How to plan the street tracks of the future

The motorsport industry is seeing a significant growth in temporary street tracks across the globe and recent change in regulations in England and Wales now allow for planned motorsport events to be held on closed roads. Are street circuits an attractive option for participants, spectators, event officials and the public?

Are street tracks more challenging?

One could argue that part of the challenge of traditional street circuits is the track surface. Using roads normally designed for road cars, racing drivers will often find street tracks more bumpy, with less grip, and with limited space for runoff areas. On the one hand, the imperfections in the driving surface and inevitable mistakes by drivers can make for thrilling wheel-to-wheel action. On the other, event planners should be careful to maximise safety as much possible through clever planning of sightlines, positioning of escape roads and installation of safety barriers.

What about the viewing spectacle?

The presence of a major racing event in a major populated area can be a spectacle in itself. The proximity of multiple historic buildings, landmarks and tourist attractions can make for unique viewing opportunities that you wouldn’t find on a traditional permanent circuit.

Mobile technology, 3D cameras and virtual reality will soon become the mainstream in the way motorsport is consumed, and event planners should aim ensure the circuit is recognisable the world over, no matter how it is consumed – in person, on screen or by headset.
Are street circuits easy to organise and operate?

Driven recommend that those looking to develop street circuits consider some of the following to help secure a safe and credible event plan:

Consider adjusting the route of the track to control racing speeds
Think not just of the track but the facilities needed (paddocks, pitlanes, back of house) to run the event in an efficient manner.
Work with cities to investigate mutually beneficial infrastructure upgrades
Remember that the spectators are likely to be much closer to the action and plan accordingly
Make sure to work closely with your National Sporting Authority or FIA to build in safety from the outset

What about disruption to the public?

All motorsport events will suffer from similar challenges like noise and access. Street circuits within cities can be effectively designed to ensure access to people’s homes and businesses are not affected too severely. Track layouts can be fine tuned to concentrate noise in certain areas. Events can also be planned to integrate competitive racing events with other non-motorsport attractions or festivals to attract as wider audience as possible and, ideally, a day out for all the family.

Driven have been working alongside Coventry Motofest to develop plans for a safe and practical sprint track, which will be licenced for competition by the MSA for the first time in 2018. If you are involved in or looking to develop a temporary racing circuit on public roads, please get in touch.