And now… a bit about Monticello Motor Club and its members

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Despite being a private club, the Monticello Motor Club has no shied away from a fairly regular run of press coverage.

To try to learn a bit more about the club and its members, who are trying to win the right to put on a US Grand Prix, I’ve done what any good blogger would do.

I used Google, so you don’t have to!

So, culling from a variety of sources, here are some tidbit I found interesting:

Autoblog covered the track’s opening back in July 2008. Here’s the track’s press release:

MONTICELLO, N.Y. – Completely revolutionizing the concept of automotive luxury by creating the first-ever country club driving resort, Monticello Motor Club will proudly celebrate the grand opening of its cutting-edge track Sunday, July 27.

Just a short 90-minute drive from Manhattan, the Monticello Motor Club not only delivers a world-class circuit with breathtaking thrills, but also offers a luxurious array of trackside amenities, vehicle storage, and a country club facility to impeccably meet any need. Nestled amongst breathtaking hilltops with scenic forests and a crystalline lake nearby, the Monticello Motor Club presents discriminating enthusiasts with a 4.1-mile track which includes 22 unique turns, 12 distinct configurations and over 1.5 miles of straights. Designed through the combined effort of Brian Redman, world-famous driving champion and winner of 77 races in 12 countries, and Bruce Hawkins, an established track architect and engineer of some of the best racetracks in the world, the Monticello Motor Club has some of the fastest track segments available anywhere.

“We have incorporated exciting elements from some of the world’s most famous tracks while delivering a circuit unique in design and character,” said Monticello Motor Club President Bill McMichael. “The goal of the Monticello Motor Club is to provide a completely new way for enthusiasts to conveniently experience the very best in automotive luxury and performance driving.”

The Monticello Motor Club, at 67 Cantrell Road, Monticello, NY 12701, will mark its official grand opening on July 27 with a special first-class reception. Those invited will include founding members, local and regional dignitaries and several members of the media.

With a helipad on site, members can sprint from New York City to the private club in just under 25 minutes, or fly a private jet into the SullivanCountyInternationalAirport, just minutes away from the track. The highly exclusive resort will offer only 500 Resident memberships with an initiation fee of $125,000 (U.S.) and annual dues of $7,500. A limited number of National and International memberships are also available.

And for a limited time, the Monticello Motor Clubis offering a select few the opportunity to become Founding Members who receive additional benefits and privileges, including priority track reservations, preferred choice of locker, vehicle and equipment storage location, a custom Founding Member race suit and helmet, and an early license salability.

For its inaugural season, the Monticello Motor Clubis offering its members and their guests dining, a lounge, massage services, and a technical briefing room – all in a climate-controlled environment. Also available will be professional driving instruction, a secure, climate-controlled storage facility, general automobile maintenance services, and a fleet of rental vehicles.

Members’ immediate families are allowed unlimited access to the resort and its amenities, while a cache of non-member guest passes are also available. The Monticello Motor Club’s event staff is also available to plan special events for members.

Future driving seasons will offer a 20,000-square-foot Member’s Pavilion complete with hot-pit garages, locker rooms, a full-service kitchen, conference rooms, and a four-story glass tower with sweeping views of the track. Plans also include the construction of a world-class, 30,000-square-foot clubhouse, where luxury amenities will be delivered for members and their guests. In addition, overnight accommodations and expanded fitness and spa facilities will become available.

Jalopnik, which participated in a race of Cadillac CTS-Vs, has a turn-by-turn analysis:

Think Monticello Motor Club and you think of the long back straight. But the rest of the track is tight and very technical, giving the Mitsubishi Evo X MR good odds against the CTS-V tomorrow. Here’s how I can win.

The full 4.1-mile course at Monticello is a monster, with 20 corners and three straights. The Cadillac CTS-V isn’t just muscle and no cornering, but with torque vectoring differentials and weighing 600 Lbs less, the Evo is still going to give it a run for its money. At the very least, this should be a close race.

A YouTube video of the track is here.

I’m feeling pretty happy about now.

Finally, from a NY Times article, which I include because it includes the car preferences of the two main players in this story:

The Monticello Motor Club is a sort of country club for people who own high-performance cars and want to do more with them than collect speeding tickets on the Merritt Parkway. They can take racing lessons, book time on the 4.1-mile track or lounge around, in their driving shoes and racing suits, on sofas designed to resemble sports car upholstery.

On any afternoon the parking lot is apt to be full of very expensive machinery with long-winded names: Ferrari 360 Stradales and F430 Scuderias, Porsche 911 GT3’s, Lotus Exige S 260’s, Beemer M3 GTR’s, Audi R8’s. If you arrive in your dinged-up, 10-year-old commuter heap, you probably want to park it over on the side and out of the way.

On the other hand, you might feel less guilty about having postponed the muffler job you so badly need. Your engine, which used to sound loud and embarrassing, now seems sweet and throaty, and, feeling turbocharged, you may even be emboldened to take the wheel of the Ferrari yourself when the guy from the company isn’t looking.

William McMichael, the president of the club and its managing member, is a Ferrari man, and owns several. Ari Straus, one of his partners in the club, prefers the Ford GT and backed one out of a garage to show off its long, low lines, its rumbling power plant.

“It’s a real car,” he said. “It’s a man’s car, an American car. And it’s a rocket ship on the straightaway.” Its weakness is cornering, he admitted, and the GT actually makes less sense than the Ferrari on a track like Monticello, which has 22 turns, and where the longest straight stretch is only three-quarters of a mile. To fly around the club’s track, Mr. Straus also owns a bone-rattling Lotus in which you strap yourself inside like a jet pilot.

Can anyone who owns a Ford GT and a “bone-rattling” Lotus be bad? Envy-inducing, not not bad.


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