Road & Track (often abbreviated R&T) was founded by two friends, Wilfred H. Brehaut, Jr. and Joseph S. Fennessy, in 1947, in Hempstead, New York. Published only six times from 1947 to 1949, it struggled in its early years. By 1952, regular contributor and editor John Bond had become the owner of the magazine, which then grew until its sale to CBS Publications in 1972. In 1988, Hachette Filipacchi Media took ownership of the magazine. In October 2008, Matt DeLorenzo became Editor-in-Chief, succeeding Thos L. Bryant, who had been in place for 20 years. Hearst Magazines purchased the magazine in 2011. In June 2012, Larry Webster assumed the role of Editor-in-Chief, and DeLorenzo became an adviser to the publication. Additionally, in 2012 the magazine moved its operations from Newport Beach, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Road & Track's editorial quality had been criticized before Webster's arrival; he brought in new writers and overhauled the magazine's design. During February 2016 Webster resigned as Editor in Chief and Kim Wolfkill was announced as his replacement.
Car and Driver and Road & Track are sister publications at Hearst and have for many years shared the same advertising, sales, marketing, and circulation departments. However, their editorial operations are distinct and they have separate publishers.
Road & Track focuses on both production and race cars. Former race car drivers have often contributed material, including Paul Frère and Formula One champion Phil Hill. Gordon Murray, the designer of the McLaren F1, is one of many contributing writers to be featured in the publication.
Like many auto magazines, Road & Track used to publish an annual Ten Best list, but it has not done so in years.
The trademark stylized ampersand (&*) is the title of a monthly article showcasing the latest developments in future cars and prototypes. Other monthly features include "Road Tests", "Drives" of the latest production cars, "Technology Insights" and "Tech Tidbits". Editor-in-Chief Matt DeLorenzo, Engineering Editor Dennis Simanaitis, International Editor Sam Mitani and popular Editor-at-Large Peter Egan all have monthly columns.
In 2004, Road & Track developed a new magazine concept titled Speed, which focuses on the aftermarket tuning trend. In the February 2006 issue, it was announced that Speed would be a web-based magazine, no longer being printed.
- The ampersand in the title was created in 1955 by then Editor Terry Galanoy who replaced the word "and" in the magazine's name because the words Road and Track were graphically too long for newsstand-effective recognition. Subsequently, this design change has been recognized as one of the major branding and product recognition icons by various major design organizations.
The magazine contributed to the 1992 video game, Grand Prix Unlimited, developed by Accolade for MS-DOS. The magazine also contributed to the 1994 video game, The Need for Speed, to help the designers match vehicle behavior and sounds to that of the real cars.