About a year or two ago, I heard about a new road course being built not too far from where I live: Club Motorsports. Located in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Some of you may of heard about this track. For others, let me fill you in.
It all started when two friends were driving home from racing in Canada and were drawn to the splendor of the Mt. Washington region of the White Mountains. Dave Mirabassi and Dan Croteau soon realized the appeal to this area, along with the already robust tourism, would make the perfect location for a world class road course, a Country Club for car enthusiasts.
Fast forward to today and Club Motorsports in nearing the finish. With nearly 1,000,000 cubic yards of earth and rock moved to complete this course, that’s saying something. And not much of that is going to waste either. Most all of that material is being used or reused on the course. Approximately 850,000 cubic yards of earth and 200,000 cubic yards of ledge. That’s a lot of big numbers right there, so Ill give you a minute to let all that soak in..
Ok good? Moving on to the course itself.
My first impression after touring the course? Beyond amazing. The course was originally designed by famous track designer Alan Wilson, but many changes and revisions have taken place before and during the building of the track by Club Motorsports’ own Engineer, Roger Hill.
What I like most about the track is its approachability. It seems very fun, mixed in with some nice technical parts. But its very, very forgiving. The run off areas are huge, so if you make a mistake, it’s not necessarily a day ender. After talking with President, Jim Hoenscheid and Vice President of Investor Relations, Lloyd Dahmen, this was part of those revisions. They wanted the track to be fun and approachable, yet still demanding for all levels of drivers. From the complete novice to the seasoned professional.
There is a repeating theme I noticed on my travels to Club Motorsports. That being a lack of compromise. Let me elaborate. If a unforeseen obstacle came up or they realized a more beneficial approach to the overall design of the track, they took it. For example, they doubled the run off areas on most corners. Improved sight lines, accentuated the natural views seamlessly with the layout and elevation changes in the track. The base layer for the road course is so very thick and well thought out that a frost shift and erosion should never be a concern. Natural drainage from the mountain ledge and that of the course itself had to be dealt with, which consisted on many collection ponds and underground piping beyond my comprehension. There was no water, sewer, or power on site so they had to design the systems needed and build them too. Keeping in mind future needs and possible expansion. It just seems like they tried to think about all the challenges they would face. Then took each of those individual concerns and reanalyzed the needs and possible problems that might arise to find a solution, long before it would ever become a problem.
A.K.A. They haven’t taken any shortcuts and haven’t rushed the job just to get it finished. They are doing it right.
Now, I touched upon the elevation change in the track. This, besides its location and views, is one of the defining characteristics of this course. For me, elevation change can really enhance a track’s characteristics. You are adding a third dimension, which changes the driving dynamics dramatically. With Club Motorsports, there is 300 feet of elevation change from the lowest part of the track to the tallest part of the track. I can’t think of any other track in the US that offers this much elevation change. And it’s very organic the way the course follows the natural elevation changes of the mountain. (Thats right, its on the side of a mountain!!)
So a quick recap:
- 2.5 mile course
- 15 turns
- 300 ft of elevation change
- built into the side of a friggin’ mountain!
They will also offer a karting course. Again, surprise surprise, that too is really well thought out. The track for the Karting course even has some slight elevation change as well. This will have its own separate Clubhouse to store, service, and provide a nice place to watch the karting.
The Main Clubhouse will be overlooking turn 15 onto the front straight. One thing Jim said they were considering is putting a deck on the Clubhouse that overhung the front straight portion so the actual cars would drive underneath it.
I like it.
There is also a access road on the outer perimeter of the track which will lead to a bridge spanning turn 15 to give access to the Main Clubhouse. The awesomeness of this all just keeps expanding.
Other things offered at the road course will be GarageMahals trackside on the front straight. Several different paddock areas. Instructor lessons for drivers. The list goes on. This will be a gear heads wet dream when completed and I for one can not wait.
The track is fully connected now. One of the biggest challenges they had was turn 10 thru 11. At the greatest point they had to cut, blast and remove 30 feet of earth and 40 feet of ledge. In turn 13 alone they used almost 80,000 cubic feet of earth and rock to create the paved run off area. Building into the side of a mountain, consisting mostly of granite, paid off as they were able to make and use almost all the material needed for the course.
Most of the banks have been hydro-seeded and the loam has been laid at the perimeter of the track layout, helping to define where the actual track is. They are really hoping to pave the course this fall but it will all be dependent upon the weather. Its not worth trying to rush the paving only to have the integrity compromised because the conditions weren’t optimal.
Whether they pave in the fall or the spring, I’ll be back to see the finished product. I can not wait to see the completed vision that started with an idea between two friends over a decade ago. This is panning out to be an instant classic and a staple of the northeast motoring community. Something I and many others will enjoy for many years to come. A place where I can pass on my passion of cars and racing to my daughter for her to enjoy and hone her skills behind the wheel.
For the most up to date information visit www.facebook.com/ClubMotorsports
More photos can be found below: