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Publication numberUS20080268968 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/070,400
Publication dateOct 30, 2008
Filing dateFeb 19, 2008
Priority dateJul 3, 2002
Publication number070400, 12070400, US 2008/0268968 A1, US 2008/268968 A1, US 20080268968 A1, US 20080268968A1, US 2008268968 A1, US 2008268968A1, US-A1-20080268968, US-A1-2008268968, US2008/0268968A1, US2008/268968A1, US20080268968 A1, US20080268968A1, US2008268968 A1, US2008268968A1
InventorsBrian Jon Back
Original AssigneeBrian Jon Back
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Super oval large scale automotive venue
US 20080268968 A1
Abstract
A racing facility is arranged to accommodate various types of automotive racing, including Indy, CART, Formula 1 cars etc., and is disclosed to include a super oval or complex oval arrangement of racing surface in at least two loops of racing surface each looping about a common central area, and connecting to one another at an overpass feature. The racing facility of the present invention is a continuous closed circuit speedway with at least two loops which loop about a common center area and with speedway passing over itself at least once at a crossing which is not of a common grade level, such as an overpass, underpass or bridge, and so that the speedway does not have a crossing at a common or the same level, to thus allow a vehicle making an entire circuit of the speedway the option of only making turns in one direction and not passing over any portion of the racing surface more than once is a single complete circuit or lap of the racing surface.
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Claims(2)
  1. 62. A complex oval closed course racing facility including plural contiguous loops of racing surface defining pairs of loops with each pair of loops each looping about a respective common central area, said racing facility comprising:
    a first and a second loop of racing surface each looping about a common central area and providing for plural automotive competitors on said racing surface to make at least two complete circuits about said common central area under power for each complete lap of said racing surface, and an overpass feature connecting and making contiguous said first and said second loops of racing surface so that said racing surface crosses itself at least once without intersecting itself, whereby each competitor on said racing surface at a particular time has an equal opportunity to complete a lap of the racing surface in the shortest possible distance.
  2. 63. A complex oval closed course automotive racing facility comprising plural loops of racing surface defining pairs of loops of racing surface with each pair of loops looping about a common central area and together defining a continuous racing surface so that each of plural competing automotive vehicles contemporaneously on said racing surface make at least a pair of circuits continuously under power about each common central area for each lap of said racing surface, with each competing automotive vehicle making turns only in a single direction, and said plural loops of racing surface including at least two loops of racing surface about a respective common central area, and said at least two loops of racing surface communicating with one another at an overpass feature where said racing surface crosses itself without intersection, whereby each of said plural competing automotive vehicles contemporaneously on said racing surface has an equal opportunity to complete respective laps of said racing surface and of equal length.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a Continuation-in-Part of my earlier application Ser. No. 10/190,047, filed 3 Jul. 2002, now U.S. Pat. No. ______ issued ______ 2008, and the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference to the extend necessary for a full, complete, and enabling disclosure of the present invention.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a large scale, super oval automotive venue. Alternatively, the super oval configuration of this automotive venue may be considered a complex oval, as the racing surface is disposed in plural loops with at least two of the loops looping about a respective common central area. At least two circuits about the common central area are required to complete a lap of the complex oval, however, which is in contrast to a conventional oval configuration for an automotive venue. More particularly, the present invention relates to a racing facility for automotive vehicles such as automobiles and motorcycles, which provides a unique combination of a long lap length in a relatively small land area, good access for spectators to view the action on the speedway, convenient location of pits for the competing vehicles, and run-off or vehicle catch features located at the ends of the significant straight sections of the speedway surface so that vehicles which cannot negotiate the turns at the ends of these straights can be safely stopped and contained without significant injury to the racing vehicle or driver. Importantly, each of the plural competitors on the racing surface at a particular time has an equal opportunity to complete a lap of the venue in the shortest possible distance. An automotive competitor or automotive racing vehicle on the super oval or complex oval racing surface makes two complete circuits about the common central area in making a single lap of the racing surface, so spectators may have more than one opportunity to see a particular vehicle as well as that vehicle's close competitors, in each lap of the venue.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

