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Road racing

Road racing can be a term involving road running, road bicycle races, or automobile races. As contemplated in this article, the term will be treated as it relates to motorsport, specifically, automobile racing and motorcycle racing.

Road bike racing around Phillip Island

Types of road courses

Riverside International Raceway is an example of a road course

Road racing can be of two types: in the first, car or motorcycle races are run on specially built, closed circuit courses; in the second, public roads are temporarily closed off for the purpose of conducting a race. Notable examples of this include the Monaco Grand Prix which is conducted on the city streets of the small principality, the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio,and the Isle of Man. The Tourist Trophy, probably the most famous motorcycle race of its type, takes place over the Snaefell Mountain Course, as well as the Northwest 200 in Ireland. Today, some small portion of these automobile race tracks are called temporary street courses.

Of the former, closed circuit type, purpose-built race tracks are used that, due to their irregular shapes and many turns and curves, resemble true road courses. Due to safety and insurance concerns, this style of racing has largely supplanted true road racing, particularly in Europe. Road racing is also occasionally conducted using the infield and oval portions of tracks making a "roval", such as the 24 Hours of Daytona. Road racing has become a featured part of many racing video games.

Global road courses

Global road-racing series such as Formula One car racing and MotoGP motorcycle racing are almost always conducted on dedicated race tracks—with only a few exceptions. Several of these tracks are world-renowned, such as the circuits at Le Mans, Imola, and Silverstone. Recent expansion of these international series has resulted in dedicated tracks being built in Qatar in the Middle East, Sepang in Malaysia, and Shanghai in China.

North American road courses

There was a long tradition of road racing on real streets in United States. Now the most famous American road courses are all purpose-built, but some where the original tradition evolved include: Riverside International Raceway at Riverside, California (now closed); Watkins Glen International at Watkins Glen, New York; Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin; and Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California. After a few decades of such events three sons of Barron Collier—Barron, Miles, and Samuel—founded the Automobile Racing Club of America in 1933. That organization became the Sports Car Club of America in 1944. Throughout its history, American race car drivers such as Briggs Cunningham, Lake Underwood, Carroll Shelby, and Mark Donohue were among the contestants at these road racing events.

Other less famous purpose-built road courses include: Moroso Motorsports Park, Barber Motorsports Park, Miller Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Heartland Park Topeka, Lime Rock Park, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, Portland International Raceway, and Virginia International Raceway. Additionally, Grand Prix-style road course racing over public streets is making something of a comeback; the most famous race of this sort currently held is the one hosted annually in Long Beach, California. Other famous street circuits in North America include events held in St. Petersburg, Florida, Vancouver, Canada, and Toronto, Canada. Airport runways figure into several part-time road courses in North America: Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio hosts a Champ Car race every summer; the St. Petersburg course uses the runway of a small airport as its main straight, and Sebring International Raceway, home of the prestigious 12-hour race in March, was formerly a military airfield in Sebring, Florida.

See also

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