Course News

ALL NEW AWD DODGE CHALLENGER GT DEBUTS AT CLUB MOTORSPORTS!

The day started like any other. I woke up, checked my emails, and went about my morning. This particular morning though, I had a pleasant surprise. Dodge was looking to host a winter driving event here at Club Motorsports with their new AWD Challenger GT.

As you can imagine, this peaked my interest. After some back and forth with emails, we finally had a face to face meeting with Dodge. We showed them the course and got an idea of what they were looking for. They wanted to showcase their new rear biased AWD system for journalists by driving in various winter scenarios.

Being in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at the end of January, we could definitely fulfill their requirements. When talking with the engineers about whether they planned on putting snow tires on the cars for these tests, they said they would not be. They would come with the all season tires that they were designed with. Being a native to the northeast, I had my reservations, but hey, it’s their show and we will do as they request!

I had a bit of a different perspective on the car itself. For one, I am used to driving in the snow, unlike some of the journalists coming to test the car. Two, I helped set up and drive the course.

Let the testing begin!

Now, coming from a AWD background with Audi and Subaru, I had a certain expectation set in mind going into this. This was a bit of a double edged sword. On one hand, I was happy to hear the system that Dodge has in place on the Challenger (as well as the Charger) is predominately rear wheel biased in the power application. So, in the turns, it carries the driving characteristics of a rear wheel drive car, but with the stability of an AWD car. I first went off driving it like I would and Audi or Subaru and this left me slightly disappointed. It tended to understeer, then with too much throttle input you could quickly induce snap oversteer.

With that said, I changed tactics. I started to treat it as a rear wheel drive vehicle and the handling fell right into place while driving on course. When you reached a certain steering angle, as well as applied an adequate amount of throttle input, you could consistently and predictably drive this car with the throttle. The more I drove the Challenger, the more I grew to like it.

Now, let me circle back around to the driving conditions and tires. My fear was as we continued to chew up the snowy surface, drivability would be an issue. The freshly packed snow from the daily groomer had a chance to sit overnight and become a decently hard surface. But after many laps of drifting a 2 ton vehicle around the course, you will inevitably get some ruts and powder build up on the edges. To my surprise, the all season tires in combination with the AWD system on the Challenger did really, really well. Did some of them get stuck? Of course, but usually it was because there was an extreme off course event and the car was high centered on a snowbank. (car was stuck on the chassis on the snowbank). In this case, snow tires would not help anyways.

We had two competitor cars at the track for comparison as well: a new Mustang and Camaro. Both rear wheel drive and both with all season tires. To say that traction was dismal is an understatement. These cars were getting stuck quite often. I think even if they had snow tires, people would still be able to see the differences between the Challenger’s all wheel drive capabilities and driving dynamics. We just wouldn't have had to dig them out from being stuck nearly as often. They got stuck so often that we ended up just leaving them in the paddock area towards the end of the week.

Over the course of the week, the new Challenger GT got to see quite a bit in varying winter driving conditions. We went from a Nor’Easter on the first day with snow and poor visibility to ice, cold, wind, and sun. Each day brought something new for the journalists to experience.

As the week progressed, the winter courses took the toll of being driven hard on repeatedly. This resulted in a loose top coat of granulated snow anywhere from 6” to over 12” on some areas of the courses. While it occasionally slowed the cars down when hitting these areas, I was impressed to see the Challenger power through. All season tires to boot.

Another thing that I personally found impressive was the lack of squeaks or rattles from the interior, especially once the courses got some use. The main paddock area is not paved yet, and towards the end of the week the vehicles had gotten down to the base gravel in some of the turns. Enough so, that we had to reroute part of the course to unused snowy areas. Additionally, some of the transitional areas were rough and getting a little rutted. These cars went over these areas with no flexing or unpleasant sounds. The suspension is stiff, yet not unforgiving. The cabin on these vehicles is not a bad place to be. Good materials, infotainment system, and build quality are evident. If I had one criticism, it is the lack of auto up feature on the windows (it has auto down, but no auto up feature). That seems like a bit of an oversight on Dodge’s part, but if that is all I have for complaints, I’d say they are doing very well. I’m far from a brand loyalist, and when I see a good car, I recognize it for that fact.

At the end of the day, I’d say the new Challenger GT has earned its stripes. In a seemingly endless sea of mediocre AWD systems out there, they seemed to have really done their homework. Hat tip to you Dodge, keep up the good work. Now, lets see about fitting a V8 under that hood.



Best Track in America!


