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    Thread: Racetracks, noise and their local residents - Is there any solution?

    1. Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 05:58 AM #1
      At least here in Quebec, we're losing our local racetracks at an alarming pace, in part due to lack of finance and interest, but almost more importantly due to pressures to close from the municipalities. Local residents are the squeaky wheels and every last one of our circuits have had to endure thousands of complaints about noise pollution over their lifespan.

      Now in my point of view, these racetracks have been operating for far longer than most of these residents have been alive, which begs the question "why the **** would you move close to a racetrack if you feel so strongly against the noise they inevitably create?" But if we look past that, are there any solutions your local racetracks have used to try and please their locals? Do sound barriers and dense vegetation do reasonable jobs @ dulling the harshness of motorsports? What works in the US at easing the sound complaints? Or are you seeing the same endless back-and-forth between track and squeaky wheel?



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    3. Member chois's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 07:04 AM #2
      Laguna Seca simply made much lower dB levels a requirement to use the track.
      They might have a literal handfull of less restrictive events on the calendar, but google search for Laguna Exhaust to see what participants need to do to meet their regulation.



      Now the odd bit to me is --- if we just had a lower sound limit everywhere, it would not be that hard to design an effective muffler system into the cars to begin with. At very little power loss.
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      09-15-2020 08:00 AM #3
      Lime Rock has been fighting for the right to race on Sundays for years due to some old rule that prioritizes church services. The track is literally in the middle of the woods with like 25 houses within a mile of the track and there are still complaints, issues, and yearly debates. Basically, outside of major races, those DB limiters are the only way it seems, otherwise, they would never survive.

    5. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 08:00 AM #4
      Yeah, we have the same at Waterford Hills. 75dB.

      The exhaust solutions are equally hilarious. Most drivers bring a 45° downturn with a slit in it and slip it on for the day. Some add extra glas-packs a la the LS situation. It can get very funny looking.
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      09-15-2020 08:15 AM #5
      Alcohol is a solution.

      Slightly related...DIA in Denver was built 25 years ago in what was then a bunch of farm fields. There was a small racetrack nearby called Second Creek. Over the years, housing developments got closer and closer until finally Second Creek closed. Now, housing developments and industrial warehouse parks along I-70/E-470 are being built right under the incoming flight paths for DIA runways. I predict within another 10 years, DIA will look like Midway in Chicago

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      09-15-2020 08:15 AM #6
      Lime Rock park (CT) used to not race on Sundays. I just did a search, and it looks like Sunday racing is in the courts.

      https://www.ctpost.com/local/article...t-14830643.php

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      09-15-2020 08:19 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
      Lime Rock park (CT) used to not race on Sundays. I just did a search, and it looks like Sunday racing is in the courts.

      https://www.ctpost.com/local/article...t-14830643.php
      Thanks for posting that. Lime Rock feels they need Sunday races to survive, but a 60 year old agreement is at issue. This is scary:

      If the citizens council and the zoning commission win their appeal, overturning his right to race on Sunday, Barber said he’ll stop hosting professional races altogether.

    9. Member 2 doors's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 09:02 AM #8
      Solution: Electric cars.

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      09-15-2020 09:07 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by 2 doors View Post
      Solution: Electric cars.
      Yuck.

    11. Member Karl_1340's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 09:07 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by 2 doors View Post
      Solution: Electric cars.
      People will still move beside the racetrack and complain about the high pitched whining sound.

    12. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 09:36 AM #11
      Even being in the middle of nowhere doesn't always help. There was an effort to put in a new track a few years ago in the middle of farm country. Most parcels nearby were 50 acres+. Once word got out that a racetrack was planned, the local farmers/ranchers came by with their torches and pitchforks and got the permit denied. Afraid the cows would be annoyed I guess.

      It's not just noise- encroaching development also tends to cause the racetrack itself to sell out. They start out in the boonies but end up on prime real estate. We recently lost Texas World Speedway (North of Houston) due to housing development. Long story short, the race track had a tax value of around $8 million and the housing development had an anticipated tax value of $300 million. Guess which one the city preferred to have?

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      09-15-2020 09:49 AM #12
      Now that Burning Man is cancelled, there is a nice Playa available. It's BLM land and there are no houses within hearing distance.

      I like the electric racing car idea. How fast would a Tesla Model S go if you removed 80% of the battery pack weight? Of course the car would be pretty useless on the street, but it should only carry enough battery to complete the race.

      There are horse racing stadiums inside cities. Lower the noise level enough and the problem is gone. Auto racing is not dead. It is not even sick. It just needs to evolve a little bit.

    14. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 10:00 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Blonde Guy View Post
      Now that Burning Man is cancelled, there is a nice Playa available. It's BLM land and there are no houses within hearing distance.

      I like the electric racing car idea. How fast would a Tesla Model S go if you removed 80% of the battery pack weight? Of course the car would be pretty useless on the street, but it should only carry enough battery to complete the race.

      There are horse racing stadiums inside cities. Lower the noise level enough and the problem is gone. Auto racing is not dead. It is not even sick. It just needs to evolve a little bit.
      There were already Tesla race cars in the Pikes Peak hill climb this year. You don't want to remove 80% of the battery- you need those big batteries. But you can get the car pretty light by stripping it down. EVs will get lighter as battery density improves.

      https://thedriven.io/2020/09/01/tesl...es-peak-crash/

      Biggest issues with EVs are fires. Of course gas powered cars can catch fire, but EV fires are nearly impossible to put out. Some of the local tracks here ban EVs for that reason.

