June 18, 2014

Track Focus – Thornhill Racing Circuit


Track Name – Thornhill Racing Circuit
Owner – Chris Allison
Country – USA
Location – Hutto, Texas (28 miles North-East of Austin)
Direction – Anti-Clockwise
Surface – Dirt with block section

This week the ROAR 1:8 Offroad National Championship takes place at Thornhill Racing Circuit in Hutto, Texas, a beautifully presented track that is the vision of local racing enthusiast Chris Allison.  An r/c racer of more than 25-years, Chris’ inspiration for the track came while watching the 2012 World Championship’s from Argentina, which while as an event he said had its issues, presented a really nice track and this made him want to bring its European style flow to the US. Having previously had an indoor track in the area, last July Thornhill Racing Circuit became reality on the 14-acre site which Chris himself admits ‘does feel out of town’ but is in fact only a 30 minute drive from downtown Austin.   The name of the track, which Chris, a local businessman, operates just for fun, is an interesting one with the name reflecting what stood here before the building of the track and its facilities.  Situated on a hill, the land was covered by Misquite trees, used in the famous Barbeque State for it’s distinct flavour, which have a very large and dangerous looking thorns growing out of its branches.  Chris has left a number of the trees in place as a reminder to the track’s name origins.  Using Circuit in the title is a reflection on ‘Circuit of the Americas’, home of the US Formula 1 Grand Prix is only a 40-minute drive away.

The design of the track, which impressively is over a 1/4 of mile long, is a collaboration between Chris and world famous track builder Joey ‘The Dirt’ Christensen.  The third layout the track has undergone, Chris said for the Warm-up event, held here last month, the layout was more Joey’s signature style but now its his style reflecting the inspiration that was Argentina.  With a fast lap time in the region of a mid 40-second lap, the track itself which is nicely finished with astro turf infield, covers an area of 250ft by 150ft and took 1800 cubic yards of dirt to construct which Chris said required ‘a lot of dump trucks’ to bring in. A key feature of the track is the brick section leading up the large step-up. JConcepts’ Jason Ruona said while its not a very difficult track he expects it could produce one of the best races seen at a ROAR Nationals.

The track is bidding to host the 2016 World Championships and is taking that seriously.   Former electric and nitro Offroad World Champion, and now AKA frontman, Mark Pavidis said he has been to a lot of tracks but Thornhill Racing Circuit is for sure one of the most impressive he’s visited. One very impressive facility at the track is the large airconditioned pit area which due to the humid conditions today is being very much appreciated by the racers. Annually Chris said he aims to run 4 large events with the Thornhill Cup and the VP Racing Fuel Challenge two of the fixed annual events, VP Racing Fuel is an important partner of the track with them the key sponsors of this week’s ROAR Nationals event.

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