A country club of a different sort is growing in popularity across the United States. Instead of championship golf courses, these auto racetrack resorts feature road-racing tracks that allow their members and visitors to enjoy the thrill of speed without risking a ticket. Some standouts:
Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill.
Located about an hour outside of Chicago, Autobahn Country Club is a car enthusiast’s paradise. This venue wasn’t meant for racing events, but rather for those with a need for speed and a love of cars.
The 3.56-mile track snakes around 350 acres and makes 24 tricky turns, which members can attempt six days a week, seven months of the year. Dotted along the track are lots for sale, intended for your very own “Garage Mahal.” Or, you can use your owner’s bay, which includes space for two vehicles, in the state-of-the-art, three-level Autobahn Garage. This isn’t your typical garage; it features a family room with plush leather sofas and a fully stocked community bar, a two-level deck with views of the track, a business center and conference room, a fully equipped kitchen with stainless-steel appliances, and a locker room with your own personalized locker.
Nonmembers can join in the fun, too, with a variety of driving programs. The Autobahn Experience includes a half-day of instruction and behind-the-wheel time in cars from the Performance Fleet: Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Cadillac. You can also opt for the High Performance Driving School, which lets you speed around the track in a BMW Z3 Roadster. Or, sign up for the two-day Radical Racing School for a thrilling ride in the Radical SR3, which can take you from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.
Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, N.Y.
This motorsports country club caters to all kinds of drivers — from novice fans, like Jerry Seinfeld, to professionals, like Jeff Gordon and Brian Redman. The 4.1-mile circuit is situated on 670 acres just 90 miles from Manhattan. Unlike other tracks, Monticello Motor Club does not allow car clubs to use its facilities, making it a true members-only experience.
Membership gives you trackside support with a full automotive center, premium car storage, and karting services. At Monticello’s South Pavilion you’ll find a full-service kitchen, classrooms for instruction, a member’s lounge, a pro shop, a private locker room, and temperature-controlled garages.
Although it is a members-only track, Monticello prides itself on tailoring programs for private events, from charity events to corporate entertaining, that create a memorable experience for all.
Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump, Nev.
A self-proclaimed “driver’s paradise,” Spring Mountain is an oasis for car aficionados in the desert outside Las Vegas.
Becoming a member of Club Spring Mountain will give you and your family the opportunity to enjoy the 8,000-square-foot clubhouse, complete with bar and lounge, patio, pool, gym, massage services, business center, racquetball court, climbing wall, and gun range. Members can also rent on-site condos on a nightly basis, as a timeshare, or full time.
Of course, there’s also the racing. With four miles of track and 20 available configurations, Spring Mountain truly is a driver’s paradise. You can take part in Ron Fellows Performance Driving School for miles and miles of either lead/follow or lapping formats, the Radical Racing School, or the Cadillac V-Series Academy. Members can rent cars, bring their own, or even purchase a Radical SR3, PR6, or SR8 right at the track. Spring Mountain is also ideal for corporate events and team building, with options such as Kart Auto Cross, Hot Laps, or Lead/Follow Sessions.
Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.
Situated on 1,500 acres, Virginia International Raceway, better known as VIR, was recently voted as one of America’s best road courses by Car and Driver, drawing comparisons to Nürburgring’s fabled Nordschleife in Germany.
A variety of races are held at VIR each season, featuring everything from stock cars to motorcycles. As a spectator, you can sit on the bleachers or, better yet, pick your favorite turn or straightaway, set up lawn chairs, and enjoy the race.
VIR is a true motorsport “country club”; you can rent a villa with views of the track, or book a night in The Lodge. For an up-close-and-personal Pit Lane experience, book one of the Pit Lane Rooms.
One of the biggest perks at VIR is getting in on the action yourself. Sign up for one of the driving experience groups that visit VIR each season, or join the VIR Club. As a member, you’ll receive discounts, including garage rentals, lodging rates, and spa rates; access to the VIR Clubhouse and Skeet Range; and, of course, exclusive Member Driving Days where you can get on the track.
Other motorsport clubs
Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
At Lime Rock Park in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, you can watch Aston Martins and Ferraris zip around the 1.5-mile track, or join the Lime Rock Drivers Club for track access.
Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur, Texas
About 70 miles northwest of Dallas, you’ll find Eagles Canyon Raceway. This 2.5-mile track regularly hosts events for the Porsche Club of America and the Sports Car Club of America. Membership is also available, as well as the option to rent the track for private events.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Not far from the hotels and restaurants in Monterey and Carmel, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a great destination for car enthusiasts. Check out an American Le Mans race, join the Skip Barber Racing School for some instruction, or rent the track for a private event.