On hundreds of rolling wooded acres with breathtaking views, we’ve built a heart-pounding ribbon through the woods: 15turns over 2.5 miles with an elevation change of 250 feet. The road course is over 40 feet wide with a mix of long straightaways and left and right turns both uphill and downhill. It is designed to provide a thrilling driving experience, yet built with safety as the top priority.

We may have the most dramatic and scenic performance course in the country — a perfect blend of technology, art, and adrenaline. The combination of vistas and elevation change will set the site apart from all other courses in the United States.

Not only do we feel this way but so does Jason Cammisa, Senior Features Editor for Motor Trend Magazine. Jason has made two visits to Club Motorsports. The first visit was roughly this time last year, where he and the folks from the Team O'Neil Rally School drove rally prepped E30 BMWs on the unpaved surface. He instantly fell in love the course and was anxious to return once it was paved. He stated, “If Club Motorsports is HALF as good once it’s paved, it’ll easily be the best track in America. I mean it — can't wait to come back!”

True to his word, Jason and team came back out to film a new Ignition episode for Motor Trend featuring the Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2. True to his word, Jason and team came back out to film a new Ignition episode for Motor Trend featuring the Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2. This time however it would be on the newly paved surface. Watch the video below to get his first impressions.



We have started to install our curbing!

Starting on 11/14/2016 we poured a sample curb on the first turn of our karting course. 

Keep in mind that this curbing, while the same profile, is on a smaller scale for the karting course. The road course will have a 24" positive curb that flattens out to a 18" flat back section. The overall rise will be 4" over the 24" postive section. 

We have approximately 4000' of curbing to install plus the karting area. We have estimated about 400' a day depending on weather conditions. Right now they are setting up the forms on some of the key turns. We will be concentrating on Turn 2, 7, 12, 13 and 15 first and foremost as we are hoping to pave the apron behind these curbing areas to help with erosion control. We added the brushed finish to the curbing for added grip and texture. 

Here are a couple more photos.



Dom with MMR comes and visits the course and gives their impressions.

Here is a recent article written by Dom Miliano of Motorsports Marketing Resources and their visit to Club Motorsports. Enjoy.

 

My friend, Bob Green, Lime Rock pace car driver, professional driving instructor and founder of Survive the Drive, called recently with a invitation to visit a new private race track, Club Motorsports, being finished in Tamworth, NH. In the fall, New Hampshire is one of the most scenic areas of the country so I packed the Porsche and headed north.

Tamworth is a small berg located between the White Mountains and Lake Winnipesaukee and only a short drive from North Conway - an outlet-shopping mecca! When we arrived, we were given a short tour of the facility, followed by an explanation of their plans for the future. Right now, things are moving quickly with 100% of their 2.5-mile track paved in grippy asphalt smoother than my driveway. Their web site says that over the summer they laid over 12,500 tons of black top. While it cures, they are working on installing curbs, catch fences, three-level Armco, wide (and I do mean wide) run-off areas at all high-speed, downhill corners along with properly connected tire barriers. We saw several construction vehicles moving dirt around while we were on site as the drainage work was being completed.

But country club tracks can't lure members with just a fun roadway to drive, you need amenities and these too are in the works. They will have member garages and a banquet hall sized clubhouse for parties and other car-club events - think Ferrari Club of America Annual Meets, BMW O'Fests and Porsche Parades. Their brochure describes their planned facilities as offering: ... all of the amenities of a private resort: "... clubhouse with lounge/bar, restaurant, overnight accommodations, plus locker and workout rooms, classrooms, repair shops, secure and climate-controlled garages and private garages, garage-mahal condos, 0.4-mile karting track, and five acres of paddocks for parking and driver training."

The Club Motorsports' management turned Bob Green and me loose on the track to experience first hand what they had built. Accelerating down the long, 40 foot wide, main straightaway, (using caution as we were wearing neither helmets nor Nomex) we reached triple digit speeds before throwing down the anchor. Off to our left we noticed a huge, paved run-off area - sweet!

We next went down hill and then quickly uphill through a series of fast kinks to a wide right-hander "light bulb" of a turn - again, lots of run-off on the left. We exited and started to go back up hill - steep enough that you can't see what's next! Then you go quickly back down, through a Laguna Seca like right / left corkscrew - there's beautiful scenery at the top but I don't recommend you look!


Dom Miliano Image


This exits onto a short chute that ends with a wide, FAST, downhill section, all the while, gaining speed. It ends with a heavy downhill braking zone and fast right-hand carousel. Exiting the carousel, you climb again toward an exciting and very fast left / right complex (blessed, once again, with lots of paved runoff). It exits onto another short chute and then the 90-degree right onto that long straight. Two and a half miles of fun just went under your wheels! You can see a low-speed, lead-follow video by clicking here.

