NCM Motorsports Park
3.15 miles / 5.07 km Grand Full Course with Mulsanne Chicane2014 to date
3.15 miles / 5.07 km Grand Max Straight Course2014 to date
2.87 miles / 4.62 km Grand Max Straight Course with Mulsanne Chicane2014 to date
2.87 miles / 4.62 km Corvette Race Loop Course2014 to date
1.97 miles / 3.17 km Corvette Race Loop Course with Mulsanne Chicane2014 to date
1.97 miles / 3.17 km East Circuit Course2014 to date
1.10 miles / 1.77 km West Circuit Course2014 to date
2.00 miles / 3.22 km
Few motoring brands have as enthusiastic and enduring a following as the Chevrolet Corvette, so it should come as no surprise that it should inspire the creation of a racing circuit, in Bowling Green, Kentucky – right across the freeway from the factory that builds the iconic sports cars.
Built by the museum dedicated to showcasing the 'best in breed', NCM Motorsports Park (the 'NCM' stands for National Corvette Museum) incorporates features from the challenging track Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans but is designed for drivers of all skill levels and ages.
While Corvettes are clearly the local favourites, machinery of all kinds laps here and indeed resident pro-racer Andy Pilgrim has been known to take a hot lap or two in Porsche when not conducting tutorials in the latest GM machinery as part of his driving experience programme.
The circuit was first proposed back in 2010 and the goal was to design a facility that could cater to a wide variety of racing types. A pair of road courses, a high speed karting track, a huge autocross area and a quarter mile drag strip were all part of the original plans for the 184-acre site, however the final scheme saw the kart track and drag strip fall by the wayside.
Ground breaking on the $20 million facility began on June 28, 2013 and the finished facility was ready for use in just over 12 months, in time to celebrate the Corvette Museum's 20th anniversary in August 2014. Centrepiece of complex is the large road course, which can be split into two separate halves or run in one of five different configurations – with an alternative Le Mans-inspired chicane thrown in as a further option. The longest version is the Grand Full Course which measures 3.15 miles but there is also the Grand Max Straight Course (2.87 miles), the Corvette Race Loop Course (1.97 miles), the West Circuit Course (2 miles) and the East Circuit Course (1.1 miles).
Aside from the road course, the complex also includes an autocross/skid pad are that itself covers 21 acres, a huge paddock area, high-tech control tower, classrooms for racing instruction, a pavilion area, concession stands and a fuelling station.
While naturally many of the events are Corvette-related, the track's management is keen to stress that the facility is open to all makes and models of vehicles, including motorcycles. Nevertheless, it will form the official testing facility for the production Corvette program (in addition to GM's Milford Proving Grounds) and the Pratt & Miller C7R racing programme and will naturally form a Mecca for Corvette enthusiasts.
The variety of possible layouts helps ensure the circuit's usefulness as a test track; Pratt and Miller should be able simulate just about any style of circuit it wants, from Le Mans to Lime Rock. Equally, for local club racing it should add plenty of spice, with events able to use a number of different courses during the year.
Already the circuit has proved a hit, with a huge range of booking ensuring activity takes place on most days, from manufacturer days and other corporate events to track days, driver education and race schools.