Santa Pod’s owner and operator, Trakbak, has announced the undertaking of a major new resurfacing project that forms part of the continuing development and improvement of Santa Pod Raceway.
“The current surface, along with all the previous racing surfaces at SPR, was asphalt (tarmac) and we have been long-term holders of many records set on asphalt but we have had numerous problems with the tarmac surface since it was laid in 2013,” explained Trakbak CEO Keith Bartlett. “We have been very aware that these problems would need addressing at some point. I have made the decision to replace the tarmac with a full ¼-mile, wall-to-wall, super-smooth concrete racing surface.”
Partnering with concrete specialists Knights Construction, the consultation and design process has been under way for several months including fact-finding trips to top NHRA tracks in the US and liaison with NHRA representatives.
“This is a very significant investment heading towards GB£1m for Santa Pod and I believe it shows our commitment to the sport of Drag Racing and to the actual racers,” added Bartlett. “I am confident that we will start the 2018 season with an extremely fast track; possibly to become one of the best tracks in the world.
“We are starting from scratch and the work will entail ripping out the entirety of the existing track including the 1943 WW2 runway that lies beneath the track and the foundations beneath that. Knights will then install an extensive drainage system to ensure the track’s integrity over the long term, then the process of rebuilding the foundations can start and I’m pleased to say that all of the old WW2 runway will be recycled and included in the foundation.”
Once Knights have removed the original track and the area is down to sub-formation they will begin to install more than 13,000 tons of construction materials including 10,000sqm of concrete to achieve the new track design. Concrete for the project will be supplied from Tarmac’s Northampton plant where a close eye will be kept on the production process.
Knights Construction Group Managing Director, Matt Jones, added “The consistency and quality control of material is of tremendous importance on a project like this. It’s just one part of a long line of processes that Knights will be closely managing to ensure the success of this very exciting project.”
Though Santa Pod hosts a variety of different types of event, it is the track itself that is the beating heart of the venue and the new surface will be welcomed by everyone involved in the sport. The prospect of presenting the European drag racing community with a new concrete track fills Bartlett with a sense of anticipation.
“I don’t mind admitting that when Santa Pod records started falling to Sweden’s Tierp Arena it was distinctly unsettling,” added Bartlett. “I’m looking forward to hopefully getting those headline-making records back – along with giving the drivers and race teams a much more consistent and predictable surface. I really can’t wait for the new season to start.”
The construction work will continue in stages throughout the winter period ready for the start of the 2018 season. Santa Pod’s ‘Festival of Power’ held over the Easter weekend will be the inaugural Championship event on the brand new track and promises to deliver the first of many top line performances from a range of race classes including the ever popular Jet Car Shoot out.