Monday, May 31, 2010

Motorsports Ranch Houston

John Marine | 5/31/2010 12:39:00 AM | |
(UPDATED: April 23, 2012)

MSR Houston is a competitive racing facility south of the greater Houston area. The 17-turn road racing facility is over 2.38 miles (3.38 kilometers) long. This facility can be found in Angleton, Texas, USA. It's really the only great road course in the Houston area. That is, unless you want to race at Texas World Speedway's road course in College Station. Also, I don't know of the status of Liberty Motorsports Park up in Cleveland, Texas. The track was created in 2007 and has served as a test track for the former Champ Car World Series. It is a great track for amateur racing and for testing. While the course may be flat just about all the way around, it's a competitive course. This is a tough flat course.


APR 23 2012 - updated look of post and added Search Description

--- Motorsports Ranch Houston (or MSR Houston) ---

Here is a look at this track:
MSR Houston
^ from: - aerial view of Motorsport Ranch Houston.

I love the configuration to this course. It can be run clockwise or counterclockwise/anti-clockwise. The normal direction (counterclockwise) is the lap I'll try to describe in this blog entry. This course really has an international circuit feel as its configuration suggests. Yes, while this track is about as flat as most of Houston, it's still as intense a challenge as you'll ever find. I've even downloaded MSR Houston for rFactor. That's where I came to grips to what this course has to offer.

Speculation (Commentary).

This track is awesome as it is. It has the feel of an international-style racing track by way of its configuration. The track has a world-class style layout to it. But with many of the open spaces and almost featureless settings, the track doesn't really feel complete or proper as a racing course (at least to me). If the people at MSR Houston wanted to invest and spend a lot of money to make this course look the part of an FIA or FIM race track, or if they want this track to look as lovely as courses like Barber Motorsports Park, I wonder what changes or additions would be made to make this course look like a true international racing circuit. Here are a few talking points:

• I would wonder if you have to drag out the pit lane. Or maybe perhaps... would there be proper pits along the front stretch? When I say "proper pits," I'm talking about garages that can be accessed on pit road, like on a number of mostly European circuits. Would you probably have a few sets of proper pit garages along the pit straight and on the right side of the front straight?

• Where would you put grandstands if you wanted to grow and expand this course? The front straight and back straights would be great places for big grandstands. How would you lay everything out is the real question.

• Do you change the starting point away from the pit straight to somewhere on the front straight? Standing starts would be fun on the front stretch. And honestly, I think having the whole diamond edge as the first complex of turns would be much more interesting than having Let it Rip as the first corner.

• I also become a bit uneasy about the little stream that runs through the front straight and back straight because of how rainy southeast Texas can be (especially in the warm weather months).

These are just my own opinions. Still, it's a great racing track.

One Lap Description.

Remember that this lap description is based on the COUNTERCLOCKWISE configuration.

The first corner is called "Let it Rip," and it is somewhat of a moderate left-right chicane. The Carousel (Turn 2) is a very long sweeping right that leads to the front straight. Turns 3 through 5 comprise the Diamond's Edge. You go full speed into Turn 3, but consider Turn 3 an appetizer to having to slow down hard heading into Turn 4 and escaping Turn 5. A left-handed sweeper at Turn 6 follows out of the Diamond's Edge. Floor the gas (or twist the throttle for you bike riders) hard as you blast down the back straight. Turn 7 is a smooth left-hand sweeper that gives way to the sharp left-right complex at Turns 8 and 9, called the Bus Stop. Turns 10 and 11 lead to the Keyhole. Turn 10 is a very sharp right-hander followed by a sharp left-hander at Turn 11. The radius of the corner increases to the left as you exit the corner. Turn 12 is a moderate right-hand kink that leads to a very smooth Turn 13 (called "Launch"). Turns 14 and 15 make up the Gut Check. Turn 14 is a very easy right-hand kink that leads to an easy Turn 15. Turns 16 and 17 make up "Sugar & Spice." Both corners are sharp left-hand corners that lead onto the Pit Straight. And there- a lap is complete!

Here is a video lap of this course:

^ counterclockwise direction

^ clockwise direction

I did a search on Trackpedia for lap times around this course, and here is a look at what actual lap times were recorded around this course. I will feature only a few of them.

Machine Lap Time
Stock 2009 BMW E92 M3 DSG 1:45.95
Spec Miata 1:48.90
Porsche 997 Cup 1:31.69
2007 Champ Car Formula Atlantics 1:18.345
2007 Panoz DP01 Champ Car 1:10.040 (record)
To see more lap times from MSR Houston (or to record your own real lap times), visit the Trackpedia entry on MSR Houston.

I think this is an excellent race course. Thanks for reading this blog entry of mine. Learn more about Motorsport Ranch Houston by visiting MSR Houston's Official Homepage or by Becoming a Fan of MSR Houston on Facebook. Thank you for reading! Have a great day! :D

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