Circuit of the Ozarks (aka COTO or simply Ozarks) has three layouts, of which two can be run simultaneously. The 3.6-mile "Full Layout" is the most popular of the three, although the Mountain Circuit is often used as a proving ground, and the Sprint Circuit is a popular venue for less-powerful cars. In all, Circuit of the Ozarks is one of the most popular circuits in the entire game due to its versatility.
Full Circuit - 3.55 miles
The Full Circuit, described below, is the one most commonly used for the Grand Prix of Arkansas.
The start-finish line is located two-thirds the way down the frontstretch, which is the actually the shortest of four straightaways on the circuit. It heads due west and almost perfectly level before reaching the first corner. Turn 1 is a 120-degree left-hand corner, complemented after a short straight by Turn 2, an equally severe right-hand turn. Another short straightaway leads into Turn 3, a sharp right-hand 90-degree corner that begins climbing in elevation slightly. After Turn 3 comes a slight left-right twist in the straightaway, which is called the North Straight. After this, the road straightens out into the second-longest straightaway on the circuit.
Turns 4 through 6 are known as the Chicanes, although only Turns 5 and 6 are proper chicanes. Turn 4 is a sharp 60-degree right-hand screamer, followed a moment later by the complementary left-right combo of Turns 5 and 6 that leads into the Arkansas Straight.
The Arkansas Straight, or the Backstretch, is by far the longest straightaway on the circuit. A short way after the Chicanes, the grade begins to increase as cars begin ascending the hill. The grade varies many times on the way up, giving rise to no less than three blind crests, but is most severe in the middle.
Turn 7, a 90-degree fallaway to the right, lies hidden just over the final crest, which marks the highest point on the circuit. Turn 8 follows almost immediately, a sharp 110-degree right-hand corner that leads cars along the edge of a steep cliff.
The section that follows is known as the Skyline Esses. Turns 9 through 11 are a left-right-left combo in a gentle downhill as cars navigate through a cliffside forest. Just past the exit of Turn 11, the trees clear out and give a stunning view of the Arkansas countryside before reaching Turn 12 and the beginning of the Rod-Con Straight.
Turn 12 curls 75 degrees to the left and leads into the Rod-Con Straight, which begins heading down the steep grade. The straight is so named due to its similarity to Conrod Straight from the famed Mount Panorama Circuit in Australia. In the same vein, Turn 12 is often dubbed "the Forest Elbow" due to its similarity to Forrest's Elbow, the turn that leads into Conrod Straight at Mount Panorama. The Rod-Con Straight is broken in half by Turn 13, a 30-degree curve to the right, which cars can usually take at full throttle if they are able to maximize all the room on the track. Cars running side-by-side into Turn 13 need to slow slightly or they will both run wide on exit into the long gravel pad.
Rod-Con Straight continues all the way to the bottom of the hill before entering Turns 14 and 15, a right-hand combination dubbed "Silverstone," due to its close resemblance to the Club Turn at Silverstone in the UK. Exiting Turn 15, the track climbs steeply once again, but only momentarily, as cars navigate the nearly blind Turn 16, a 90-degree left-hander. The track quickly levels out and cars are tossed into the quick left-right combination of Turns 17 and 17a, a pair of chicanes, before heading down the frontstretch towards the start-finish line.
Mountain Circuit - 2.0 milesThe Mountain Circuit is the only circuit in the entire game that can be run either clockwise or counter-clockwise. As a result, coming down the Arkansas Straight rather than up it leads to the highest speeds in the game for medium- to less-powerful cars. Some more powerful cars can reach higher speeds on the longer flat-out straights of Honolulu International Airport Exhibition Circuit.
The turns are numbered in a clockwise direction, but when the track is flipped and run counter-clockwise, the designations of the turns do not change. Therefore, the cars enter into Turn 17 first and return through Turn 1.
The descending front straightaway, which is not included in the Full Course, is bisected by a slight left-hand bend just after the start-finish line. Turn 1 is a chicane-like right-hand corner, followed by the complementary Turn 2. A quick descent brings cars into the level Turns 3 and 4, a technical right-left combo that begins what is commonly known as the Chicanery.
Turn 5, a sharp 120-degree right-hand corner, brings racers onto the very end of the North Straight. Turns 6, 7, and 8 are Turns 4, 5, and 6 of the Full Course.
Cars then ascend the notorious Arkansas Straight, peak at Summit, and follow Turns 9-13 (Turns 7-11 of the Full Course) along the cliff.
Instead of turning left onto Rod-Con Straight, the track dips right into a West Virginia Raceway-esque right-left-right-left descending esses combo, Turns 14-17. The exit of Turn 17 leads directly into the start-finish line, and the track keeps descending until Turn 3.
Turn 16 is one of the most iconic turns on the entire circuit. Dubbed "The Rock," it gets its name from a large granite boulder that towers over the apex of the corner, and prevents visibility around it. Cars heading full-speed around Turn 16 cannot see a pileup in Turn 17 or the frontstretch until they are on top of it.
Sprint Circuit - 1.5 miles
The Sprint Circuit is one of the shortest variants in the game, and is commonly used for events for cars not powerful enough to take the Arkansas Straight at speed, although it is a thrill for even the more powerful cars due to its very tight nature.
The frontstretch of the Sprint Circuit is the same as the Full Circuit, leading west toward Turn 1.
Instead of continuing toward Turn 2 of the Full Circuit, cars continue turning left through the Sprint Circuit's Turn 2 in a decreasing bend. Between Turns 2 and 3 is an almost speed-bump-like ridge in the road that runs diagonally from the left to the right, so when cars run across it, they rock right, then left.
Turn 3 is a quick left-hand bend that begins the descent into Turn 4, a reverse Eau Rouge from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. The track falls away as it bends deceptively to the right. At the end of the descent are Turn 5, a left-hand correction, and Turn 6, a wide, level right-hand corner.
This leads into the Hairpin of Turns 7 and 8. Together, they turn cars around 180 degrees. Just at the exit of 8, the track climbs very steeply, but only until it reaches the point where the Silverstone turn of the Full Circuit rejoins the track. Then it levels out, and Turns 9, 10 and 10a are Turns 16, 17 and 17a of the Full Circuit.