New Area 27 race track now asphalted
The new Area27 race track in South Okanagan, British Columbia has been asphalted, paved and is ready for action.
After months of construction, the 4.83km track designed by Jacques Villeneuve was being prepped for its paving date: beneath the surface are layers of compacted sand, natural to the location. “Sand compacts well and helps prevent shifting”, explains Lake Excavating president and Area 27 co-founder Trevor Seibert. “Fortunately, we have a good quality subsoil here.”
The crew spent weeks on the final grading, working within precision single-digits to meet design specifications. Loaders dumped material on the rack surface and a grader with a GPS guided mid-mounted blade did the finesse bits before the compactor passed, the entire process repeated until the surface was at just the right grade.
A special treatment
Gravel was spread on the carefully compacted track, then the surface was coated with an oil substance (applied in liquid form and left to harden or ‘cure’) to create a ‘tack coat’. The treatment isn't always used on road and highway construction, but it helps achieve uniformity for asphalt application and strengthens the bond with the lower surface. Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do on a premium circuit.
Public road asphalt is a mix of one third rock, sand, and recycled asphalt. Area 27 had a custom blend created to handle desert heat and winter cold.
Highways and roads are paved in two passes to help avoid delays. By applying asphalt one lane at a time, crews can keep one lane open and traffic moving – albeit slowly.
Two pavers, running staggered across the surface of the track, lay two strips of asphalt while it’s still hot and cover the entire width of the circuit. The progress was slow, but steady, and was followed by a series of compactors to force the 140 degrees C asphalt together without that pesky seam.
It could be argued that two very slow echelon pavers had the first hot laps at Area 27 as they were the ones to lay the asphalt itself. Or maybe there’s a case for those compactors who drove on the new surface for the very first time, slowly and methodically.
In reality the first laps go to Trevor and Ryley Seibert, our father/son build team and race car drivers, who drove Trevor’s custom built NASCAR that was specifically designed for this track. It was a goosebump moment for motorsport fans and anyone who loves a good story.
When asked how it felt to drive on the circuit he physically built with his son, Trevor replied with an enormous grin – because that’s all he could say while buckled into his racing seat, helmet strapped on, and ready to go another lap.
From Jeannette Montgomery, Area27
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