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      09-15-2020 10:04 AM #14
      well the bigger question is, why do you need such a loud exhaust in the first place?
      We have had to deal with restrictions in automotive racing world for safety, some emissions, yet other rules on fuel consumption, is it mostly around 'where does it end', that it is a problem?

      Obviously engine noise is the next issue after someone solves the loud exhaust issue...so the latter of my list seems to be the answer?

    16. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 10:06 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Rudy_H View Post
      well the bigger question is, why do you need such a loud exhaust in the first place?
      We have had to deal with restrictions in automotive racing world for safety, some emissions, yet other rules on fuel consumption, is it mostly around 'where does it end', that it is a problem?
      Many factory stock performance cars have issues with some of the noise restrictions. It's not always easy to get a car within the limits. Too much muffler can cause thermal management issues in addition to reduced power.

    17. Geriatric Member absoluteczech's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 10:30 AM #16
      hang on, let me move to near a track that's been there for decades and then complain. it's like the morons that buy a house 5 miles from a major airport and complain of noise. gtfo

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      hang on, let me move to near a track that's been there for decades and then complain. it's like the morons that buy a house 5 miles from a major airport and complain of noise. gtfo

      how many races are going on after 10pm at night anyways?

    18. Member sicklyscott's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 10:45 AM #17
      Electric racing only. Put in a Supercharger and high output CCS charger on prem. There's a growing market for these types of facilities, not sure it's completely enough to sustain a large venue but, the group out in CA seems to be doing well running 12-15 events a season.
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    19. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 10:50 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post
      how many races are going on after 10pm at night anyways?
      Depends on where you are. Our local drag strip does test and tune on Thursday nights. And it'll go well into the night during the warmer months.

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      09-15-2020 11:05 AM #19
      Have Elon Musk build a BORING Company race track under the city. Problem solved, except for spectator viewing, and the covid among other things. lol
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    21. Member Harold's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 11:26 AM #20
      NED does "jet cars under the stars" so they have events at nite. They've been open for over 50 yrs. Used to be alone by itself, but a developer built condo's nearby. Residents complained. They made some concessions.

      When I was looking for a house, I would frequently go by a potential home to take a peek before visit with the realtor. At one place while viewing curbside. Heard constant planes flying overhead, then it would be quiet for awhile. It was directly in the flight path of an airport about 3 miles away. Quickly crossed it off my list. Did the same with another one close to a highway, from the front curb you could hear the Interstate non stop . Hwy was next to property separated by a fence and about a 6 ft stretch of trees.
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    22. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 11:32 AM #21
      With racetracks being privately owned and on private property, it will always be a battle between private landowners. Same with shooting ranges, and industrial facilities (mines, manufacturing, etc), and anything else that generates noise/dust/light/or any other disturbance.

      Potential solutions:

      Racetrack owns enough land around it to create such a large buffer that nobody is close enough to complain.

      Racetrack enters into legal agreements with all neighbors before construction (lease, easement, etc).

      Racetrack becomes a municipal entity with the protection of local government.

      Racetrack implements serious noise restrictions on cars.

      Racetrack cuts operating hours significantly.

      Racetrack gives zero effs and does what it wants until it gets in trouble.

      ???????

      Racetrack shuts down.

      Note: I'm in the urban/suburban PNW, and people LOVE to complain here. I've seen issues like this happen at every local track, and shooting range, and industrial facility, as development pushes closer and closer to what used to be rural areas. Some places survive, some don't.
      Last edited by Pnuu; 09-15-2020 at 11:36 AM.

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      09-15-2020 11:54 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Nealric View Post
      It's not just noise- encroaching development also tends to cause the racetrack itself to sell out. They start out in the boonies but end up on prime real estate. We recently lost Texas World Speedway (North of Houston) due to housing development. Long story short, the race track had a tax value of around $8 million and the housing development had an anticipated tax value of $300 million. Guess which one the city preferred to have?
      I wonder if race tracks with "car condos" are the answer? M1 Concourse in Michigan has dozens (maybe over a hundred?) of them, and some of them are worth $1M+. That must generate some juicy tax revenue for the local municipality.

    24. Member Dal97GLX's Avatar
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      09-15-2020 12:03 PM #23
      i live close to an 1/8 mile oval. I love it, the sound helps me relax when they have night events. On the other hand, I see why it bothers people - too bad so sad. Track was there way before the homes were. My in laws live 5 miles from the local dirt track. Friday nights you can hear that roar for miles.

      Laguna Seca solution seems like good compromise. What I don't get is, it is so far from the highway and the roads leading to it suppress the noise fairly well. Who's complaining? The mansions? I bet they didn't complain when helicopters were flying in and out when it was still a military base not to long ago. Oh wait, they weren't there at the time, they came after the military left. This reminds me a home owner that built his house overlooking the Altamont racetrack. His complaint, "there wasn't that many events when I moved in".

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      09-15-2020 12:06 PM #24

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      09-15-2020 12:06 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by absoluteczech View Post
      hang on, let me move to near a track that's been there for decades and then complain. it's like the morons that buy a house 5 miles from a major airport and complain of noise. gtfo
      Yep, happens all the time. For many years I could hear Capitol Raceway Dragstrip in MD from my home and all the new people moving to the area would complain about the 4-5 hrs of 5-10 sec noise on Saturdays. I think they complained more about that, which wasn't that bad b/c it was ~4 miles away than their own 10 hrs a week in their DC or Balt commute.

      Same for going to an outdoor amphitheater to hear a band in the summertime and learning they need to be off the stage before 10PM due the noise restrictions from the neighborhood that was build nearby, despite the concert venue being there for 40+ years.

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