You know that saying, “The rich get richer”? Well, that’s exactly the case for well-heeled go-fast enthusiasts in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, who’ve already been blessed with Road Atlanta and now have the all-new roller coaster ride known as Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) to add to their abundance.
We’re willing to forgive our Hotlanta-friend Sharif Abdelbaset, though, not only because he runs Forged Performance, a top-tier tuning company in Marietta, Georgia, but also because he doesn’t just build some of the fastest Nissans in the country, he thrashes them (including his own R35 GT-R) with regularity at Road Atlanta and now at the Hermann Tilke–designed AMP.
As Sharif told us, “This gorgeous facility is tucked away in the rolling hills of Dawsonville, Georgia, about an hour’s drive northwest of downtown Atlanta, and features a breathtaking array of technical corners, blind apexes, incredible elevation change, and a 100-mph-plus high-speed sweeper leading onto the front straight that requires deft skill and a good set of stones to master.
“So far, I’ve completed about 200 laps around AMP, and I keep finding ways to squeeze a little more performance out of my daily-driven ’13 Nissan GT-R during the 17 turns packed into this 2-mile stretch of asphalt. A flying lap begins (and ends) with a 135-mph wide-open throttle blast down the front straight, setting up immediately track right for the heaviest braking zone of the track. Pulling 1.6 g of braking force here, my big GT-R’s Brembos haul it down to 40 mph for the entry of Turn 1. “The braking zone for T6 is great fun, too, as the compressive dip allows me to slow the GT-R impossibly fast, followed by a quick and deliberate half turn of the wheel to kick me up the hill for the exit of 6. Many drivers turn in too early here and apply the throttle too soon, resulting in dramatic power oversteer and a visit to the sand traps. A late turn in and a smooth application of throttle will, on the other hand, set you up brilliantly for the middle straight and the challenging downhill off-camber Turn 10. This is one of my favorite corners, as the track out is completely blind and requires turning on a prayer, with confidence that the track will still be there on the other side.
“Now let’s fast forward to the infamous Turn 12, which I call the sky turn, because you see nothing but sky from turn-in to apex to track-out. The track is virtually invisible due to the incredible elevation change! After that, Turns 13, 15, and 16 make up the extremely challenging back sweeper, all requiring full use of the track edges at speeds near 120 mph in my GT-R. This section of the track rewards the driver with the greatest improvements in lap times, provided you get the line perfected and your car’s setup is spot on.
“After that I literally have about two seconds before the process repeats itself. I never get bored with lapping at Atlanta Motorsrports Park,”
Specs & Details
Atlanta Motorsports Park
Track Configuration 2-mile, 16-turn, counterclockwise road course
Elevation Change 141 feet
Other Facilities Kart track, exotic/supercar rentals, control tower, rental garages, kids’ indoor and outdoor play areas, premier restaurant, concessions, function hall, fitness room, hiking trails, horseback riding, pool, retail showroom (sells performance parts, karts, etc), driving school programs