Quinn Racing Park

Quinn Racing Park is Quinn Racing's own test track and is also the location of its shops and offices. Located near Lancaster in northen England, just south of Scotland.

The track annually host races for racing series from around the world. Recent racing series who has visited has been;
F1 - Nordic Racing League, VOR Sportscars, and Grand Touring Series for GT1 and GT2 specification cars.

The full history

Lancaster Castle, partly built in the 13th century and enlarged by Elizabeth I, stands on the site of a Roman garrison and traces of the Roman fortification walls remain visible today. Lancaster Castle is well-known as the site of the infamous Pendle witch trials in 1612. It was said that the court based in the castle sentenced more people to be hanged than any other in the country outside of London, earning Lancaster the nickname, "the Hanging Town".

The Town

The city of Lancaster grew up around the castle. In the 11th century a feudal landowner, Roger of Poitou, founded or enlarged a castle on an eminence there and also founded the Priory of St. Mary as a cell of his Benedictine priory. The town grew around these institutions and was granted its first charter in 1193. Although twice destroyed by the Scots (in 1322 and 1389), Lancaster became a market center. It flourished briefly as a port in the late 18th century, but silting of the estuary caused its decline. In the English Civil Wars of the mid-17th century the castle, held by the Parliamentarians, was besieged three times by the Royalist forces.

The city has a range of industries, including furniture and linoleum manufacture and it is the headquarters of Reebok shoes. The town remains a major market center, having one of the largest livestock markets in northwestern England. A high proportion of professional, distributive, and retail employment reflects its traditional status as a regional center for northern Lancashire. Lancaster is situated on the railroad line between southern Lancashire and the city of Carlisle and on the major British motorway between the city of Birmingham and Scotland.

Lancaster, as a historic city, offers a moderate level of cultural entertainment. The city is fortunate to have retained many fine examples of Georgian architecture. Lancaster Castle, the Priory Church of St. Mary and the Edwardian Ashton Memorial are among many sites of historical importance. Attending the theater, concerts and fine dining also add to the cultural entertainment available in the city.

Lancaster offers opportunities to participate in a wide variety of sports for those learning to play them as well as being home to several professional teams. Facilities to play cricket (English baseball), track and field sports, football (soccer), rugby, golf, rowing, swimming, and water polo are all available.

Wishing to add another activity to draw more visitors to the area, Lancaster governmental officials began exploring the possibility of constructing a motorsport facility near the city. With railroad and a main highway coming into the city, and air transportation available a few miles outside of the city, city fathers believed that the infrastructure required to support such a facility were already in place.

Getting the track

In the late 1990ís, city officials began contacting various tracks in England in order to become familiar with various types of motorsports. Some officials thought that constructing a facility that could host Formula One races was the way to proceed, but enthusiasm for F1 quickly died out when they learned that F1 boss Bernie Eccestone was campaigning for F1 to move eastward and that there was really no chance of securing a second F1 race in England. What they learned from the various tracks they contacted was that Touring Cars were the hot ticket. They discovered England had its own Touring Car Championship series that drew cars people recognized as being driven on the street and also large crowds of spectators. Then they learned about the World Touring Car Championship that had all of the major touring car manufactures participating.

In 2007, the city of Lancaster voted to tax itself in order to raise the capital that would be needed to construct a motorsports facility that was suitable for touring car competition. A suitable location in the rolling hills near the city was purchased with ample room to construct a modern road racing facility.

The next step was to find a suitable designer to layout the race course. After contacting several world class track designers who were far more interested in creating a new Formula One track for some oil rich Middle Eastern or a rich nation in the far east, the track design committee heard about Kristoffer Tonheim from Norway. Tonheim is the team manager for Quinn Racing Team and was in the midst of designing a track for Quinn Racing Team that could serve as their test facility and would be located next to the Quinn Racing shops.

After some negotiating, Tonheim and the city fathers of Lancaster arrived at a working agreement in which Tonheim agreed to relocate Quinn Racing Park from Norway to Lancaster, England. In return, Lancaster agreed to name the facility Quinn Racing Park, and they granted the Quinn Racing Team unlimited use of the facility for its testing program without cost. No money was exchanged and the agreement to construct Quinn Racing Park was signed by Kristoffer Tonheim and the city of Lancaster on April 27, 2007.

