Lengthened by three-quarters of a mile from its original design, the track has gone through 2000 feet of contouring, repaving, widening and now has more than 2000 feet of run-off zones, an all-new pit row, and multiple seating areas creating a high level of visibility of the racing action.
Highlighting the course changes is a new “inner loop,” which boasts two hairpin turns, esses and a loop that passes through the remaining skeleton of a manufacturing building in an area formerly home to iron and steel mills. Within that loop will be the “Alley of the Greats,” commemorating racing legends of the past whose images will be emblazoned on massive banners hanging from the rafters. Those legends include the Festival’s Grand Marshal Lyn St. James, Derek Bell, Dan Gurney, Enzo Ferrari, Alberto Ascari, Brian Redman, Peter Gregg, David Hobbs, and others.
“When reading the reviews of the track last year,” said DeFoor, “I learned that the majority of the racers loved the city streets, but said that some parts were a little bumpy. Half of them loved the feel as it was more like historic road racing. The other half wanted it to be smooth like modern tracks of today. So, we elected to smooth it out this year.
“As you blow through the inner loop and the skeleton of the building of the ‘Alley of the Greats,’ the wind creates a spell-binding atmosphere for the driver and just an overall feeling of well-being.”
The entrance to the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend will be located on Riverfront Parkway, and a new bus route with multiple stations will include a stop at the track entrance.
“The City of Chattanooga is extremely excited about the Pace Grand Prix track changes and upgrades for the 2022 event to be held in a few short weeks,” said Grand Marshal Emeritus and local car collector/businessman Corky Coker, “We secured a huge machine to grind the bumps, we widened the track, added new runoffs, and added a new pit row!
“The coolest thing is that the track is now two and three quarters of a mile in length using the same space with our new really cool ‘Alley of the Greats!’”