The 2018-19 SBMRL season opens with a first time visit to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin and Road America. The league will race in the United State three times this season, including the first two races.
Racing at Elkhart Lake began in 1950 on county highways around the village. Not long after that, an accident at Watkins Glen resulted in a ban of racing on public roads. In 1955, the course that is now known as Road America began construction as a private track, holding the first races of significance the following year. The track still has its original configuration.
The pit straight is one of three long straights on the circuit, and cars will have plenty of time to get up to speed before the first turn, a sharp right hander. A moderately short straight leads into turn 2, which is similar and just slightly sharper. By this point, the field will have had two opportunities to really get in each other’s way, and the long straight down to the third corner will mean that those who get through cleanly will start to pull away.
The second sector features several corners in quick succession that will slow the field down a bit. Some of these corners are among the trickier ones on the course, but they are unlikely to compress the field too much. The final corner of this sector, Carousel, leads into the long back section featuring the Kink, which can be taken all out.
The Kink means that it isn’t a true straight, but for all intents and purposes, it will be raced like one. The final three corners of the circuit are seemingly designed to slow down the field before spitting them back out onto the pit straight. Unfortunately, that’s where drivers will want as much speed as they can get. Whether they’re cutting to their pits or barreling on ahead, they’ll want all the speed their cars can give them. A clean first lap will almost certainly give drivers an advantage.
As this is the SBMRL’s first visit to Road America, the way the teams approach the track is open to speculation. However, it does have a number of similarities to Sebring, which Cobalt dominated a few years ago. Interlagos is another similar track that could be referenced for possible outcomes.
It won’t be surprising to see a couple of drivers hit the corners just right and pull away from the rest of the field. This isn’t a track that is likely to keep the field compressed for long. That said, the long straights should give some opportunities for those who’ve fallen behind to catch up.
With no season standings to go off of, the starting grid will be determined prior to the start of the race.