Construction began immediately with large earth-moving vehicles cutting the track out of the hills that formed the location and England was flooded with advertizing telling about the new Touring Car Track that was being constructed near Lancaster and that its first official race would be held during the 2009 racing season. Once the course was cut out, paving equipment began paving the facility which like many modern race courses includes more than one layout. There is a shorter tighter course that Tonheim believes is perfect for smaller touring cars such as those running the British Touring Car the World Touring Car Championships. Tonheim classifies the longer (4.960 km or 3.082 mile) layout an F1 circuit, but he is really poking fun at Formula One which now seems to have a cookie cutter plan for constructing all new F1 circuits. Tonheim designed this track to accommodate more cars on the track and to fit the needs of world class LeMans style racing. At soon as the course was cut out of the hillsides, other construction crews began the work of building the support facilities Ė garages, grandstands, restrooms, spectator mounds, concessions, parking and other facilities that the contemporary race fan expects to find while on the grounds. These facilities were completed a few months after the final touches were applied to the race course.

In September of 2008, Quinn Racing Park officials contacted the British and World Touring Car series and learned that their dates were finalized almost a year before the season began. If Quinn Park was serious about having a major touring car race in 2009, the track officials were told to contact the Virtual Online Racing (VOR) organization, because they were the only world class motorsports association which did not finalize the series dates until late November or December.

Quinn Park officials immediately contacted officials from the VOR and requested a Touring Car date for early summer 2009. VOR and the International LeMans Series (ILMS) awarded Quinn Park a date for a Grand Touring Series race for GT1 and GT2 specification cars on June 22, 2009.

A lap of the Long Course

On Tuesday, June 16th, 49 ILMS GTS teams arrived at Quinn Racing Park to prepare for the race scheduled for June 22nd. Since there were no simulations of Quinn Racing park, all of the completers were eager to get out on the track. The VOR Stewards authorized Nicolas Gariepy, driver of the number 450, Team CanMex Racing BMW M3 GTR to complete 5 laps of the circuit (2 slow recon laps, 2 laps at speed, and one slow cool off lap) late Tuesday afternoon during which he would gather information about the track so that he could write about the track as ďviewed from the Driverís SeatĒ of his BMW. In return, Gariepy agreed to distribute his information to all 49 teams to enable them to prepare for the open testing session on Wednesday, the first time all of the teams were permitted on the track.

Driving the Lap

About the Quinn Racing Park track, first we have to say that itís an all around track. One half of the track is a fast part, while the other half is more of a technical part so you have to keep that in mind when looking for the best car setup. As we start the recon lap, on the start/finish straight, you have to find the right braking spot to avoid going straight off-track at corner one which is a sharp turn to left followed by a chicane: “Mags and Kaasa Chicane”. Right now I can tell that itís not going to be an easy start for the race and that drivers will have to be very careful and patient. Then you can hit the gas for a fast straight to corner 4 “Follis”, which you can downshift to 5th gear to turn right since the track is wide enough and the corner isnít very sharp. Then approaching corner 5 “Grimseth S-1”, I downshift to 4th by applying a little brake pressure, then by downshifting to 3rd gear to corner 6 “Grimseth S-2”. You have to be careful not to enter those turns too fast otherwise the sand trap is waiting for you. Also you donít want to go too slow in it so you need some practice to find the right driving line.

As we arrive at corner 7 “Daniel”, at 4th-5th gear, you need to downshift one or 2 gears then you can once again hit the throttle for the longest straight of the track. Apply some brake pressure downshifting to 4th while trying to handle the car to enter corner 9, “Petite Eau Rouge”, fast which is going up then going down at corner 10ís chicane, the “Graathen Hill Chicane”, in 5th gear. Another chicane awaits ahead at corner 11 “Variante Tvedt”, which you have to be careful not trying to shortcut it since the curbs are higher and can easily make your car off-balance. Corners 12 to 15 “Tonheim, The Dump, and Ruen Double”, are slow but technical turns that require some focus to avoid spins if you brake too late or accelerate too fast. Then we arrive at the start / finish line for another lap!