At the present time, the singular large scale automotive venue in the world which uses an overpass is the Suzuka Circuit in Japan. However, the Suzuka Circuit is a very land-intensive automotive venue, occupying a great number of acres of land. In fact, the Suzuka Circuit is treated by the Japanese as a city unto itself, and is referred to as the Suzuka Village. This city or village includes many facilities in addition to the main racing surface, and is a large amusement park including plural attractions and plural automotive operations surfaces. In further fact, the main automotive venue comprises but a fraction (about Ľ) of the total land used for the Suzuka Circuit or Village, which is a facility on a scale equivalent to Disney World and Epcot Center combined in Florida, USA. Because of the extremely large amount of land used by the Suzuka Circuit, the land use by the automotive venue is not critical to the overall design of the venue. But, such is not the case in general throughout the world. That is, land use considerations are very important for large scale automotive venues. Most US speedways have no opportunity to grow their land us outside of presently existing confines, because of developments immediately outside the existing property lines.

Over the years auto racing has fragmented worldwide into several different forms, which in many respects are or may become mutually exclusive. A number of the major variations are Formula 1 (F-1) (A privately owned, Europe based, international series running formula autos on road circuits), Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART, a publicly traded U.S. based corporation that sponsors an international series running formula autos on road, street, oval and mixed circuits.) and National Association of Stock Car Auto Racers (NASCAR), (Privately owned, U.S. based, National Series Running “stock” cars on 99% oval mix and 2% road circuits).

One of the more recent fractures in auto racing occurred in the mid-1990's when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and CART parted ways, leading to the creation of the Indy Racing League (IRL), (A privately owned, U.S. based, National series running formula cars on a variety of oval mix circuits). Given the fact that sponsors, fans and contracts with broadcast outlets are limited the more fractured the sport becomes the less it will be able to accumulate and sustain the concentration of money and fans necessary for the sport to survive and thrive.

As noted the IRL Series confines their racing to oval type venues or speedways on which the car moves around the oval in one direction and makes each turn in only one direction. Racing on oval speedways began on horse tracks and since horses' raced in a counter clockwise direction with only left turns modern auto racing continues this tradition. The cars in this type of racing are thus designed to turn only to the left during the race and consequently a number of mechanical, structural and aerodynamic design features of this form of racing machine are intended to optimize the operation of the car and the safety of the driver under the conditions for racing on an oval circuit in one direction.

CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) incorporates a more flexibly designed car suitable for racing on oval, street or road circuits and where there are turns to both the left and right. The fissure between CART and IMS resulted in part from IMS mandated requirements regarding engine power and design, and chassis rules for the INDY 500 (An IMS Corp., Race) in order to slow the cars down. At the time of this fissure CART had 20 other races in its series and was locked into engine contracts that specified engines which did not meet the engines design mandated by IMS's. CART'S powerful engines were too fast for IMS thus CART and IMS parted ways. EMS started its own series, the IRL, with a more restrictive engine formula in order to slow the speeds down on ovals. CART went on its way without the INDY 500 as its showcase event while IMS with the establishment of IRL continued developed its own series of events.

Since CART cars do not have the design limitations mandated by IRL they can achieve higher speeds than IRL cars. However, this fact in itself causes problems in that on some speedways, in particular oval ones. CART cars can reach speeds of over 240 miles per hour. Since the turns of the typical high performance oval speedway are steeply banked the cars can enter the curves at speeds of 240 miles per hour or more. At these speeds the driver experiences forces equivalent to two to three G's, similar to that experienced by jet fighter pilots, only in a different direction, i.e. laterally. Thus in a race on an oval speedway in which a car completes one circuit of the speedway in a half a minute or less the driver may experience these forces two or three times over the course of half a minute. From experience it has been determined that an individual undergoing periodic G forces more frequently than every 40 to 50 seconds will have a tendency to black out. Additionally, G-suits used by fighter pilots are useless in a racing car since a pilot only experiences an up and down force while that experienced by a racing car driver also to the side, lateral.

The situation become so bad that on Apr. 29, 2001 the President of the CART had to cancel a race, the Firestone Fire hawk 600, scheduled at the Texas Motor Speedway. During trials the drivers were experiencing excessive G forces in the turns and there was a fear that in the drivers attempts to perform at maximum possible speeds some of the drivers might black out with catastrophic consequences. Texas Motor Speedway like many other oval speedways have high-banked corner's that allow the cars to maintain their maximum speeds in the turns. Additionally the Texas Motor Speedway had no straights of significant length to give the drivers a break. Drivers were thus experiencing G forces a majority of the time in each lap. On the other hand although IMS has long straights it has tow-banked 90-degree corners with no runoff but the drivers are still able to maintain speed without lifting off the throttle.

