Walt Disney World Speedway was a racing facility located on the grounds of the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. Built in 1995 by IMS Events, Inc., a subsidiary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, the speedway was designed primarily as a venue for the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World, an Indy Racing League event.
The circuit's primary use was as a venue for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and the Indy Racing Experience, programs that allow fans to drive or ride in real race cars. After the 2000 racing season, it was no longer used as a track for major motorsports racing series but a test venue due to the warmer climate than other tracks around the United States during the off season for racing until closing permanently on August 9, 2015.
The track was a three-turn tri-oval, designed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief engineer Kevin Forbes, and the location was chosen in September 1994 by Greg Ruse of Buena Vista Construction. The track was situated on a triangular plot of land adjacent to the Magic Kingdom's parking lot near Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. Plans for the track were first announced on January 23, 1995, which was designed to fit within the boundaries of the existing infrastructure and required minimal rerouting of existing roads.
On June 27, 1995, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George took part in a groundbreaking ceremony and presented the track with one of the original paving bricks from the famous "Brickyard." In a rather compact schedule, the one-mile (1.6 km) track was completed with ten miles (16 km) of safety restraint cabling, 2 acres of fencing, 1,800 yd of concrete for outside walls, 2,300 ft of concrete for pit walls and 5,200 tons of asphalt for the track surface. Despite 1995 having the wettest June–July in Orlando on record (75 inches of rain), including Hurricane Erin, the construction was completed on-time, with final paving completed October 18, 1995.
The track was dedicated on November 28, 1995 in a ceremony which included Indy Racing League drivers Arie Luyendyk, Eddie Cheever, Eliseo Salazar, Lyn St. James and Davey Hamilton driving a five-car "Flying V" formation amongst fireworks. Initial testing at the facility for the Indy Racing League took place November 27–December 9, 1995. On February 7, 1997, the first racing experience program, the Richard Petty Driving Experience, opened at the Speedway.
Closure and demolition
On March 27, 2015, it was announced that the speedway would close on August 9, 2015 and be razed. Demolition began in late August to make way for the transportation improvement of the Magic Kingdom parking lot and entrance.
- Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway
- Official Page
- www.indy200.com at Internet Archive Wayback Machine
- Exotic Driving Experience
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