be sure to bring your own, or arrange for advance delivery to the track. The remoteness also presents challenges for food and lodging. Name brand hotels are 45 mins away. A good option is to VRBO/Aribnb a local lake house. That will put you within 20 mins of the track.
    Last edited by The Management; 05-19-2022, 03:41 PM.
    Drive Well, The management