Although street courses can be set up to inhibit the speed at which CART autos run at they usually provide a spectator only a limited view of the race unlike an oval speedway which usually allows a spectator a view of substantially most of the race. Additionally, street courses lack the efficiency and crowd control features of an oval speedway. Because one of the purposes of racing automotive vehicles is to make money for its promoters and participants, oval or enclosed speedways that allow for optimal crowd placement and control are much more desirable than open road courses. Typically, several different types of racecourses can be placed inside the confines of an oval speedway including a street type of course for Formula 1 racing. However, one of the limitations of an oval speedway are the limited design options for IRL and NASCAR racing autos which are designed to turn in one direction during a race, to the left.

Given present design techniques available for oval auto racecourses and the need to limit turns to one direction around the entire course the options available for IRL type of speedways are severely limited. Most oval courses are limited in total acreage and if made too big in area Lose the advantage associated with an oval speedway. Only so many turns can be introduced into an oval course and then it simply becomes a circular course.

Thus, what is needed is a large scale automotive venue which can reverse the effects of fragmentation within auto racing and allow each of the different racing series to compete at the same facility. Such an automotive venue would have the advantage of limiting all turns to the left for certain types of races while increasing the distance and number of corners of the speedway, much like a road course.

Further to the above, such a large scale automotive venue would desirably have provision for safety of the drivers and spectators in view of the high speeds achieved by current racing vehicles. Provisions for safe pits, and for spectator access to the activities on the racing surface also must be carefully considered.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a large scale automotive venue, which I term a “super oval”, which allows most if not all forms of automotive racing vehicles to compete on the provided racing surface.

It is an additional object to provide such a “super oval” large scale automotive venue on which the speed of the racing vehicles can be controlled to avoid having the drivers exposed to excessive and prolonged G-forces.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a large scale automotive venue arrangement that can be easily retrofitted on to existing speedways within the land use constraints already existing for those speedways.

The present invention accomplishes these and other objectives by providing a “super oval” or “complex oval” large scale automotive venue which includes one exterior complete oval (or loop of racing surface) and at least one interior loop of racing surface, the at least one interior loop of racing surface connecting to the exterior loop of racing surface at two locations, the exterior loop of racing surface and at least one interior loop or racing surface being configured such that an automotive racing vehicle can make a continuous movement (or lap of the venue) starting from and returning to the same point by moving around substantially all of the exterior loop of racing surface and all of the interior loop of racing surface while making turns in only one direction and the venue includes at least one overpass so that the one continuous movement (or lap) by the racing vehicle can be made without touching any portion of the racing surface more than once before passing the starting point again.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The invention wilt be better understood by an examination of the following description, together with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 depicts a prior art oval racing facility;

FIG. 2 depicts a racing facility made according the present invention;

FIG. 3A depicts a raised view of a crossover or overpass that allows the racing facility of the present invention to have a racing surface which passes over itself in a non-grade crossing;

FIG. 3B depicts a lower roadway view of a crossover or overpass that allows the racing facility of the present invention to have a racing surface which passes over itself in a non-grade crossing;

FIG. 4 depicts a super oval or complex oval variation of the racing facility of the present invention;

FIG. 5 depicts a variation of the racing facility of the present invention with two crossovers and two additional ovals;

FIG. 6 depicts another version of the racing facility of the present invention;

and;

FIG. 7 depicts another version of the racing facility of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides a design for a racing facility, which may be termed a “super oval,” or a “complex oval.” Each of these terms is descriptive because the racing surface is composed of loops about a common central area, and the loops are connected to one another at overpasses. This racing facility incorporates unique design elements that allow for the realization of the best features of both IRL course requirements (but with a flexibility that allows for the racing of CART type of cars in a controlled speed environment). The present invention does this by adding at least one feature, which may be any of an overpass, underpass or bridge on the racing facility to allow the racing surface to turn back or loop back on itself. The use of a bridge, overpass or underpass, i.e. a non-grade or non-level crossing, thus avoids a crossing at a common grade (i.e., as in demolition derby racing) giving the racing vehicles the ability to move over the entire course without stopping.

FIG. 1 depicts a very basic prior art oval racing facility 21 with four turns.

