is a pre-war (WW2) fighter training base located about 7 miles south
of Kershaw and 17 miles north of Camden on Highway 601 in South
Carolina, and is approximately one hour drive south of Charlotte
International Airport. The west course is mostly flat, but the east
track crosses a small stream running through a valley that is
approximately 35' deep, resulting in some distinct elevation changes.
Motorsport was asked to design a road course that would meet full AMA
and SCCA National use and safety standards, even though the initial
use of the facility contemplates only club level racing. Alan Wilson,
President of Wilson Motorsports has designed several other tracks in
recent years, most notably the GingerMan Raceway in Michigan and the
infield road courses at Las Vegas and Pikes Peak Speedways. As was the
case with these three tracks, CMP has been designed specifically for
motorcycle use. The idea being that if motorcycle riders like the
track, race car drivers will love it!
Carolina facility, which Wilson describes as "Ginger Man on steroids"
follows his established style of wide open, level, and very smooth run
off areas surrounding a 36' wide track containing several complex
radius corners. He has included several significant braking areas
designed to encourage overtaking and close racing. Wilson has tried to
avoid the need for concrete or steel barriers as much as possible
(recognizing that spectator safety must always be maintained) and has
achieved this at CMP. CMP will have barriers on the outside of only
two corners, on the pit lanes, and over the river crossings. Even
then, the barriers at the Lone Tree and Angels Angle corners are set
well back and it is not expected that they will be reached except
under very extreme circumstances. A goal of the design has been to run
AMA National-standard races without the need for additional safety
measures, including airfence or straw bales, thanks to the wide open
run-off areas and carefully located sand traps.
Although CMP was constructed as a club level facility, it was designed
for future public attendance events and offers several exceptionally
good vantage points. Almost 100% of the west track is visible from the
pits and public areas, while the east track offers spectacular views
of the Faith, Hope and Charity, Outback, Avenue and Angels sections
from extensively shaded spectator areas.
track (1.18 miles) is much faster. Combined, the two courses become a
very fast, technical, challenging and extremely interesting 2.235-mile
than use common turn number terminology, CMP has followed European
traditions by naming each corner, believing that this will quickly
give the facility its own distinct character. Naming the corners
should also reduce confusion when the tracks are used in their
first turn is named Camden Corner after the nearby
historic town, and follows the 1640' Pit Straight.
This is a wide, 80' radius corner which will be very deceptive because
it calls for a late apex if the first of the Esses is
to be taken correctly. Consequently Camden Corner is expected to be
the scene of much overtaking as the faster line into the corner may
grant a rider or driver the lead position exiting but will severely
effect his/her ability to race through the Esses effectively.
The Esses are well spaced, 100' radius corners with
the second element significantly faster than the first. This 346'
section rises up a gentle grade with the apex of the second Ess
located on the crest of the hill. These should be fun, flowing
corners, in which the exit speed will be crucial to the fast downhill
and long uphill sections that follow. After the second Ess the track
drops some 20' to the river crossing before climbing 30' up
Dam Hill to Consipiracy Corner which is 978'
past the last of the Esses. This left hander will present a major
overtaking opportunity because the corner speed will be far greater
than the entrance to the right hand turn that follows just 128' later.
Conspiracy Corner should provide an opportunity for a competitor to
dive past another who is on the correct line for the long, sweeping
Faith, Hope and Charity carousel that follows, but
will leave the passing competitor with a much less efficient entry to
these multiple radius corners. However, the track is wide with plenty
of run-off area so some significant overtaking can be expected through
the different segments of this long carousel sweeper. Each element of
this complex has different corner radii and angles making a correct
racing line crucial to the long, downhill straight that follows.
The Outback, named because it really is out in the
countryside, is an 1841' straight with a very shallow kink that ends
in a steep downhill section, called, for the reason that many a
competitor will breath its name in trepidation, O'Hill! O'Hill drops
20' off the Outback down to the river crossing and the beginning of
the steep uphill entrance to the heavily cambered (7 degree) Angels
Angle. Angels is a 15' radius, 72 degree corner that continues to rise
as it curves out along the 370' exit straight to The Swoop.
