Motor racing was once at home in Long Island, New York – and with Bridgehampton in Assetto Corsa, the now-defunct dune rollercoaster still is. At least in virtual racing.
As we recently highlighted, the United States are full of exciting racing circuits. Many of them, like Riverside, are unfortunately lost to time, however. The same is true for a venue on Long Island, New York, that was even part of the World Sportscar Championship in the 1960s. Since the late 1990s, though, Bridgehampton Race Circuit is no more.
At least for the most part. The site is now a golf course, but the former start-finish straight is still there. This also includes the track’s trademark Chevron bridge that used to sit right before Hansgen Turn. This first downhill corner was a challenging start to an even more challenging lap.
Bridgehampton in Assetto Corsa: Challenging Layout
While the layout may look simple on a map, it is anything but once you hit the tarmac. Bridgehampton in Assetto Corsa, brilliantly captured by RaceDepartment user LilSki, conveys this very well. The circuit was laid out in the dunes of Long Island’s East, and as a result, hardly an inch of it is flat. Crests, dips and a ton of bumps make completing a clean lap at Bridgehampton a rare occasion.
The middle sector in particular is all about balancing on the edge of catastrophe, especially if you race a car from the 1960s or 1970s. Echo Valley requires courage to extract the maximum pace out of, and it is easy to miss your braking point for the final turn of the sequence. Getting it right, however, feels sublime.
Racing history at Bridgehampton dates back all the way to 1915. Predating the permanent circuit, two different street circuits saw road racing action until 1952. However, this proved to be increasingly dangerous, as injuries and a fatal accident in 1953 sealed the deal for the street circuit.
Permanent Track Opened In 1957
Following this, the permanent course was drawn up and constructed in the very same year. Bridgehampton Race Circuit opened in 1957, hosting sports car races and soon becoming part of the USAC championship (what later became the IndyCar series) as well. Plus, the legendary Vanderbilt Cup, initially held on Long Island from 1904 to 1910, was brought back at the circuit.
From 1962 to 1965, the World Sportscar Championship included Bridgehampton in its calendars. After this, Can-Am took over until 1969. The IMSA GT Championship found its way to Long Island, too.
After the 1971 IMSA round at the track, no more major events were held there. A relatively bare-bones facility, Bridgehampton simply could not afford the upgrades necessary to stay with the times. Additionally, the land it sat on had increased in value, and inhabitants of the area started complaining about the noise. A story almost as old as permanent race tracks and extremely similar to what happened to Riverside.
Bridgehampton In Assetto Corsa: Keeping Memory Alive
Regional races kept going until 1997, with racing schools and clubs staying until a year later. Then, the bulldozers started rolling in. Today, The Bridge Golf Club calls the site its home. Chances are that not terribly many of its club-swinging clientele will know the history of the greens they are on.
Luckily, LilSki’s rendition of the track as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s keeps its memory alive. Although dating the track just by its condition is pretty much impossible – it could just as well be the 1960s. The tarmac may be rough and bumpy, and the grass could use a serious trim. But Bridgehampton in Assetto Corsa is without a doubt a treat any sim racer should enjoy at least once.
Grab a sports car like the stock Shelby Cobra in AC or Stereo’s Chinook Mk. 2 Can-Am beast, dust off your H-shifter, and try to nail a clean lap while your FFB tries to shake you to bits. But be careful – you might have to force to stop yourself before you accidentally pull an all-nighter!
What are your impressions of Bridgehampton in Assetto Corsa? Let us know on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below!