FIG. 2 depicts a racing facility made according to the present invention that is set up with an outer oval 23 and inner oval 25. Roads 27 and 29 connect the outer oval 23 and inner oval 25 with a crossover at 31. The crossover is either a bridge or underpass to avoid a level crossing. The start of a race might be at 33 and the flow of the race could follow the arrows 34 around the speedway. As can be seen all of the turns the racecars would make during the race would be to the left around the speedway. Naturally, it is possible to reverse the direction and make all of the turns to the right. Having the turns all go in one direction meets one of the major requirements of IRL and NASCAR type of cars.

One of the advantages of this disclosed arrangement of a super oval or complex oval racing facility with a racing surface according to the principles of the present invention is that a variety of straight-aways of varying lengths and turns at various positions can be incorporated into the design of the speedway. This arrangement of the racing surface allows for the control of the speed of the cars. The arrangement of racing surface depicted in FIG. 2 allows only one very high-speed turn at 37 that the cars reach after passing down the long opening straightaway 39. The rest of the turns either do not have an approach straightaway long enough to gain maximum speed or the approach straightaway ends at a very sharp turn that requires the car to slow down substantially. The advantage of this aspect is that it limits the speedway to one turn in which the driver will experience substantial G-forces. The other long straightaway 38 ends in a sharp turn 40 that require the racing car driver to slow down significantly to make the turn. The racing facility depicted in FIG. 2 provides two different racing surfaces. The first racing surface being around the entire out side oval 23 including section 42. The second racing surface is around the inside oval 25 and the outside oval 23 with the exception of section 42 of the outside oval. Thus, one could safely run IRL racing cars around the first racecourse the entire outside oval and CART, Formula 1 and IRL racing cars around the second racecourse consisting of most of the outer oval 23 and all of the inner oval 25.

Further viewing FIG. 2, it is seen that the outside oval 23 and the inside oval 25 are both elongate along an axis, which is illustrated by the line 25 c for convenience. Inside oval 25 includes a long straightaway 25 a, aligned with and somewhat adjacent to straightaway 23, and also includes a long straightaway 25 b aligned with and somewhat adjacent to straightaway 38. At the end of straightaway 25 a, the inside oval 25 includes a runoff section which may be paved, indicated with numeral 25 a′. The runoff sections need not be paved, and may be formed by gravel traps or sand traps, for example. Similarly, at the end of straightaway 25 b, the inside oval 25 includes a runoff section of pavement indicated with numeral 25 b′. Importantly, both the outside oval 23 and the inside oval 25 are elongate along the length of line 25 c, and the cross over or overpass 31 is disposed at an end of the inside oval 25, and is also disposed adjacent to (although inside of) an end of the outside oval 23. This arrangement of the racecourse seen in FIG. 2 has an advantage in that the cross over 31 is in each case (i.e., whether a race car is moving from the inside to the outside oval or vice versa) immediately preceded by a corner which requires the automobiles competing on the racecourse to slow down before proceeding to and crossing the cross over 31. This disposition of the cross over 31 at an end of the elongate ovals of road surface and immediately preceded by a slowing corner vastly improves the safety of the racecourse at the cross over feature.

FIG. 3A provides a view of a crossover 43 of the present invention. The crossover is a bridge, overpass or underpass that allows the speedway to loop back on itself without the need of a grad crossing. This arrangement allows the racecars to move continuously around the speedway and not have to periodically stop for traffic. The crossover can be a typical concrete or metal bridge. A car 44 on lower roadway 47 has just passed under the bridge 46 of over pass 43. FIG. 3B provides a view from lower roadway 47 of overpass 43 and bridge 46 that forms the overpass.

A racing facility with a racing surface constructed according to the present invention can be made with a concrete racing surface or roadway surface, although the invention is not so limited. The racing surface or roadway surface will be banked at a number of the important turns while some of the sharper turns will not be banked much at all to provide for control the speed of the cars during the race. The present description, other than describing the set of the racecourse, does not include a detailed discuss of the construction of a speedway since those skilled in the art, once they read and understand the principles of the present invention, will be able to construct a racing facility with a racing surface according to the present invention based on generally known speedway construction principles.