Angels Angle is likely to become one of the more talked about turns in
racing because it must be taken fast to make best use of the 1980' run
through The Avenue to The Kink that
follows. Angels Angle will however, appear to be much slower than it
really is and will become a corner that will really sort out the
The Avenue is a spectacular, sweeping run out of the
forest through the heavily cambered Swoop (518'
radius, 33 degrees) that leads to a very high speed approach to
The Kink. The 162' radius, 35 degree Kink should be a
corner that will seldom be taken flat out and may require either heavy
braking or just a confidence roll off the throttle, depending on the
skill of the competitor and the handling set-up of his/her machine.
This very fast turn has a wide open, flat run-off area and a huge sand
trap set well back to catch a competitor who is unable to regain
control if he/she leaves the track surface. An errant exit from the
Kink will also penalize those who find the 843' long Runway
straight too short to get back onto the correct entry
line for Mulligans Corner.
Mulligans is a double apex corner (named Mulligans
because riders will usually want to take it again to get it right)
whose natural, flowing exit will result in a too tight entrance into
Charlies Corner. Consequently competitors will need
to choose between a fast exit from Mulligans or a slower but better
line into Charlies (named after one of the owners' young sons). This
100' radius, 128 degree corner leads onto a short, 387' straight to
Lone Tree, a very slow 91 degree right hander necessitated by the
relatively small run-off room available. Lone Tree
corner leads onto the 1009' long Kershaw Straight and
is therefore an important corner to master as this is a significant
overtaking section located in front of a major spectator area.
final opportunity to use braking to fight for position before the
finish line is the Last Chance Corner, located at the
end of the Kershaw Straight. This is a tight, 57' radius, 116 degree
corner leading onto the Pit Straight which must be
taken very late in order to exit at the highest speed. This corner
shape offers a late braking competitor a good opportunity to fight for
track position even if his/her exit speed onto the straight is
compromised by a less efficient racing line.
first year of operation, Carolina Motorsports Park is intended to be
used for club racing and track rentals only, and will have limited
facilities for spectators. The large, flat, 21 acre paddock is grassed
with paved service roads and has many trees. The west track pit lane
has been included in the first phase of operations, with the east
track pits to be added once the facility has become fully established.
Race control and timing and scoring facilities are temporary buildings
at this time, with specifically built facilities expected to follow
within a few years. The general goals of the owners of CMP are to
establish the basic circuit as a top level, safe, and effective
facility for their targeted user groups before developing it further
as a major spectator venue.
been designed and built with competitor and worker safety as prime
parameters. While the track itself is both fast and complex, the
penalty for mistakes is more likely to result in embarrassment and a
trip to the sand traps than to damage or injury. Wide open, level
run-off areas surround the track encouraging competitors to get their
vehicles under control on the grass rather than having to resort to
heavy braking and panic maneuvers. In those areas where space is
limited, very well constructed tire walls have been installed. Steel
guardrails are located in prime positions, (pit lane, the river
crossings and at Lone Tree Corner and the end of the safety zone at
Camden Corner), but are otherwise notable for their absence.
built in an area that has very soft, sandy soils. This has allowed for
the establishment of extensive sand traps to catch cars and
motorcycles that cannot be brought back under control on the wide,
flat, grass verges. These sand traps are generally set well back from
the track in order to provide plenty of recovery room for riders.
worker staions have been built to the highest standards, featuring
circular, tripple layer guardrails, fronted by tire walls to provide
strength and impact resistance. Each post will also feature a shelter
from the weather.
Carolina Motorsports Park is the newest racing facility in the
country, representing an exceptional standard in driver and rider
safety, enjoyment and challenge. Built as a club and rental facility,
CMP has the potential to be developed, over time, into a major racing
venue for the East Coast. Initial response to the new facility has
been strong, with heavy track bookings already recorded and
significant interest being shown by many other car and motorcycle