Barber Dodge Pro Series rookie Marc Breuers of Gladwyne, Penn. takes us around a lap of Road Atlanta. The 2.54-mile, 11-turn road course has been dubbed one of the last true â€˜total commitmentâ€™ tracks in North America. A series of fast...
Barber Dodge Pro Series rookie Marc Breuers of Gladwyne, Penn. takes us around a lap of Road Atlanta. The 2.54-mile, 11-turn road course has been dubbed one of the last true ‘total commitment’ tracks in North America. A series of fast corners and straights wind their way over blind crests creating a roller coaster ride averaging nearly 110 mph.
I have to admit the first time I got in the car here I was just laughing inside my helmet. It’s a fun track with a lot of elevation changes and a lot of rhythm to it.
Taking you through a lap, as you come past the pit lane on the front straight you just get into sixth gear and reach about 135 mph before you barely touch the brakes and go down to fifth gear. There is a big compression at turn-1, and you slow down to about 112 mph before you start to accelerate again. On the graphs, we were getting about 2.5g. It’s a big, big compression that sends you up the hill. Continuing up the hill you go over a blind knoll then begin descending left for turn-2 and all that really does is set you up for turn-3.
You go down two gears, trying to release the brake as soon as possible. Usually you put a couple of wheels over the apex curbing, carrying a speed in the low 80 mph range. It’s a quick turn to the left for turn-4 that leads into “The Esses”. These are a set of left right corners that are taken flat out in the Barber Dodge Reynards. It’s a lot of fun, putting a lot of side to side loading on the car. You get up to fifth gear as work your way through this section of the track. When the esses start to come back up hill, you reach one of the most important corners on the track (turn-5). Depending on traffic, you go down a gear or two. Most of the drivers are taking it in fourth gear. Again it’s a very abrupt uphill left hand turn, where you just touch the brake there’s a big compression in the middle of the corner that you have to trust. A good run through there will see about 85 mph. On the outside of the corner there is some curbing that you actually go over and use some extra pavement beyond it.
A straight follows that sees you accelerate through fourth and fifth gears reaching about 130 mph before turn-six. This is a great corner that’s all about entry speed. There’s only a very short straight after the corner, so it’s really necessary to bring the speed into the corner. You go down to fourth gear and let the car understeer through the corner letting the hill catch you. You’re just able to hang on to it at the edge of the track. Then, you go to a little of throttle before changing down to second gear for turn-7.
This is a very slow corner, about 55 mph. So you come from about 130 mph before turn-6 to 90 mph through the turn to this second gear corner which is crucial because it leads you onto the longest straight on the track that ends with the best opportunity for passing. There are some turns and some hills on the back straight, and as you come through the last portion it begins to dive down hill. Once the road flattens out, we enter another compression phase that gives the car a tremendous amount of grip. At the end of the straight you go all the way past the ‘1’ marker in the braking zone where you decelerate from 145-150 mph down to 60 mph. Turn-10 is a compromise corner taken in second gear. Make sure that your not using all of the road by staying to driver’s left because turn-11 is really what starts the lap.
As you come through turn-11 you need to be on the power well before the apex because you climb a hill and go under the bridge which is also blind. That was very interesting the first few times through there. Under the bridge you keep turning right when you crest the hill that immediately begins to dive down onto the front straight. It’s flat out as you accelerate up through the gears through turn-12 and up to the start-finish line.
- George Tamayo