The sound is ear-splitting: the howl of race-tuned engines vying with each other to strip paint by SPL alone from the concrete walls of the long U-shaped arena at Tierp, purpose-built track on an old military airfield in central Sweden. The brainchild of Lief Andréasson, this derelict patch of perfectly level wasteland has been turned into one of the most modern drag racing arenas in the world – with a host of other events planned, including concerts. It’s 2.51km (1.56 miles) of motorsport racetrack just 120 km (75 miles) north of Stockholm with the capacity for 20,000 spectators.
Tierp Arena co-director Lars Erik Lindberg enthused:
We’ve built one of the best race tracks in the world, one of the best facilities for drag racing anywhere.
Its inaugural year saw one European Championship race, and in 2012 two European Championships and two Swedish Championship races.
The reason it’s one of the best is simple: the track is concrete so it’s really flat and stable; not so sensitive to weather or temperatures. Modelled on Formula 1 tracks, it now has one of Sweden’s longest straights, plus open hairpins and very fast corners. And the facilities are excellent: grandstands for 20,000 people, many toilets, showers, and a large pit area with all the facilities the teams could want.
If drag racing is loud, it follows that the commentary has to be a few dBs more potent still. Karl-Gustaf Kahlau, of Renkus-Heinz Sweden distributor Luthman SMTTS AB, said:
The key to the audio for a drag racing audience is, of course, to make it loud so the audience can hear what the commentator is saying above the noise of the cars. What they’ve done at Tierp Arena is to use line array modules that are powerful enough, but compact enough not to obscure sightlines. When the audience is watching a race, they obviously don’t want a bulky sound system in the way.
With our help, they decided on low profile PNX102/LA line array modules, 24 boxes in total, bolted in pairs to customised steel ground frames to make 12 independent freestanding clusters, that they could place along the length of the racetrack at ground level pointing upwards towards the audience.
The line array modules are matched to high efficiency Powersoft amplifiers via a weather-insulated network of pre-installed underground cables under the racetrack, and weatherproofed ground facility panels, all running back to the amp rack room in the main building.
The track can deploy the sound system on other parts of the site for presentations, speeches and potentially for a rock concert for 10-20,000 people.