The next circuit we’re looking at in our USA Track review is Atlanta Motor Sports Park in Dawson, Georgia. So the track itself is a private club and it shares the facility with a car racing track. So, it's not something that you can just rock up with your car in the back of a truck or a van and just go and drive the facility. You must be a member, which I think costs around $2,000 - 3,000 for the year. A little bit more expensive than most of the facilities that we'll be discussing on our as American kart tracks, but once you experience the facility you can see the value for money!
Once you get inside this facility, you sort of see what you're paying for. The track itself is like Spa-Francorshamps in Belgium for the F1 circuit or for our Australian readers it's like Bathurst. You can see only parts of the track because it's so undulating being on the side of a mountain and you're looking around going, holy crap, I'm not going to be racing on that part of the track.
Being situated on the side of a mountain, it's incredible to think that a kart can race on that much undulation. I've never seen a circuit like it. I don't think that just from reading this blog, the I can do it justice as to how impressive the layout is.
They've got condos that you can buy or rent, so you can basically live at the track for the race weekend. I must have seen 30 or 40 condos that were just being built and there was some more on the way. So, there's clearly a market there for the wealthy clientele that they obviously have in the area. You can literally just rock up to the track, stay at your condo, park your Ferrari or your Maserati in your garage and go on track. It's not something I’m familiar with in Australian kart racing.
The pit area itself is very small, compared to other tracks we ventured to, so they can’t hold major races as they can’t accommodate larger trucks & marquees.
But what they do well is, they provide all the on-track necessities that you need. You've got the kart shop there to look after your on-track needs. The club rooms are amazing! It's a two-story building with a nice viewing platform up above. Even with that viewing, you probably only see 50% of the track, maybe even, you know, 40% of the track because of the layout and the landscape of the racetrack.
From a driving point of view, the first session I was sort of getting a bit lost because a lot of the corners are quite blind. So, you turn one corner, suddenly you drop like three stories over a hill and then, the rear tires come off the ground. That's how quick the track drops away. Then suddenly, the braking zone, you know, you just overshoot the braking markers because it just comes up so fast. I wasn't paying attention to the quick drop off. Then all of a sudden you're having to climb up those three stories again. So very, very slow on the exit when you get it wrong! Once you get to the top of the hill, you can't even see where you're driving, the little cadet driver that we had there actually got a bit scared the first time we drove there. After about three or four sessions he was loving it and just appreciative of the racetrack and how they can actually have something like this for karting.
You see this type of layout more for motor racing. Then again, it climbs back over another hill into a downhill braking zone. Then once you get down that bottom half of the track, then you start making your way back up the hill. Through a slower chicane than you sort of make your way up the hill through a couple of fast right hand corners and into a blind braking zone onto the main straight.
Now the other fun thing about this track is that because the track is so blind in some corners, they've got signs that you see more at motor racing circuits, like the 3, 2, 1, into the braking zones. It tells you that there’s a hairpin coming up on some of these turns, because if you’d never been there before you’d likely overshoot the corners. I'd never even walked the track. I just literally got onto the track and, and started driving it. So, I didn't know which way I was going without some of those visual markers it would’ve been difficult.
The safety aspect looked pretty good, like they had enough room around the place that if something were to go wrong, it looked safe.
We were fortunate enough to cruise down on a road trip and just sent an email out to the club and the guys there were super, super appreciative to have us out there and we were very fortunate to be able to access the private club. As it's not really a normal facility that you can just rock up and go to, a massive thanks goes out to the club for giving us that opportunity to drive the track for the day.
It was seriously enjoyable! It brings the fun back to karting, there's no doubt about it. A real family friendly accommodating kart club.
Absolutely amazing photos that you get when you're driving on the track as well. That's cool to look back on from our experiences there. The drive to Atlanta Motor Sports Park has you thinking “where the hell am I?”, it's out in the woods and you're sort of driving around a few windy bends and suddenly you find your way out to the front gate.
I'd highly recommend getting to AMP if you can.
To learn how to drive this track fast, be sure to check out our track guide here that gives drivers all the braking markers, throttle zones and apexes from every angle.