One of the key features of the present invention is that the ovals 23 and 25 of the speedway progressively turn in towards or loop about a common center as depicted in FIG. 2. Thus, an existing oval racing facility with an existing oval racing surface could be easily modified to incorporate the present invention without the need for expanding onto more land. The infield of the existing speedway would be used for the added oval or ovals as the case maybe. In fact the racing facility arrangement depicted in FIG. 2 could be very easily retrofitted onto an existing oval racing facility with an existing oval racing surface. The original oval racing surface of the racing facility would be represented by oval 23 and the new oval is represented by oval 25 with roadway section 27 and 29 connecting the two ovals. Naturally, crossover 31 would be included to complete the racecourse. The outside oval 23 on a typical racing venue might be 2.6 miles or 4.2 kilometers in total circumference. Thus, the addition of an interior loop or oval 25 might add from three quarters of a mile to 1.5 miles to the entire racing surface. One of the unique advantages of the present invention is that spectators sitting in typical racing facility grandstands 45 located around the periphery of the outside oval 23 will be able to see a significant portion of the race on both the inside and outside oval racing surfaces 23 and 25. That is, spectators may have an opportunity to see a favored driver and his car, for example, as well as the close competitors, more than once in each lap of the racing surface. Also, very importantly, each of several racing vehicles on the racing surface at a particular time have an equal opportunity to complete a lap of the racing surface in the shortest possible distance. Additionally, there will still be enough room for the pit stop area 47, as is easily appreciated by consideration of the drawing Figures.

Since the racing facility of the present invention can be constructed within the parameters of a typical oval racing facility with an oval racing surface the operators of a facility embodying the present invention will be able to exercise good crowd control and be able to tightly control access to races conducted on the racecourse. In fact there would not have to be any modification of existing systems of crowd control or control of access.

FIG. 4 shows a variation of a racing facility according to the present invention in the form of a complex or super oval configuration including at least a pair of nested ovals of racing surface indicated with the numeral 51. Racing surface 51 includes a crossover or overpass 53. Racing surface 51 has outer loop 55 and inner loop 57. Additionally, by adding roadway 52 it becomes a super oval or complex oval design.

FIG. 5 shows yet another variation of the present invention in which the racing facility includes a racing surface 71 with one outer oval 73 and two inner ovals or loops 75 and 77 of racing surface. In this configuration the racing facility 71 has two crossovers or overpasses 82 and 84 to allow the racing surface to pass over itself and avoid crossing at a common grade level. As can be seen all three ovals or loops 73, 75 and 77 of racing surface have a common center area 85.

FIG. 6 provides a variation of the present invention on which just about all forms of automotive racing could be run including CART, IRL, Formula One, NASCAR and drag racing. The racing facility 90 includes an outside oval 91 of racing surface, and an inside oval or loop 93 of racing surface with a crossover 95. However, the racing facility also includes one long center straightaway 97 that could be used for drag racing. Also, racing facility 90 includes a meandering portion of the racing surface 99 that starts from outside oval 91 at point 101 and rejoins outer oval 91 at point 103.

This meandering course together with the super oval or complex oval configuration as depicted and described could form the basis of a Formula One course. Inner oval 93 of racing surface and outer oval 91 or racing surface could form IRL and CART racing surfaces. Additionally, the outer oval 91 or racing surface could form a NASCAR racecourse. Racing facility 90 has the standard grandstands 107 located around the outside periphery of outer oval plus the standard pit areas 109.

FIG. 7 illustrates still another variation of the present invention in which the racing facility includes a racing surface 171 with one outer oval 173 and two inner ovals or loops 175 and 177 of racing surface. In this configuration the racing facility 171 has two crossovers or overpasses 182 and 184 to allow the racing surface to pass over itself and avoid crossing at a common grade level. In distinction to the embodiment of FIG. 5, however, and as can be clearly seen viewing FIG. 7, this embodiment of the invention has a common center area 185 a shared by the outer oval 173 and inner oval 175, and a second separate common area 185 b shared by the outer oval 173 and inner oval 177.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made to it without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7731447 *Dec 30, 2008Jun 8, 2010Dunwoody Harold JRacing facility pit system
US20110054792 *Aug 25, 2010Mar 3, 2011Inthinc Technology Solutions, Inc.System and method for determining relative positions of moving objects and sequence of such objects
Classifications
U.S. Classification472/85, 472/92
International ClassificationA63K1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63K1/00, A63H18/02
European ClassificationA63H18/02, A63K1/00