Club Motorsports has the potential for greatness. The elevation changes (said to be 250 feet) coupled with 2.5 miles (and more is planned) of safe, fast corners and the promised country-club-style amenities should attract lots of new members. Having attended eleven Porsche Parades and several Ferrari Annual Meets, I see this facility as an ideal location for these type events.

MMR wishes them luck as they finalize their facility for the 2017 season.

 

for more information on MMR, please visit Motorsports Marketing Resources



ATTENTION MEMBERS! I NEED YOUR MOST CURRENT CONTACT INFORMATION

We have some upcoming Open House dates scheduled and if you havent heard from us via email then I either have an old, out of date email on file for you, or it is going into your spam folder. So please contact me at jason@clubmotorsports.com to make sure your information is up to date. We want to stay in touch and make sure you all know what is going on here at the course. 

Looking forward to hearing back from you all!



PAVING IS COMPLETED! NOW ON TO THE SAFETY!

With the paving done for the course and karting area we are now focusing our time on installing the curbing, catch fencing, armco, railing and final grading of the loam. This will take up the rest of the summer but we are allowing time for some of our members to get on course and check out the finished surface. These are done under restriction with the understanding that the safety systems are not yet installed and the risk associated with that. 

Regardless, people seem to be continuously leaving the course after a few laps with large grins across their faces. 



We pave the top coat this week (07-18-16)!

We start with the paved run off areas and pit lane on Monday. Tuesday will be the start of the road course. We will work on that until it is finished. We should be wrapped up with the rest of paving by the end of the week!



We start back up with paving on 07/11/16!

As much as we have enjoyed having the pavement base layer, we are anxious to have the remaining pavement laid down. With that being said, starting on 07/11/16 we will start laying down the leveling layer of the road course and karting course. (This is the middle layer) As we progress further we will put the final wear coat on top finishing out the paving process! During the time we are paving, you can be sure we will be bringing you more live broadcasts. We will be broadcasting each day of paving at noontime EST on the respective day. We hope you can join us for this huge milestone.



Base Layer of paving is 100% done!

We started off the month of June on the right foot! Paving took place starting June 13th with the west paddock. The following day we started on the road course proper. Beginning on the front straight, we had made it all the way around to just before Turn 9a. Thats two pavers with shuttle bugs laying down 42' of asphalt simultaneously. The next day after that, we finished going all the way around and connecting to the front straight. They even started on pit lane that very same day! We ended the week with with paving the base layer for the rest of pit lane, all run off areas and the karting course!

To give folks an idea of just how much asphalt was used just for the base layer, we have it broke down for you below.

Road Course Proper (42' wide) 2" base course - 6,300 tons
Road Course Run-off Areas 2" base course - 2,500 tons
Road Course Pit Lane 2" base course - 1,500 tons
Karting Course Total - 950 tons
West Paddock - 1,280 tons

Total of 12,530 tons paved in five days!

We had over 40 trucks coming all the way from Concord, NH with asphalt from around 7am in the morning (when they started to show up at the track, even earlier for them) until around 7-8pm in the evening! 

It really is an impressive feat! Tours are still going on. We expect to start the leveling layer on July 11th. We will be sure to keep all of you up to date!

 

 



We are Paving! We are Paving! We are Paving!

With over 1 million cubic yards of material moved, crushed and put into place, we are set to pave the road course! Paving will start as soon as we complete the fine grading and weather conditions allow. Paving could start as early as the last week of May or the first weeks in June. Exciting times are ahead!

TOURS WILL CARRY ON
As many photos and videos as we try to post, you can't full appreciate what Club Motorsports has to offer until you see it with your own eyes. That being said, tours will continue while we fine grade the course and begin to pave. Access may be limited in some spots at times but you will still be able to see all that Club Motorsports has to offer. Feel free to contact Jason to set up a day and time.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE COMING MONTHS
After paving, the next step is the installation of the safety system. Our safety system is designed to meet the FIA requirements for a Grade 2 road course. While we won't host races of this type, we are designing and installing a system that provides the utmost in safety for our members and guests. The system includes large, paved run-off in all the downhill turns, three-high armco guard rail, catch fence, and tire barriers and other attenuators, as well as curbing.

After the pavement cures, we plan on having several open houses so that members and prospective members can drive the course under tightly controlled conditions. Please check our website and emails for updates and schedules.

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