The newly renamed Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is starting to become a new battleground for production lap car records. As it should be.
Cars like the Dodge Viper ACR, Corvette ZR1, and now the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and GT2 RS have traded punches there just in the last couple years. The Viper’s record was set as part of a nationwide marketing effort (a good one) to claim records at a dozen American tracks. The ZR1 was the first to strike back with a blistering time of its own at a press launch there. This new record owned by Porsche, though, is an escalation. At least I hope it is.
A lap record at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta may not hold the same weight as one at the Nürburgring, but that clearly hasn’t stopped Porsche from sending two cars loaded with instruments and two drivers there for the sole purpose of claiming it. Porsche clearly saw value in it. I suspect that’s mostly to do with the Porsche North American HQ that’s an hour away from the track, but still.
I hope someone comes back with another car and tries to beat it. And I hope they succeed and provoke someone else to come try as well. Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is an incredible track with fast sweepers and elevation changes that can be both incredibly fun and incredibly scary. But most importantly, I think it’s the kind of track that can prove how good a car really is.
It doesn’t have the huge variety of corners that the ‘Ring can offer, but it has twelve unforgiving turns that will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a car. Turns 1, 8, and 11/12 can test high speed stability through corners, whether they’re uphill, flat, or dropping down a huge and genuinely terrifying hill. The Esses can show how well a car can change direction and handle the elevation changes. And the downhill braking zone into the chicane can make any set of rotors aglow. It’s a 2.54-mile track that demands a lot from a car and its driver, so why not test more production cars there and see how they compare?
The new production car lap record is a 1:24.88 set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Come and take it.
[Image source: Porsche]