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Road bike racing around Phillip Island
Riverside International Raceway is an example of a road course

Road racing is a general term for most forms of motor racing held on paved, purpose-built race tracks (i.e. "road courses"), though temporary facilities built on airport runways and closed-off public roads (such as street circuits) are usually included in the definition.

Road racing is also occasionally conducted using the infield and oval portions of tracks making a "roval", such as the 24 Hours of Daytona.

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Global road courses

Global road-racing series such as Formula One and MotoGP are almost always conducted on dedicated race tracks, such as Suzuka, Monza, and Silverstone. Recent expansion of these series has resulted in dedicated tracks being built in Qatar in the Middle East, Sepang in Malaysia, and Shanghai in China.

Notable examples of temporary circuits include the Circuit de Monaco and the Guia Circuit, located on the streets of Monaco and Macau respectively, whereas the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Isle of Man TT are held on public roads.

North American road courses

There was a long tradition of road racing on real streets in North America. However the term's definition has shifted over time, with the increasing dominance of Oval racing. The term road course is now often used as a catch-all phrase for any racetrack that is not an Oval, with even combined circuits (or Rovals as they are sometimes called) like the 24 Hour sports car version of Daytona being referred to as a road course. The most famous American "true" road courses are all actually purpose-built, but some where the original tradition evolved include: Riverside International Raceway at Riverside, California (now closed), Watkins Glen International at Watkins Glen, New York, Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California.

History

After a few decades of such events three sons of Barron Collier—Barron, Miles, and Samuel—founded the Automobile Racing Club of America in 1933. That organization became the Sports Car Club of America in 1944. Throughout its history, American race car drivers such as Briggs Cunningham, Lake Underwood, Carroll Shelby, and Mark Donohue were among the contestants at these road racing events.

American purpose-built road courses include: Barber Motorsports Park, Miller Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lime Rock Park, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, Portland International Raceway, and Virginia International Raceway.

Additionally, racing over public streets is making something of a comeback; the most famous race of this sort currently held is the Long Beach Grand Prix, hosted annually in Long Beach, California. Other famous street circuits in North America include events held in St. Petersburg, Florida, Montreal, Québec, Vancouver, British Columbia (no longer held), and Toronto, Ontario.

Airport runways figure into several part-time road courses in North America: Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio hosted a Champ Car race through 2007, the St. Petersburg course uses the runway of Albert Whitted Airport as its main straight, and Sebring International Raceway, home of the prestigious 12-hour race in March, was formerly a military airfield in Sebring, Florida. More recently, the Edmonton Indy is held on the runways of Edmonton City Centre Airport in Edmonton, Alberta.

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