Four IMSA Series, Headlined by the Michelin Pilot Challenge, Will Race on the New Surface in June 2024
LEXINGTON, Ohio – A full repave project of the entire racing surface at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was completed last week, officials from Green Savoree Racing Promotions, which owns and operates the track, announced Tuesday.
IMSA will be the first major racing sanctioning body to host an event on the new surface from June 7-9, 2024, when the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, Mustang Challenge and Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires all visit to race.
The repaving project was a collaborative effort using the expert services of Kokosing Construction Company, Inc., Kokosing Materials, Inc. and Advanced Materials Services, LLC. Planning and thorough research for the repaving began in 2022 with a test layer placed in Turn 1 for performance evaluation of a racetrack-specific asphalt mixture during the 2023 racing season. The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course racing surface was last repaved starting in the fall of 2005 and completed in spring 2006.
“We were blessed with outstanding weather last week for the crews to complete this major project in a relatively short amount of time,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and chief operating officer of Green Savoree. “It was a tremendous accomplishment and collaboration between Kokosing Construction, Kokosing Materials, Advanced Materials Services and our own track operations team to make it happen. We look forward to getting race cars on it for the first time next spring!”
Last week’s repaving work utilized approximately 100 people, 5,000 manpower hours, 15 trucks to remove approximately 6,000 tons (300 truckloads) of old track material and 30 trucks to haul in 6,000 tons of the new asphalt mixture onto the property. The project encompassed 11,550 feet of surface paving, 3,500 feet of various turn reinforcement, 500 feet of full depth repair in the Keyhole and Turn 12 areas and 300 feet of transverse joint repair.
After milling the racing surface, the second step of the process for Kokosing featured asphalt repairs and reinforcement of high-stress areas which required additional milling depth. For the final stage, two pavers placed the asphalt surface layer at 40-foot width around the entire circuit, working in echelon (side-by-side pattern) to avoid a centerline joint throughout the track’s 2.258-mile, 13-turn or 2.4-mile, 15-turn layout. The old, milled track material is being recycled and regraded to create additional paddock and parking surface areas on the Mid-Ohio property.
“Plans for the 2023 project started in 2022, immediately after completing the resurfacing of Turn 1,” said Bart Moody, vice president of asphalt estimating and engineering at Kokosing Construction Company. “Logistical challenges had to be overcome to produce the mix and perform the work with limited time and access. A full-time truck coordinator was in constant communication with material trucks to ensure they entered and exited the track at the correct locations as work progressed. Crews worked extended hours in order to maintain the schedule that made use of unseasonably warm weather for October in Ohio.”
Aggregates were sourced locally in Ohio from Olen Corporation’s Upper Sandusky and Fredericktown plants. Durable aggregates were selected to withstand the loading applied to the track, and a highly polymerized asphalt binder was produced by Kokosing Materials to withstand the high temperatures and stresses. The asphalt mixture used was tested at the Kokosing Materials Asphalt Plant and at the track for a variety of properties such as asphalt content, gradation and density.
“The stresses on a racetrack, especially road courses with tight turns, are much higher than those typically seen on conventional asphalt pavements,” said Graham Hurley, project engineer at Advanced Materials Services. “The much stiffer PG 88-22 asphalt binder used counteracts the shear stresses imparted on the track surface by race cars, which prevents any raveling that may occur. Additionally, the specifications used for this project were much tighter than a traditional highway specification. The target minimum softening temperature for asphalt binder and the target in-place density values were both set higher than conventional specifications for vehicular traffic. Kokosing successfully met these higher conditions with ease.”
The new track surface will be allowed to cure for over five months in advance of the 2024 season.