• Oct 7, 2006
OK, maybe there is a good reason to move back to the Illinois. On October 4, the wonderfully insightful city of Naperville opened the gates to the country's first public-private automobile test track. The Test Track, built by the City of Naperville at a cost of $1.5 million, is to be used by 12 local automobile dealerships. It's located on a 9-acre piece of property near Aurora and Ogden Avenues, where many of the city's dealerships are located. The enclosed test-driving facility is illuminated for night operations and includes an asphalt track with the following features:
  • A 100-foot-long cobblestone surface to simulate driving on a
  • brick road.
  • A 10 percent hill climb incline intended to replicate driving on a
  • dirt road.
  • High bank testing area with a 10 percent cross slope.
  • Rough road testing on concrete pavement with embedded boulders.
  • Suburban driveway and curb comprised of standard concrete driveway.
  • Skid pad area consisting of asphalt pavement, irrigated so that it is constantly wet for wet braking tests.
  • Three security/Web cameras used to show activity on the track and allowing for live feeds to participating car dealers.
  • A simulated railroad crossing.
According to Naperville Mayor George Pradel, "The idea moves many of the customers who are test-driving vehicles off the streets and out of the nearby neighborhoods, thereby lessening congestion and increasing the safety of other motorists." Although the city owns the track facility, the dealers will chip in for its upkeep in exchange for access. We demand that every major city in America build one of these NOW. But let us play with the design a bit. A 1/4 mile drag strip, SOLO II autocross course, and a Nardo-length straightaway for top speed testing are conspicuously absent from the city of Napersville's design.

Thanks for the tip, Chris!

[Source: The City of Naperville]


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  • 21 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I live pretty close by, too, but if you can't just go there to sling any car around, what's the point? If it's sponsored by dealerships, it's probably tailor-made to look a lot more demanding than it is.

      This is just an attempt to make ordinary cars look capable.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ["I live pretty close by, too, but if you can't just go there to sling any car around, what's the point?"]
      I agree, this would be a great way for them to make some extra dough. Nonetheless, it is still a good idea. This could allow you to really test a car properly to make sure it does what you want/need and that there are no concerns at the limit.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This track is a great idea. I've taken a number of test drives from dealerships in the area and, prior to this, the usual test drive for the dealers included slinging cars through a long sweeping curve where there's been more than one car-curb collision and then onto RT 59 before heading back onto Ogden, both of which are usually very busy. Trying to find anything resembling the performance limits of a car on those streets is just asking for a ticket/accident. At least now we have a dedicated space for flogging a car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Jesus, why in gods name would you want to take a test drive of a vehicle you're going to use on public roads on a private track? Hmm lets see, controlled enviroment, less chance of accidents with test drives, less cars (albeit it a small percentage) on a very busy road. Less complaints to the village from residential areas, which are locasted directly east of the dealerships.

      Having seen it in person, I can say it would be great for go karts! Give me stop and go traffic on Odgen avenue, the torn up roads on New York street and the highway speeds of I-88 for a real test drive.

      As for the dealers, there's at least 10 grouped together but not all of them are participating.

      Boy, you think I live close by. I do! and not everyone was for it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You guys should pipe down about IL. I live in Chicago and you have idea of what you're talking about. My Acura dealer is one of the members of that test track and I think it's an excellent idea.

      Remember that the dealers have to pay to use this track. When the city takes in the money, one can assume the revenues offset the cost of the project. Eventually, the city will recoup their money with zero burden on the taxpayer.

      As far as the idea that people on a test drive are more dangerous then the average driver, how can that not be true? They are in an unfamiliar vehicle with little knowledge of blind spots. The seat and mirrors might be adjusted properly. And some of the characteristics most people want to know about are acceleration, handling, and braking. That's not a potential hazard? Also, you can still test drive cars on the road or freeway, but this just gives you an additional option.
      Greg A.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Rough road testing on concrete pavement with embedded boulders."

      What about potholes?

      "Three security/Web cameras used to show activity on the track and allowing for live feeds to participating car dealers."

      Is there a link for the general public to view the Web cam feeds? I know it would probably get real boring real fast, but I might luck out and catch someone making a boneheaded mistake on a test drive. :)

      • 8 Years Ago
      I'd much rather take an ordinary test drive because this little Disney kiddy track is too small for serious feedback.

      In an average car I'm mostly concerned about freeway merge speeds and 75 mph cruising. With a sports car I'd prefer a real road with poorly banked hairpins, dropoff corners, etc. (I've found such a road, and use it for all my test drives.)

      My loop is about 3-4 miles from the local dealerships so none of them ever refuse. It includes an uphill freeway climb (test of torque and cruising), then turns off onto a small hill road. If the car is nimble enough I branch off onto a tight little road with plenty of corners. Then back to the dealerships through city traffic.
      • 8 Years Ago
      First of all can you race on this track? If not can anyone tell me a track in Illinois where we can race/ really test a car. Also stop complaining about this. It may be useless but it did not really cost anything so what the heck... why not have a test track. Maybe one day they will open to real testing if they haven't already. If someone could answer i would appreciate it. Thank You.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Naperville track is a wonderful idea. I am worried when test driving a new car on Californian public streets. I am fortunate not to have been in an accident (and pray that continues), but driving a $35,000 Subaru on streets with a bad reputation is always risky. Having an isolated race track away from the open road is a good idea for the buying public and auto reviewers.

      That said, I do wish there were more racing tracks for the public. We don't need a Nürburgring track: we need a Mille Miglia event. Let's see what Ralph Nader does about that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      10. this is the most creative way I've seen big government fucking taxpayers out of money to fund useless union projects I've ever seen. Have any of you even heard of the CONCEPT of dealership test-drivers posing an undue threat to the driving public at large?

      Posted at 12:59AM on Oct 8th 2006 by charlie 0 stars
      ------------------------------------------------
      Hhahah! There is hope in this world. Somebody saw right through the bull. Hahah! Way to go Charlie!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ben, Bless your heart for being pro Illinois-but I nearly choked on my coffee when I read "moderate climate" HA!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Going off the pdf site plan

      http://www.naperville.il.us/emplibrary/SitePlan.pdf

      my guess is the back straight is about 525 feet. Not much you can do with that much room. Well, with a good car and some skills, you could (safely) scare the crap out of the car salesman.

      I second the US Nürburgring idea.
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